To wonder what's so great about Starbucks?

(159 Posts)
ACatCalledColin Thu 10-Apr-14 12:44:58

Every time I go in there, it's always overcrowded and there's nowhere to sit or if it's not crowded the tables are usually still filthy from previous customers and nobody's bothering to clear them up hmm.

The coffee is okay but certainly not anything to write home about. I quite like their hot chocolate (especially with some caramel syrup) and frappes though. Unfortunately I always seem to get dragged in there by friends on shopping trips as they all seem to love it.

Even my 14 year old sister has started going there with friends after school and at weekends and they usually go for the coffee rather than the frappes. And she raves about Starbucks a lot these days too.

Do they hypnotize you into coming back for more of their dirty dishwater coffee? Are they trying to take over the world?

IDugUpADiamond Thu 10-Apr-14 12:47:34

Their coffee tastes like it's been made from percolated ashes

IDugUpADiamond Thu 10-Apr-14 12:48:06

Their chocolate chunk shortbread on the other hand...

ACatCalledColin Thu 10-Apr-14 12:48:27

Now I wouldn't go that far.

Davsmum Thu 10-Apr-14 12:49:11

I don't understand the appeal either - but then I hate coffee! I have been in with friends who rave about it ( God knows why) I reckon its one of those 'fad' things that people do so often because its what 'cool' people do.
I would rather go into a normal cafe

ACatCalledColin Thu 10-Apr-14 12:49:13

Their chocolate chunk shortbread on the other hand...

I prefer their cookies.

But I would take Costas lemon cake over either.

ACatCalledColin Thu 10-Apr-14 12:50:51

You see, I wouldn't call it a fad. I would say Starbucks is a more long term success than a fad. But the question is - why? What do they do right that other places don't?

picnicbasketcase Thu 10-Apr-14 12:51:25

It's a large chain and easy to find. The drinks and snacks are just average, same as you'd get anywhere really.

CharityCase Thu 10-Apr-14 12:53:47

Consistency- same reason Mcdonalds and pizza express are popular. Might not be the best burger/ pizza/ coffee but it never disappoints vs what you got there last time. You go in Starbucks and you know what you're getting. And they're quick and they open at 7am. Too many of the independents are too slow and open at ridiculous o'clock and then spend 15 mins warming up the machine.

I'm not personally a fan but I can see why they do well

AllMimsyWereTheBorogroves Thu 10-Apr-14 12:56:50

I avoid Starbucks on principle because they worked so hard at avoiding paying tax in the UK. I see they have now decided for PR purposes they'd better pay some. Too little, too late. I'd rather hand over my money to a UK company that doesn't see corporation tax as optional.

Nocomet Thu 10-Apr-14 13:03:32

Crap coffee, but steak panninis

Cafe Nero coffee much nicer
Costa OK

But I still put up with Charbucks nasty coffee for a steak pannini once in a while.

Sadly, MacDonalds have ruined their coffee, so the cheap skate option has been ruined. Very, very very annoying. I liked apple pie, coffee and MN while DD does gym.

Nancy66 Thu 10-Apr-14 13:18:47

I get why teenagers and the mother/baby crowd congregate there. It's about having a place to be rather than the coffee.

Most independent coffee shops don't want that crowd because they loiter too long and don't spend enough money.

JennySense Thu 10-Apr-14 13:20:39

anyone see the programme about coffee shops this week?

Mintyy Thu 10-Apr-14 13:20:44

Starbucks coffee is undrinkable imo.

WorraLiberty Thu 10-Apr-14 13:21:22

I've never been in a Starbucks despite the fact we're tripping over them here.

Met a friend in a Costa once and couldn't see why it was so popular.

WitchWay Thu 10-Apr-14 13:22:41

I hate Starbucks coffee - watery, nasty-tasting & far too big even the smallest sizes. Urgh. Costa is a bit better. Caffe Nero is a bit better still. Nowhere near as good as my cafetiere at home.

WheresRyder Thu 10-Apr-14 13:24:53

I don't go to Starbucks as I don't like their coffee. If its a chain its usually Costa.

notso Thu 10-Apr-14 13:26:48

Cons, the coffee is cold and crap, the service is s.l.o.w and the tables are usually manky.
Pros, they do a child sized hot chocolate that doesn't cost a fortune,
the cheese and marmite panini is amazing.

ArsePaste Thu 10-Apr-14 13:37:34

I'm an ex-Starbucks head office employee. Frankly, you couldn't pay me to eat in one. The coffee isn't that bad, but I usually have the chai latte. About once a year. And I have an eggnog latte once a year too. Maybe. But I don't eat the food. <taps nose>

WilsonFrickett Thu 10-Apr-14 13:41:48

I like a chai latte and there is one nice one near me which is very bright and open late so if you're hanging round in town waiting to meet DP from work, which I sometimes do, it's better than going to a pub on your own.

Free Wi-Fi and ability to spin a drink out for hours makes sense too. And it's always fun to give a false name for your cup. But nah, it's not all that.

Mind you, I used to work for a big bank and the Starbucks prices were subsidised and bugger me sideways if I'm paying full price! I usually walk in, think 'oh a tall latte's £1.20 isn't it?' Check the board and walk right out again!

YouTheCat Thu 10-Apr-14 13:45:00

Starbucks is crap.

Caffe Nero is much better. Even Costa is better than Starbucks.

Pickles79 Thu 10-Apr-14 13:47:23

Starbucks is overrated. Much like Nandos.

crypes Thu 10-Apr-14 13:54:30

Does macdonalds coffee ever cool down ? Even enough to sip? I've never tasted such disgusting scalding liquid in my life.

wowfudge Thu 10-Apr-14 14:11:08

Nothing. Except perhaps the free wi-fi.

