Tuesday, July 24, 2007

More money for crappy coffee

Starbucks announced today that they'll be raising coffee prices again -- this time about 9 cents a cup. The reason is purportedly due to the price hikes in the dairy sector. Apparently milk and cream are no longer so cheap. But, the larger discussion here is about whether Starbucks is starting to tank:
The widely anticipated move marks Starbucks' second price increase in less than a year and comes a month after the coffee shop chain's chief financial officer warned it would be "very challenging" for Starbucks to meet the high end of its 2007 earnings forecast, in part because of rising dairy prices.

Some drinks might have a more dramatic change in price than others but overall it shouldn't be too much of a "shock" to the caffeinated faithful.

As I always do when I hear about anything Starbucks-related, I have to speak to the other Starbucks problem: the beans are burned! People don't really realize it but we're all drinking sweetened ash. What makes Starbucks have its "distinctive" flavor is the fact that they cook the beans all the same way -- that is they burn the hell out of them. People who have been roasting their own coffee beans for years will be the first to tell you this, and if you try making your own coffee from raw beans you'll notice an immediate difference in flavor and taste -- basically, that it tastes fuller.

But the Starbux faithful don't seem to mind -- whether its burned beans or flavored ash it all tastes the same and as long as you're willing to pay way more than the average price (because you THINK you're getting something of extreme value) they'll continue to sell it.

I'm off the 'bucks. Its been 2 years. I couldn't feel better about my coffee experience. Here's to no more "tall, skinny, shot-of-vanilla, no-whip, extra chocolate" fairy-tale drinks.

On a funnier note: i actually went into a Starbucks last year to prove a point: that you could make up your own Starbucks drink on the spot. I asked the barristers for a "coal-fired" mocha. They looked puzzled, even amused. "Haven't heard of it...did you say, 'coal-fired?'" I told them it meant they should throw an extra shot of chocolate in the mocha and add some chocolate "smokestack" sprinkles over the whip cream. "It's big in New York," I said (I was in San Francisco). "Oh, ok man that sounds cool. Yeah, coming right up."

And there you have it: a coal fired mocha was born. Too bad it was mixed in with burned beans.

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