Dodgy tax evasion schemes, a cancer for independent coffee shops and burnt espressos. So why do I keep going back?
Starbucks is a name derided by many coffee connaisseurs. The McDonalds of coffee shops produces such a mind boggling array of caffeine based drinks that it is has more in common with a cocktail bar than a cafe.
From frappucinos to babycinos, the chain is responsible for countless concoctions which have bastardised the essence of the coffee bean. Starbucks is to coffee what Pizza Hut is to pizza: an expensive, brand driven exercise in marketing.
Yet despite these criticisms, and believe me I wouldn’t have to dig deep to come up with more, I am a regular Starbucks customer. Why? Simply because Starbucks is often the most convenient place for a writer to dock.
A good place to write?
Every location I’ve visited offers a multitude of easily accessible plugs, a clean working surface and staff that are happy for you to sip a macchiato over the course of three hours. Oh and free wifi.
Visit a Starbucks at almost any point during the day and you will discover the urban equivalent of a watering hole in the Serengeti. Each cafe attracts a huge variety of different species. These range from the 86 year old woman eating a hot chocolate like a soup, to the collection of school children in the corner downing two litre buckets of caramel lattes.
Starbucks manages to pull off a vibe which appeals to all age groups and sections of society. I’ve seen students surrounded by books and revision materials on one end of a table and company executives negotiating contracts just opposite. Even coffee snobs such as myself end up going. It’s just too damn convenient.
So there you have. Once you get past the burnt coffee taste, the branding and the questionable practices employed, Starbucks offers a guaranteed safe haven for writers in London. Unfortunately, this reliability is not limited to the British capital and I have found myself between the mermaid’s tail in Chang Mai, Columbo and Jakarta. For shame…
The Essential Details
Price for a single espresso at the bar: £1.45
Free Wifi: Yes