The coffee is insipid.

lau55 Thu 10-Apr-14 14:17:17 have to tell more!!

Chocotrekkie Thu 10-Apr-14 14:17:59

I think if you can spend ages with free wifi on a comfy sofa chatting to friends/family or reading a book in peace for a couple of quid is fab.

Going out to bring coffee back to the office where we get perfectly good kenco for free confuses me.

HelenHen Thu 10-Apr-14 14:22:00

I prefer Starbucks to Costa and neros... But I'd much much prefer a decent independent cafe... Unfortunately there are none where I live! I like going out for coffee and relaxing and having a chat so Starbucks it must be... Much as I hate chains and their desire to take over the world grrrrrrr!

caruthers Thu 10-Apr-14 14:22:03

I have never been to Starbucks or any other branded coffee outlet.

Paying that much for a coffee is obscene in my opinion.

OnIlkleyMoorBahTwat Thu 10-Apr-14 14:25:09

Nocomet if you are still here, what do you mean by McDs coffee being ruined? Since when? I didn't notice the difference last time I had one - about a month ago - has it changed?

I don't like Starbucks coffee but don't mind Costa or Nero, but think they are an utter rip off. But I quite like McDs coffee, and at half the price of Costa, I don't think its worth paying the extra for some perceived 'atmosphere' or image.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Thu 10-Apr-14 14:27:22

I'm not a Starbucks fan. I don't like coffee for a start but their hot chocolate is terrible, watery and tasteless. Much prefer Costa hot chocolate.

Their tea is awful too, how wrong can you go with tea? It's just weak and grey.

ACatCalledColin Thu 10-Apr-14 14:31:54

I'm not a Starbucks fan. I don't like coffee for a start but their hot chocolate is terrible, watery and tasteless. Much prefer Costa hot chocolate.

You see, I think Starbucks hot chocolate is just devine. I've never found it watery or tasteless, on the contrary I find it nice and creamy, sweet and comforting.

I've heard people rave about Costa hot chocolate (online I mean) and decided to try it out myself. I wasn't impressed. I found it tasteless and blech.

ACatCalledColin Thu 10-Apr-14 14:32:42

Hot chocolate from Nero is also yummy.

Whiskwarrior Thu 10-Apr-14 14:33:32

Well, I like Starbucks. I also like Costa and Cafe Nero. I'm going through a Costa phase at the moment (because they do toast!) but will probably go back to Starbucks or Nero at some point, then start the circle all over again.

I just like somewhere warm and cosy where I can have a read of my book. And there are TONS of independent places near me (live on the coast) but their coffee is always over-priced for a thimble-full OR cheap for watery, tasteless cheap instant out of one of those industrial-sized tubs from a warehouse somewhere.

So I stick to the chains.

FunLovinBunster Thu 10-Apr-14 14:58:27

I love the fact that their coffee is overpriced.
And looks and tastes like liquid shit.
And I really love the fact they take pleasure in underpaying their taxes on their profits by manipulating the tax system.

shamelesshussie Thu 10-Apr-14 15:54:48

Someone once told me the reason starbucks coffee is so vile and bitter is because they store their beans in a warehouse for ages to deliberately let them go stale so the taste is consistant from shop to shop, fuck knows if that's true though

LydiasLunch Thu 10-Apr-14 15:57:18

Salted caramel hot chocolate. Drunk very fast as it doesn't stay hot, with plenty of salt.

Namechangeforamo Thu 10-Apr-14 16:02:28

Its a brand thing, like coke or levis. People think they are buying a 'cool' lifestyle because they see so many images of cool people hanging out in coffee shops. Much prefer tea myself.

mumofthemonsters808 Thu 10-Apr-14 16:07:13

I really like Starbucks but we are surrounded by Costa and Nero who I don't rate. My only gripe with Starbucks is how busy they get, but I've always found the tables are cleared rapidly and you are served very quickly. I adore their Lates and DD loves their smoothies. As I do not go very often it is a nice treat when we do stumble across one.

AllMimsyWereTheBorogroves Thu 10-Apr-14 16:07:30

I just do not get the current fad for adding salt to sweet things. Doctors are trying to get us to cut down on salt and here we are looking for things we can add salt to. How long before there's a salted caramel flavour Coke?

Consistency. You know what you're going to get and you know how much you're going to be paying.

I quite like Starbucks and if it was really that vile, it wouldn't be as popular as it is.

It is because you can spend as long as you like using free wifi, hogging a whole sofa whilst working on your laptop and only ever have to buy 1 small coffee. The staff in our closest one never move people on. One guy goes in for coffee at 9 am and is still there most days at 4pm (I pass him going to and from school with the kids)

expatinscotland Thu 10-Apr-14 16:12:47

We are all going to die. May as well eat what you love.

Charlieboo30 Thu 10-Apr-14 16:15:05

I'm not a massive Starbucks fan but I LOVE their caramel hot chocolate. Nothing compares. Also like cafe nero's hot chocolate. I don't think much to costas - it just seems watery. I don't really drink coffee so can't comment on that.

I like how I can go into one of those places for an hour to read and nobody bothers me. We have a nice independent cafe where I live but I know the owner and she always wants to chit chat!

ACatCalledColin Thu 10-Apr-14 16:15:08

I quite like Starbucks and if it was really that vile, it wouldn't be as popular as it is.

Oh I agree. I certainly don't think it's vile - the hot chocolate and frappes are yummy. The coffee isn't really to my taste but that's because I generally prefer very strong coffee so I go to Nero for that. The coffee is nice and strong there.

