Starbucks – London N8

You don’t really need me to tell you about the ‘Bucks; they’re all pretty soulless and identical and the coffee sucks.

Which is why I find it odd that I really like them. Especially the one in Crouch End where I spend a LOT of my time. I think it’s something to do with the amount of space (being cramped being somewhat of a bugaboo of mine) and maybe that when each of my kids were born and I was on extended paternity leave, we virtually lived there.

So instead of a review here are my thoughts on when they changed the style of cups recently.

A couple of days ago I mentioned that Starbucks had changed their coffee cups, and that this felt like such an important event I would need a little time to process it.

I have processed it.

It has led me to consider the relevance of the different styles of cup used in the three coffee shops I regularly visit: Starbucks, Costa and Cafe Nero.

In fact, in has taken me beyond just their crockery to an overall appraisal of their different styles.

Starbucks

Starbucks cups now look like this:

which is not too dissimilar from what they have always looked like. Their chunky, utilitarian style seems to suggest a kind of homely, honest, no-nonsense approach. They want you to feel like you could be in your own kitchen, or just popping round to a good friend’s or a beloved aunt’s. No one’s going to try and give you any fancy coffee or make you drink out of dainty cups or otherwise fuck with the enjoyment of your Joe.

The décor is a kind of airy California beach house crossed with painted clap-board New England; stylish but unchallenging. “Come and have a coffee, put your feet up, don’t worry if you drop muffin crumbs on the floor, we don’t got no carpet anyway“, they seem to be saying.

The staff usually appear the most professional of the three chains, but also the least human. They clearly have a well thought out corporate structure, and you can tell that many of them feel part of the Starbucks family. But they also seem rather dead-eyed and soulless. Maybe that’s just the one in Crouch End.

Am I coming back here? Of course.

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