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Charbucks is the Suck

August 25, 2005

I’ve been too lazy to bust out the coffee roaster after work lately, but have been jonesing for that afternoon espresso at the same time. So this morning I packed up the remaining Starbucks espresso beans that must be 3 months old by now (I know, I know), and brought them into the office, for use later on the glorious Cimbali Junior so conveniently located in my building.

As I sit at my desk this morning, I found myself distracted by an overpowering sickly-sweet odor. Surprised the Starbucks could be responsible, I crack open the bag and get a wiff. The aroma is insipid and burnt, not at all appealing like the home roast, even when I butcher the beans. I’m no coffee connoisseur, and have only a handful of home roast batches under my belt thusfar, so I’m surprised how quickly my nose upturned. Charbucks is just *that* bad. Just as most people accept the macrobrewed beers- such as Millcoorwiser- as what proper beer should taste like, the masses (including me until just recently) have accepted the junk pouring out of Starbucks and Peets as good coffee.

If you’re reading this and *not* nodding your head in agreement, you owe it to yourself to break free from the shackles and try good, fresh, uncharred coffee or espresso from one of the few purveyors Starbucks hasn’t crushed. It may not be immediately obvious (it wasn’t for me, as a predominantly green tea drinker), but when it is, you’ll never look back…

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From → Brewing

4 Comments
  1. Will permalink

    Espresso after a nice dinner is pretty much my only exposure to “good” coffee. When I go to Starbucks (usually with others who I’m tagging along with), I get the drinks with lots of chocolate, whipped cream, etc. With all that yummy fat-laden stuff, it nice to know that I’m not missing anything there at the coffee level!
    I have a lime green Francis Francis X1 which I got via a friend who had a HUGE employee discount. I use it maybe once month. Mostly I just look at it and the cool purple orchid I put next to it. So I guess in my world coffee is a treat for the eye. šŸ˜‰
    So I’m interested in hearing the end of your story? Did you just hold your nose and have a cup, or did you toss it?
    P.S. Bud Lite is good. Not great, but it’s good and hits the spot for the cost (it’s always on sale someplace). šŸ˜‰

  2. rama permalink

    Will- with all day meetings today, I didn’t have a chance to try the beans, but I plan to, even if I suspect it’ll be a horrible beverage. Its good to learn what traits makes a bad cup. This should be a perfect example. šŸ˜‰ Next time you’re at my campus, I’ll be sure to bring in some home-roasted beans for you to try. BTW, the F.F. X1 looks like a sweet machine, even if its just counter candy!

  3. I used to buy my coffee at the local supermarket chains, but last Christmas my sister-in-law gave me some FairTrade coffee. Got through it in no time at all, it tastes great and provides an honest return to the farmers who put all their effort into growing it. Fortunately for me, the local purveyor of FairTrade is Macro Whole Foods who are only just up the street from me.
    The only time I go to a “blended coffee chain” like Charbucks et al is when I’m flying to or from the USA because those franchise behemoths seem to have all the airports sewn up tight.

  4. Thanks for the props Rama. Coffeegeek.com forums are a great resource. For espresso, I would emphasize a very fresh roast (< 2 weeks) and a good grind.

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