CardiffUniversityNetballTeam Thu 10-Apr-14 16:19:47

I never normally come on these threads as I work for Starbucks and I try to avoid getting involved. But, shamlesshussie, no, that's not true at all. Some green (unroasted) coffee is stored for a long time but this is specifically to age it for a different flavour profile.

shamelesshussie Thu 10-Apr-14 16:28:24

Aha, fair enough, I did take it with a pinch of salt myself!

This might be appropriate to roll out now

Wuxiapian Thu 10-Apr-14 16:30:01

Starbucks coffee is awful. I don't understand it's popularity, either.

RedFocus Thu 10-Apr-14 16:39:15

Their caramel creme frap!! wink

Preciousbane Thu 10-Apr-14 16:51:21

I watched a documentary about the big coffee shops a couple of days ago. I don't get it either, I really don't.

My friend makes me laugh she calls them Starfucks and Costalotta.

Costa has even made it to my little town, I have never been in.

Preciousbane Thu 10-Apr-14 16:56:12

There is a series called Crackanory and one of the episodes is about taking on the big coffee brands. Harry Enfield reads it and it is great and being repeated on tv twice this weekend.

EurotrashGirl Thu 10-Apr-14 17:28:44

I love Starbucks Chai lattes, but they just aren't as good here in the UK as they are in my home country. And it used to drive me nuts when one of my friends insisted I only went to Starbucks because it was "cool". I go because I like it! Its been about 20 years since Starbucks was "trendy" or a "fad".
Also, I agree with the other posters who say that independent coffee shops are open limited hours and take longer.

OnlyLovers Thu 10-Apr-14 17:33:59

NOTHING is so great about Starbucks. The coffee is weak and bitter; I think they over-roast/burn it to try to make it taste strong. It's overpriced and the sizes start at 'greedy bastard' and only get bigger.

I loathe it. Can you tell? grin Any other chain is better, but Nero and Pret are the best IMO.

Nancy66 Thu 10-Apr-14 17:35:28

what coffee should I ask for if I like a coffee strong but milky but not as milky as a latte? I never know. But not a cappuccino because they are too foamy.

OnlyLovers Thu 10-Apr-14 17:37:01

Nancy, none in Starbucks grin but ask for a flat white. Lovely foamed milk but less milk to coffee for a stronger taste.

OnlyLovers Thu 10-Apr-14 17:37:59

Sorry, meant to say 'less milk to coffee than in a latte or cappuccino'.

TheBabyFacedAssassin Thu 10-Apr-14 17:39:24


My friend and I call it RobMeBucks grin

OnlyLovers Thu 10-Apr-14 17:40:14

In The Sopranos they called it Buttfucks. grin

Nancy66 Thu 10-Apr-14 17:41:56

somebody told me I needed to ask for a 'wet cappuccino' so I did and they didn't know what the fuck I was talking about (not Starbucks - somewhere else) so now wondering if person who told me was taking the piss.

Maybe flat white is the way - thanks OnlyLovers

ACatCalledColin Thu 10-Apr-14 17:44:46

I've heard of a wet cappuccino before but maybe that person was also taking the piss grin. Don't know what it is though.

Going off to Google now.

ACatCalledColin Thu 10-Apr-14 17:47:33

This might explain it

Apparently a wet cappuccino is made with more steamed milk than frothy milk - so maybe like a frothy latte instead? A dry cappuccino seems to be the standard cappuccino (with more froth).

TheLadyMarion Thu 10-Apr-14 17:47:58

I have never been to Starbucks or any other branded coffee outlet.

Paying that much for a coffee is obscene in my opinion.

^^ This. Same as Caruthers

earlyriser Thu 10-Apr-14 17:48:34

Starbucks coffee is very weak and they charge extra for soya milk, which is why i always go to costa. Unfortunately cafe nero nearly always split the soya milk so it curdles and very few independents have soya. Shame they have no vegan cakes though!

Floggingmolly Thu 10-Apr-14 17:51:46

Nothing. It's shite. And there's a special place in hell reserved for the bastards who transformed a branch of Bewleys Oriental Tearooms (established 1840) in Dublin into a fucking Starbucks <bitter>

Nancy66 Thu 10-Apr-14 17:52:30

thanks ACatcalledColin - at least I didn't ask for anything rude

Lesleythegiraffe Thu 10-Apr-14 17:54:25

I don't get Starbucks either.

Overpriced and overcrowed and lacking in enough people to clear tables.

Also the coffee is shite. I have tried latte, cappucino and flat white and none of them had any taste.

scottishmummy Thu 10-Apr-14 17:55:44

I love Starbucks,I'm heartened so many on mn hate it..more seats then

Arse. Come on spill it! We won't tell anyone - hardly anyone uses mumsnet anymore either. It'll be a secret.

MorrisZapp Thu 10-Apr-14 18:00:42

I love Starbucks. The staff are friendly, the music is usually cool, and you can have your drink any way you like.

Sure, independent tea rooms are cute to look at but if you ask for skimmed milk you get a blank look.

Plus, in Starbucks I get 25p off every drink because I use my own cup.

ACatCalledColin Thu 10-Apr-14 18:07:49

thanks ACatcalledColin - at least I didn't ask for anything rude

Where was it that didn't know what you meant? If it was a small coffee shop rather than one of the big chains that might explain why they didn't know. I think whilst wet cappuccino does exist and it is a real thing it's not a very widespread term.

Racking my brains now I'm pretty sure the place where I heard of a wet cappuccino was actually in Starbucks. I think somebody may have ordered one so they should know what it is at least.

