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04 January 2010 @ 07:26 am
Coffee  
To my uncultured palate the coffee at AM/PM is just as good as the coffee at Starbucks. A little better in fact since they conveniently have a separate and clearly labeled carafe for the dark roast stuff so it can be easily avoided. Since the Starbucks at the corner closed down a couple months ago and the AM/PM at the corner just opened up, that is a very good thing :)
 
 
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Chaos Never Blinkssithjawa on January 4th, 2010 05:33 pm (UTC)
It may not be you. Starbucks doesn't necessarily serve good coffee, depending on your definition of good coffee. Specifically, they have a tendency to over-roast their coffee. Since you say you want to avoid the dark roast, I'm guessing that's a big factor for you. What good is it if they have better beans, if they ruin them by over-roasting?
Sister Atom Bomb of Courteous Debate: caffeineakiko on January 4th, 2010 06:27 pm (UTC)
Beat me to it XD
DonAithnendonaithnen on January 4th, 2010 08:32 pm (UTC)
I have actually heard an unsubstantiated rumor that the reason they roast the coffee so dark is so that you won't notice the mixed quality of the beans. A less nefarious possibility would be that they don't bother getting the best quality beans since they're going to over-roast them anyways.
Chaos Never Blinkssithjawa on January 4th, 2010 08:49 pm (UTC)
I'm given to understand that a very dark roast is Starbucks' signature flavor profile. At this point, I would guess that if they didn't over-roast, people would complain that the coffee "didn't taste like Starbucks" any more.

There's one simple explanation for the over-roasting and the mixed quality of beans: Starbucks goes through a *lot* of beans in a year, and it's difficult for a coffee supplier to maintain a single flavor profile across multiple years due to yearly variations in the coffee harvest (coffee *is* a crop, after all). By not insisting on top quality beans, and by roasting them to a point at which origin characters are unrecognizable, they are able to produce a large volume of coffee that is reasonably consistent in flavor. That consistency seems to be something people expect out of large chains (whether it's food or coffee). It's not highly relevant that the result isn't top quality - if their customer base is willing to accept the result one year, they'll probably accept it the next year as long as it doesn't change too much.
Sister Atom Bomb of Courteous Debate: caffeineakiko on January 5th, 2010 12:20 am (UTC)
Blech. This reminds me why I stick to a locally-owned coffee shop that roasts its beans in town. Starbucks' popularity confuses me.
Chaos Never Blinkssithjawa on January 5th, 2010 01:16 am (UTC)
*shrug* dark roast is some people's thing, I guess. It's not my favorite. I'll tolerate Starbucks, but I prefer home-roasted since we're low on local roasters.
Sister Atom Bomb of Courteous Debateakiko on January 5th, 2010 12:38 pm (UTC)
The benefit of small coffee shops is that they *don't* have the expectation of the same flavor every time among their customers, so they can roast the beans to make the best flavor, as opposed to "burn these things so no one will notice the difference."

I like a dark roast on occasion, especially for a Sumatra mandheling. But some beans really need lighter roasting.
Chaos Never Blinkssithjawa on January 5th, 2010 04:57 pm (UTC)
Definitely so... I think that's probably part of the benefit of non-chain (or small-chain) food in general.

I haven't had Sumatra mandheling in a while... I seem to recall liking it around full city, and it's definitely a good coffee when it's what you're looking for. But my boss and I are both fans of those African coffees that prefer light roasts.

Darn it, now I crave coffee, and I can't have any until I get to work! :)