Starbucks: A Global Pandemic of Mediocrity

I love great coffee.  I therefore hate Starbucks.  So I thought I’d let them know:

Customer Relations
Starbucks Coffee Company
566 Chiswick High Road
W4 5YE

Dear Customer Relations,

I have to admit to being a bit of a sucker for your Caramel Frappuccino®.   On a hot day, slurping one of these cholesterol and calorie loaded concoctions is a wonderfully self-indulgent way to cool down.  The only problem is that I always drink it too quickly and get ‘frozen gullet’ (which is as painful as having your tonsils removed via your rectum without anaesthetic!1 ).  Yet, despite the certainty of the excruciating pain to follow if I buy one, I still struggle to walk past your establishments in warm weather.  And let’s face it; there are a lot of them to walk past.

The other day, I was wondering just how extensive the global spread of Starbucks had become and was staggered to discover from your website that I can now slurp a Caramel Frappuccino® in no less than 50 countries. 

It appears from the website that it came as something of a shock to you too:

“To this day we’re still amazed by how warmly our coffee shops have been embraced by millions of people around the world”.

Well, you can’t be as amazed as I am I can tell you.  How can you grow to the point where you have 5,500 ‘coffee houses’ all over the planet when you have never served a decent cup of coffee in 4 decades?!  You see, whilst I may have a weakness for your rather excellent Caramel Frappuccino®, I think your lattes, cappuccinos2 and espressos are an insult to anyone who knows what real coffee tastes like.

Firstly, your coffee is too weak – by a country mile.  We all know that Americans dilute their coffee to homeopathic levels but that is no justification for inflicting urine-coloured coffee on the rest of the world.  I’ll never forget queuing very early one morning in a Starbucks near Union Square in San Francisco with all the flakes3 and hookers – they made the cast of ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ look like a bunch of Nobel prizewinners – and the barista looked at me like I was the crazy one – just because I’d ordered a ‘Quadruple Tall Latte’! 

You shouldn’t have to drink half a gallon of coffee to get a caffeine hit.  Maybe it’s because you want to hide the true taste of the coffee because, secondly, strength notwithstanding, the coffee itself is…  well, bloody awful.

I suspect that this has something to do with the fact that it is ‘Fairtrade Certified™’.  Whilst I applaud every attempt to support traders in developing countries, I believe that ‘Fairtrade’ is a means of securing a premium price for inferior goods by appealing to the social conscience of the consumer.  If it doesn’t sell because it’s crap, stick a ‘Fairtrade’ label on it and it will fly off the shelves and at the same time, you look like a socially responsible retailer.   At the end of the day though, it’s still crap.  If we had ‘Fairtrade’ aero-engines, aircraft would be falling out of the skies like rain.

Let’s face it, it you have a cup of Illy espresso in one hand and a cup of Starbucks in the other, one is going to taste like heaven and the other is going to taste like you washed an athlete’s foot sufferer’s socks in it.

So, despite the delights of Caramel Frappuccino®, the global Starbucks pandemic is a complete mystery to me.  You have succeeded where Swine Flu failed and you have spread across the world.   I just don’t get it. 

Go on, tell me.  What’s the secret?

Yours Faithfully,





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  1. Actually, I have never had any part of my body removed via my rectum.  This is a figment of my literary imagination. 

  2. To be accurate, Cappuccini is the correct plural noun but that would be a bit nit-picky. 

  3. For the benefit of UK recipients, ‘flake’ is American for tramp/vagrant.  Being behind them in a Starbucks queue is very frustrating because they pay for their coffee one cent at a time (and they don’t smell terribly good – a bit like Starbucks coffee come to think of it). 

10 thoughts on “Starbucks: A Global Pandemic of Mediocrity”

  1. This post is idiotic and what is wrong with Western culture. First off, anybody who thinks Starbacks coffee is “too weak” should be ready to die within the next few years because a heart attack is soon to follow. Secondly, you are also an idiot for not understanding what makes Starbucks so successful. It’s all about image baby. Also, its a cheap cool place for friends to meet while indulging in a caffeinated boost. Thirdly, no buddy cares that you don’t like the coffee, drink Folgers at home for crying out loud. Last but not least, overly exaggerating likes and dis-likes just makes you look like an over indulgent western consumer, it’s making us all look bad. By the way I’m not a fan of Starbucks, just wanted to call you out! Tongue and Cheek ; )

    • Lance, I think you should get off the fence…
      American or European? I’m guessing the former. Starbucks coffe is as weak as piss! You’ll be telling me next that McDonalds make great burgers!

    • You’re right, Lance! Why would I want to die from caffeine overdosing, when I can die of cholesterol induced heart problems.

  2. I would love to see Starbuck’s response to this letter.. you’d be surprised by ALL that happens in their stores.. what makes me sick is how they treat their employees… you have no idea to what length they go to… all I got to say: what goes around comes around

  3. God bless you logan, i have no clue why i still work for them either, 7 years now of my life wasted and gone, i too only get 28-34 hours a week as a shift. and i can remember the great czar HOWARD in a video once telling us that we, the shifts, were the lifeblood of the company. what a frickin joke! it was alot different 7 years ago, talk about a company image going down the shitter so fast. there is no motivation for me to want to help this company make its way out of the darkness and become something it will never be.

  4. I work for Starbucks and have to agree with everything, Starbucks are so hypocritical…they preach about ethics and fairtrade, yet throw tons of food away everyday instead of organising something with local homeless shelters like other large companies do. In addition (in the UK at least) they throw all their plastic milk bottles and packaging in the trash and refuse to pay the tiny recycling bill it would cost to re use it all. And now we find out that they are cutting full time staff to 32 hours a week..leaving all full time baristas and supervisors up to £260 short every month…yet are happy to waste over £600 a week per store on free samples and even worse, forcing all baristas to take a bag of free coffee every week, if they cut back on the endless stuff like this they could easily afford to keep us on 40 hours a week! I’m disgusted that I work for them…hopefully not for long!

  5. I believe Starbucks is way too tolerant of customers who abuse other customers, and their employees. Some of these people are clearly deranged and hostile, yet Starbucks lets them hang out. I prefer locally owned coffee shops, as the owners are more responsible when it comes to giving bad folks the boot. They show them the door fast, and ensure the rest of us are safe and not harassed.

  6. “We all know that Americans dilute their coffee to homeopathic levels
    but that is no justification for inflicting urine-coloured coffee on
    the rest of the world. ”



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