I used to work in a coffee shop as a teen and if someone had asked me for a wet cappuccino I wouldn't have known what it was either.blush

slightlyconfused85 Thu 10-Apr-14 18:14:24

Nothing. The coffee is served luke warm and its overpriced.

I asked for a babycino about 9 years ago and someone asked if I was visiting the town from London. Indeed I was. They said they'd done them in training but had never been asked for one in 3 years.

I felt all me and my toddler and our fancy London ways.

Nancy66 Thu 10-Apr-14 18:18:49

yes, it was a small indie. looked at me though I'd asked for a bat's milk latte

hollyisalovelyname Thu 10-Apr-14 18:26:21

I think the food is crapola ( really disappointing) but the view from the Starbucks in Blackrock, Dublin across Dublin Bay is to die for. I have only been once and would love to go back

Mintyy Thu 10-Apr-14 18:29:17

Nancy - you want a flat white. A decent coffee shop will also make drinks extra hot on request. Starbucks only do lukewarm, but their cheese and marmite paninis are nice.

Mintyy Thu 10-Apr-14 18:31:27

The first time I went to Starbucks was in Seattle in 1998 <kudos>. Our friends there couldn't believe they hadn't opened in London yet. Now they are everywhere, which I find depressing.

Borntobeamum Thu 10-Apr-14 18:35:38

The very first Starbucks I ever went in was just off Union Square in San Francisco.
First day of a wonderful holiday where my husband and I made some wonderful memories.

I visit Starbucks to remind myself of the relaxing mornings we had, listening to romantic jazz played by on a saxaphone, and the similar smells.

Delphiniumsblue Thu 10-Apr-14 18:47:21

I won't set foot in one, I hate their coffee.

TheMaw Thu 10-Apr-14 18:48:33

I love Starbucks, I love the mocha frapp with my whole being. But I boycott, because fuck paying four quid for a coffee when the robbing bastards don't pay their taxes.

scottishmummy Thu 10-Apr-14 18:51:05

I love Starbucks,love that a swathe of people hate it.good.keep em out
More room for me and the weans

usuallyright Thu 10-Apr-14 18:51:26

their coffee only tastes nice in the takeaway cups. Tastes shit out of those nasty big Starbucks mugs.

Retropear Thu 10-Apr-14 18:51:39

Minty my first visit was in Seattle in 1998. grin

I loathe them now as everything is far too milky and their flat white isn't as good as Costa's.

scottishmummy Thu 10-Apr-14 18:54:13

The maw,starbuck are acting legally re:the taxation.its convoluted avoidance,not nonpayment
Do you boycott Arcadia group,topshop,Dorothy Perkins due Phil green tax avoidance?

Whiskwarrior Thu 10-Apr-14 19:00:23

It's interesting that people are saying it's obscene to pay so much for a cup of coffee. I don't drink alcohol or smoke so I suppose my coffee habit is equivalent to other people who like a glass (or three) of wine or 20 cigarettes a day. I'm not saying any of these are wrong, btw, just what people class as expensive, I suppose.

God, my kids have been off school almost a week now. I would kill for a couple of hours in a coffee shop, sans children, with a good book, a vanilla latte and a bar of chocolate...

AnnaBanana25 Thu 10-Apr-14 19:01:53

Starbucks is gross. That's all I have to say.

Retropear Thu 10-Apr-14 19:05:58

I have a Gaggia Classic and tbh very few coffee shops make anything as good( the exception being 1 indie shop near us).I worked out how much I've saved over the years and it's hundreds of pounds.shock

Is it worth it then Retro? I'd love one.

VikingLady Thu 10-Apr-14 19:27:52

Starbucks tea is the best in any cafe I've tried in our town, and the staff have always been polite, helpful without me having to ask (moving tables for buggies/groups, carrying trays etc) and they make a big fuss of DD. And there is no finer snack than toasted tea bread slathered in melts butter grin

But I go to Caffe Nero for actual coffee. They do all of the above too, plus if they've frothed too much milk for the babychino thingy, they give her the rest in a big cup. smile

TheMaw Thu 10-Apr-14 19:29:23

ScottishMummy yup. And I know it's avoidance, and legal, but thanks for keeping me right.

scottishmummy Thu 10-Apr-14 19:36:19

I'm not interested in keeping you right,I queried if you're consistent

googietheegg Thu 10-Apr-14 19:37:46

Ooooo retro, I've got a gaggia classic too <forms club> and I lurves it, especially as we get beans from hasbean and grind them fresh every morning. Sometimes twice smile

WilsonFrickett Thu 10-Apr-14 19:38:13

I order a wet latte with an extra shot, extra hot. Get me. blush for my townie ways

ipswichwitch Thu 10-Apr-14 19:54:26

2yo DS loves their fruit toast - so much so that he calls it fruit toast shop and says "bye bye fruit toast" when we leave. Can't go to town now without stopping there (well we could but that would invoke the mother of all tantrums and since I have a weakness for gingerbread latte I'm happy to keep the peace on that one !)

scottishmummy wasn't Boots and Amazon also on the list of tax avoiders? (Or did I imagine that one?)

VikingLady Thu 10-Apr-14 20:08:18

I'm not paying extortionate prices for tea/coffee - I'm paying for somewhere comfortable, warm, friendly to spend some time off my feet, where I can get a good cuppa and treat my DD. Not bad for £2 (tea).

And it's not weak in my branch! They always ask if you want one tea bag or two.

I haven't dared buy coffee in Costa since the thread about someone pooing themselves there. A LOT of posters referred to the Costa trots.... wink

Retropear Thu 10-Apr-14 20:23:32

Sauce yes.

£194 on Amazon,just realised I bought mine in 1998. I buy one bag of Lavazza a week at £3( if I was loaded it would be Illy but that is £5). Pre Gaggia dp and I bought a coffee each a day out.

Think we've covered the £200 outlay.grin

They're built like a tank.Mine has survived countless moves.

Retropear Thu 10-Apr-14 20:25:18

No sorry 2006,but that is still 8 years of

Applespearsorangesandlemons Thu 10-Apr-14 20:26:08

I'm not mad on sitting in Starbucks but I find it hard to leave any shopping trip without a skinny latte - extra hot, just ask, they do it no questions, to take on my drive home. It's my main indulgence.

Preciousbane Thu 10-Apr-14 20:27:47

What the bob is a flat white?they were talking about them in the documentary.

SisterChristina Thu 10-Apr-14 20:28:41

Starbucks is somewhere to be, that's exactly it. It's the ideal venue to meet a friend for a chat or to take one of the dc for a special treat so we can chat one to one over hot chocolates.

Starbucks is my least favourite hot choc though, is always served lukewarm and tastes of nothing but milk. Costa's is lovely and rich and chocolatey.

But Starbucks is most convenient to get to

Thank you retro - I think they look great.

ViviDeBeauvoir Thu 10-Apr-14 20:31:56

Of all the chain coffee shops it is the worst.

Mintyy Thu 10-Apr-14 20:42:09

When I read threads like this I realise how different London is to the rest of the country. Sorry if anyone finds that offensive grin

I doubt my dh's parents (live in rural Suffolk) even know what Starbucks is. But flat whites, babycinos, soya milk, all that shizzle, extra hot, double shot = completely normal in this blessed capital of ours. Never mind we have to pay double at least for housing just for the privilege of living here.

Retropear Thu 10-Apr-14 20:51:34

I live in a Devon,pretty normal down here too.grin

gordonpym Thu 10-Apr-14 20:56:50

Frappucino! I love it, especially when you drink it so fast with the straw that is frezzes your brain!

Mintyy Thu 10-Apr-14 20:58:56

You live in a Devon Retro? Which Devon is that then grin.

I read that the most expensive ingredient in a Starbucks coffee is the milk!

I don't like them. Have been in twice and was disappointed with the coffee both times. Weak and not hot enough.

expatinscotland Thu 10-Apr-14 21:14:06

I want all the Starbucks' albums. And Pottery Barn's, too. They can keep the coffee.

stubbornstains Thu 10-Apr-14 21:27:07

The chains understand the comfy thing. Sofas, tub chairs, lots of wood to create an ambience of cosy brown-ness, and the feel of a safe retreat.

I often feel like grabbing the proprietors of many local independents and frogmarching them into Starbucks and going! "Look! Comfy! Cosy! Pople will come, and will pay 3 quid for a coffee! Your cafe is bright and clattery and has tiny little tables and you have to perch on a spindly little chair and people bash into your back as they squeeze past! I really want to frequent your joint because Starbucks are sucking the life out of the High Street but GIVE ME COSY WITH MY COFFEE!!

Plus, the chains have a hundred cunning ways to cram their drinks and snacks with extra fat and sugar, which is, of course, delicious and addictive.

TattyDevine Thu 10-Apr-14 21:27:23

There's nothing great about them, but in London (and the rest of the UK to be fair) it can be hard to get a consistently good coffee. Now, whilst Starbucks may not be the be all and end all of coffee, if you learn what coffee you like, whether it is a Black Americano with an extra shot, or a strong latte, or whatever, wherever you go in the UK, it will be the same. I even went to America and got the exact same coffee. So there is consistency if nothing else (in my opinion)

itsbetterthanabox Thu 10-Apr-14 21:27:40

I prefer costa but Starbucks is good at Xmas, the toffee nut latte is goood. You are right the service is shit and it's messy but if you want fancy drinks or soya/skimmed choices then there's not loads if choice.

shebird Thu 10-Apr-14 21:31:32

Mcdonalds coffee is half the price and much better or if I want a treat I will go to a local cafe.

Anotheronebitthedust Thu 10-Apr-14 21:45:24

Agree with everyone who said Starbucks/Costa etc stopped being 'cool' and a fad at least 20 years ago. They are now ubiquitous, on every high street, you see everyone from teens to parents, businessmen to pensioners in them.

People aren't going in to look cool, or play into a certain lifestyle. They are going because they are thirsty, fancy a drink, somewhere to sit, get out of the rain, or meet a friend.

I don't actually think they are particularly bad value. Honestly, where else can you go to meet a friend or sit for a few hours for less than a fiver? Restaurants would expect you to buy something, libraries are free but you can't always eat/talk loudly/find a good seat, McDonald's or somewhere may be slightly cheaper but not exactly a nice ambience to relax.

I am shocked by people who buy it every day, as that adds up to at least £20 a week, but as an occasional treat, it's really not expensive. I don't really like the plain coffee, but for all the other things (frappes, flavoured hot chocs etc), they are not actually more expensive than the alternative. With Frappe's for examples, you would think Mc Donalds would be the cheapest bog standard end of the market, but their frappes are only about 60p cheaper than costas, and they don't offer any of the alternatives (soya milk, low fat, different flavourings etc). To be honest, even if you made it at home you would have to buy the coffee, syrup flavouring, whipped cream, syrup, a blender....

Although I will moan that I hate Starbucks' ridiculously slow service. I have left the shop so many times because I've been queuing for ages and still not got anywhere. That does irritate me, but it's obviously not a problem for them as they're going strong.

Anotheronebitthedust Thu 10-Apr-14 21:48:41

Um, no Minty, soya milk, babychinos etc all available outside London too! My parents live in a little village in South Wales and there are at least 50 or so starbucks/costas within a 20 mile radius.

You Lunderners are not THAT special! wink
(btw we have electricity too!)

ACatCalledColin Thu 10-Apr-14 23:19:07

Anotheronebitthedust I'd agree with that. I live in a small hick town in the north east but I can think of about 6 Starbucks and 5 Costas within a 30 minute drive. Actually there's probably more than that but those are the only ones I can think of right now.

ACatCalledColin Thu 10-Apr-14 23:20:32

Although I will moan that I hate Starbucks' ridiculously slow service.

Yup. They have two tills but there seems to be only ever one person serving. confused What's up with that?

syllabubble Fri 11-Apr-14 09:10:01

We have several local coffee shops who do better/cheaper coffee than the chains, but none of them do a flat white (wail). If I'm having coffee I want it to taste of coffee. I end up having a double shot latte or an americano with hot milk. But the flat white is spreading slowly and I'm sure will reach hicktown hometown eventually.

we don't use the chains - overpriced and pressuring small local and better businesses. Went into Cafe Nero once, mainly to get out of the rain, and the coffee was dreadful

TulipOHare Fri 11-Apr-14 09:36:49

Their coffee is rubbish and overpriced. Seating is very comfy though.

I go in if I am desperate and there is no independent equivalent around. Sadly there often isn't an independent because of Starbucks. When I was at uni years ago my friends and I used to go to this fantastic little coffee / bookshop. It was never going to make a million but it was lovely and always quite busy. Till Starbucks moved in a few doors down. From then on Starbucks was always packed and our little cafe dwindled until it went out of business. Sometimes I really hate people angry

I suspect this happens quite a bit.

SociallyAcceptableCookie Fri 11-Apr-14 09:43:05

I go to Starbucks because I usually drink filter coffee because most cafés in England seem to only serve espresso drinks. I find Starbucks syrups too sweet and if I have their hot chocolate I ask for half as much syrup.

RabbitPies Fri 11-Apr-14 09:45:57

Coffee? What's coffee?

<Not in London>

lottie82 Fri 11-Apr-14 10:53:18

shoot me down but I love starbucks. caramel macchiatos and frapps in the summer. YUM

if you want it hotter, just ask for it extra hot.

my dad is a coffee expert, in an academic sense and HATES starbucks. I love to wind him up by telling him how great it is, he goes mental! :-)

NinjaLeprechaun Fri 11-Apr-14 11:23:31

Its been about 20 years since Starbucks was "trendy" or a "fad".
At least. grin
I live in the Home of the Coffee Gods (the Pacific Northwest) and going to Starbucks is the sort of thing you're embarrassed to admit to, and usually apologize for. It's the Walmart of coffee shops.

It's convenient - there's one in my local supermarket, for instance - and you know what you're going to get, but it's not a destination. I literally can't remember the last time I went into a Starbucks and stayed longer than it took to get my order. Anybody purposely going 'out for coffee' or a meal isn't going to choose Starbucks. To begin with, their coffee is absolute shite.
I've never found a coffee place that didn't know what a wet cappuccino was though.

rookiemater Fri 11-Apr-14 11:27:17

I like going to Starbucks occasionally in the same way I like going to Pizza Express or All Bar One - it brings me right back to a different stage in my life.

I remember we drank a lot of Starbucks in Canada on a trip pre DS, when Starbucks was (still just about) stylish.

I agree that their coffee is fairly weak, but I now know what to order - Americano with 1/3 hot skinny milk, although I might be tempted by a flat white after this thread. I like the dependability of it and their sofas are comfy.

Halsall Fri 11-Apr-14 11:40:05

Yep, totally agree, their 'coffee' is crap (weak, lukewarm, as others have said), and to me has a weird, unpleasant undertaste.

In America a couple of years ago there was almost literally a Starbucks on every corner and if possible their coffee was even worse than it is here - both weaker and colder. But it was sometimes the only place open early/late if we were going on trips, so in the end I worked out that I had to ask for skinny, extra shot, extra extra hot cappuccinos. They obviously thought I was mad but it did produce something that vaguely - very vaguely - approximated to what I would consider coffee.

Can't recall the last time I went into a Starbucks here, though.

Misspixietrix Fri 11-Apr-14 11:54:11

Nothing. I don't frequent it anymore. I prefer my coffee shops to be of the Corporation Tax paying variety to be honest.

Artandco Fri 11-Apr-14 13:59:46

I'm actually amazed that people in london of all places actually still use the chains. Sure there is a costa/ Starbucks on every corner, but there is also hundreds of lovely independent coffee shops down every sidestreet
I can go for a walk and go in a diff one daily

TimeForAnotherNameChange Fri 11-Apr-14 16:51:16

I love my local Starbucks. Fast, efficient service, they know my order, will happily make any adjustments I want, are great with the kids, lots of tables, outdoor space fronting on to the town square to watch the world go by. And most of all I love the free refill on filter coffee and the extra 25p off if you take your own cup, even when drinking in. Oh, and the fruit toast - food of the gods. The actual coffee isn't the best on the market becuase of the tendency to over roast but it's okay; strong, and consistent. I love coffee and have a regular monthly subscription to a premium bean service and whilst Bucks will never be able to compete with that sort of quality, it's not the worst on the high street and people don't go just for the coffee, as has been explained very well indeed by others upthread.

Southeastdweller Fri 11-Apr-14 17:21:32

Not all are overcrowded. I hate crowds and have become an expert in finding where the quiet branches are in London, and in some other cities in the U.K. I like Starbucks because I can sit with my book or arse around online for a while drinking in spacious surroundings, or just staring out the window in a change of scenery from home to relax and recharge. The reliability and comfort is reassuring and I can happily put up with mediocre coffee for all the other things the company provides. I've recently noticed more and more business meetings in branches. Free refill on the filter coffee also a good idea (which I don't think they advertise) and the fruit bread is delicious.

I agree, though, with a comment earlier that the tea is crap. And when I want great coffee I have Union at home, or Nero/indie when out and about.

ipadquietly Fri 11-Apr-14 17:48:49

The profits.

AllMimsyWereTheBorogroves Fri 11-Apr-14 18:03:26


TruffleOil Fri 11-Apr-14 18:07:59

Sugar-free vanilla syrup.

Onsera3 Fri 11-Apr-14 18:28:59

I like it! I can customise my drink. When I was pregnant and now I'm bf I don't want too much caffeine. They have way less caffeine in their drinks than some places and you can find out how much. Then I ask for a mix of decaf and regular so I can have flavour without caffeine. And I want it 'dry' because DS eats the foam. (He doesn't like babyccino). 'Wet' they give you more milk less foam.

You don't have to pay for things like soy if you have a card and average one purchase per week.

You don't have to have a huge drink- they sell a 'short' one. It's not on the price list but they always have it.

As others mentioned I like the consistency.

Where I come from it is popular but less so than local chains. In fact sometimes Starbucks are forced to shut when they can't compete with the locals. Because Starbucks isn't considered cool at all. When they opened in the nineties they didn't offer flatwhite- the local drink- so they wrote instructions on the board of how to ask for one. A double light foam latte. They soon gave up and added to menu.

tilliebob Fri 11-Apr-14 18:55:28

I hate Starbucks, Costa and all these chains. The prices make my hair go grey er.

Taffeta Fri 11-Apr-14 19:01:06

I always think Starbucks is for those that don't like proper coffee. It's all weak, milky shite with syrupy crap on the side.

unlucky83 Fri 11-Apr-14 19:31:34

Never been in one - or Costa or Cafe Nero!
In independent coffee shops I ask for a strong black coffee (or a double espresso in a cup - if they have an obvious machine) with cold milk on the side... Sure that must have a 'name' - but I get what I want without using it ...

And I hate the disposable cups...what a waste -and you see them littering everywhere - left on shelves in shops etc (almost as bad as plastic water bottles)...

Can't stand our local shop has a Costa machine and some people were talking about it was their treat to get a coffee from there on the way to work - a 5-10 min drive away ..surely it most be cold - and is it really that special?
I think I'd buy a cheap cappuccino machine for work and then have my treat everyday - without the nasty paper cup!
(And I wonder in a blind test if most people could tell the difference between instant with lots of sugary syrupy stuff in and one of the 'special' coffees from the chains...)

Doitnicelyplease Fri 11-Apr-14 19:55:50

Tim Hortons double double is the way to go.

CombineBananaFister Fri 11-Apr-14 21:02:19

Starbucks and coffee to me in the same sentence doesn't feel right tbh - when I think of starbucks I think of warm milky coffee flavoured soothing drinks or dessert drinks like frappes and theirs nowt wrong with that.

If I want an actual coffee, I want arabica beans with not too hot milk (160 degrees or less or it burns the sugars in the milk and tastes watery) so costa cortado or marks and spencers flat white. A proper barista should be like a somelier.

CombineBananaFister Fri 11-Apr-14 21:03:15

Apparently I've forgotten how to use commas tonight or indeed spell blush

JapaneseMargaret Fri 11-Apr-14 21:16:53

Oh God, I hate Stabucks! It turns me into an unmitigated coffee snob. grin

They don't serve coffee, they serve coffee-favoured milk.

A Starbucks had to close down in our city, as there is too much competition from the masses of independent cafes, all of which, even the middling ones, serve way better coffee. And all of which have their own vibe and personality. And decent menus.

I honestly don't undertand the appeal. The interiors are all generic, the food is standard issue, and lacks flavour. And the coffee is bland and poorly made.

Only tourists go to Starbucks here. Nobody else would be seen dead in one. Good coffee is too widespread here for locals to have any desire to patronise Starbucks.

Misspixietrix Fri 11-Apr-14 22:32:46

unmitigated coffee snob grin

TruffleOil Sat 12-Apr-14 06:29:25

I am baffled by coffee differentiators. It all tastes the same to me (kind of bad).

amandine07 Sat 12-Apr-14 06:47:55

Success is partly due to the fact there's a bloody Starbucks everywhere!

I prefer to take my own homemade coffee to work in a travel mug- saving me money too!

At a push I'd go for Costa, the coffee there is definitely superior.

Some of the Starbucks I've been you have has sticky, dirty tables from the previous occupants and the toilets were disgusting with flies...this left an impression with me and I tend to avoid nowadays!

As to the OP's question about what is so great...I'm of the opinion that Starbucks is not that great at all, they're just ubiquitous, profiting off the fact that grown adults will pay £££££ for mediocre coffee and/or heated up milk all presented in a crappy paper cup.

Oh and I detest Starbucks for not paying the tax that they should have done.

Prefer an independent or bring my own (I'm tight like that!).

amandine07 Sat 12-Apr-14 06:52:00


I'm with you on that one!

When I've been into chain coffee shops, I'm stood there looking at the vast menu thinking I just want a bloody coffee please!

All this bollocks...people and their convoluted orders- skinny, soya, put the coffee on the side fluff the milk up etc.
And Babyccinos- er what are they all about?!

BoomBoomsCousin Sat 12-Apr-14 07:28:28

For me Starbucks beats Costa and Cafe Nero for the range they have available of things I don't mind eating/drinking and usually for service too. The quality seems the same for all of them. I generally try and stick to independents just because I like variety on the high street and the quality is generally better. But the things I can get at Starbucks that I can't get at any of my local independent coffee shops include fresh fruit, filter coffee, Fair Trade coffee and a latte smaller than 12 fl oz.

The barristas in Starbucks are, mostly, surprisingly knowledgeable about coffee. And while the services isn't as fast as I'd like it is quite a bit faster and more accurate than the local alternatives.

The coffee is nothing to write home about though. And I have no idea why anyone would "rave" about it.

JapaneseMargaret Sat 12-Apr-14 07:38:18

Crap coffee tastes crap.

Good coffee tastes great.

You could as easily say, 'all wine tastes the same'; it does if you don't like it, have no interest in it, or have never had a decent bottle. It definitely doesn't if you know something about it.

If Starbucks is the extent of your coffee experience, then yes, I'd agree that it does all taste the same. Given that the interior of every outlet across the planet is the same, it's no surprise that the coffee is identikit, too.

Blondeshavemorefun Sat 12-Apr-14 07:54:54

I love sb. Go there often. I hate coffee but drink chai latte and sb's is delicious

Both costa and Nero and other coffee shops attempt to make a chai but taste so different to sb

I have done the chai test and can easily tell the sb chai

Our sb in kent in local - clean - have books for kids - toilets which are rare in our town so if kids need changing etc

Plus nice to meet friends there for a gossip catch up smile

I prefer the Waitrose or John Lewis cafe. You can't get a pecan butterscotch yum yum in Starbucks!! grin

FelixFelix Sat 12-Apr-14 08:00:43

Starbucks coffee tastes like cardboard. So does Costa. It really isn't very nice at all. I'm lucky to live close to some brilliant independent coffee shops who also happen to serve tasty tasty baked goods. Drool.

SybilRamkin Sat 12-Apr-14 12:09:36

Mmmm, coffee light frappucino...

hollyisalovelyname Sun 13-Apr-14 08:59:51

I just wish they'd clean and clear the tables more often.
And the food is bland.
I thought they'd never come quick enough to Ireland.
I was really disappointed when they did - nothing great at all.
The one in the Kildare village outlet ( like a smaller Bicester) is always crowded , long, long queue and just meh.

grobagsforever Sun 13-Apr-14 10:18:24

Has anyone mentioned ethics yet? Starbucks has a poor reputation for paying low prices to coffee bean growers, squeezing local indie places by opening multiple branches then closing all but one when they've killed off the competition, treating employees badly and not paying tax. No reason for anyone with either a brain or taste buds to venture into the boring hell hole. Even my three year old prefers independents.

tiredandsadmum Sun 13-Apr-14 10:33:19

Ghastly place. Coffee is weak AND over roasted. YUK.

Staff are lovely.

BoomBoomsCousin Sun 13-Apr-14 15:59:03

I don't think it's as easy to dismiss Starbucks' ethics as that grobags. I do think there are general problems wth multi-national corporations that Starbucks don't avoid but...

Starbucks pay above the industry standard for coffee and are the biggest Fair Trade purchaser in the world. While the industry standard is not a good bench mark, that's an issue with the coffee industry in general and just as applicable to other coffee shops. None of my local independents serve Fair Trade, nor do they provide any information on how they source their coffee.

Also, though I'm sure there are plenty of individual poor experiences, over all they're a sought-after employer. Starbucks has made Glassdoor's Best Companies to Work For list (an award based on employee opinions) for several years.

HelloBoys Sun 13-Apr-14 16:17:33

Starbucks is overrated but I quite like their small square cake things and pastrami sandwiches if I eat lunch there. I find staff in my work one to be quite rude/brusque but then I'm comparing to Caffe Nero who I love!

grobagsforever Sun 13-Apr-14 23:33:12

Have a Google and see some of the other nasty stuff they are into.

BoomBoomsCousin Mon 14-Apr-14 00:20:56

I have looked at their corporate social responsibility impact (along with numerous other comapnies) for work in the US in the past. There's plenty of bad but, on balance, probably less than average given their size. There's also a fair amount of good. It's complicated, hence I just said not so easily dismissed, rahter than claiming they were shining paragons of virtue. Small independent shops tend not to be that great on the whole (though huge variation) as many struggle to survive, so corner cutting quite common, but at least with them you don't have the issues that go hand-in-hand with multi-nationals.

Sharaluck Mon 14-Apr-14 00:23:31

I don't like their coffee but their same-same-same atmosphere in every store is nice.

musicalendorphins2 Mon 14-Apr-14 02:19:15

Dirty dishwasher, yep, that is what their 'coffee" tastes like. We tried it once, threw it away, and never again. We figure the people who enjoy the flavoured coffee drinks are the ones who love starbucks.

Mushypeasandchipstogo Mon 14-Apr-14 19:50:30

Went there once to meet friends. The coffee was awful and all the tables were dirty. Would never go there again, people should try other smaller places. Don't agree that they get away with paying any tax too but that is the government's fault.

Mushypeasandchipstogo Mon 14-Apr-14 19:51:58

Should read "without paying tax".

Southeastdweller Mon 14-Apr-14 22:15:55

mushy It's not always possible to go to smaller places - as been stated several times upthread, a couple of reasons of many why Starbucks is so successful is because there's so many branches and the long opening hours.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now