For The Love of Coffee
I will admit it, I (formerly) was a Starbucks Gold Card member. I had the app on my iPhone and it made getting my caffeine fix easy… and there is a Starbucks on every corner. Almost every where you go in the city, you see people holding Starbucks in their hands.
Starbucks has become a status symbol; brand loyalty exists because they have become the face of coffee. The kleenex of coffee, if you will.
Previously, I thought their lattes were better than Dunkin Donuts because the Starbucks espresso seemed to taste stronger. Mistakenly, I considered both Dunkin and McDonalds lattes to be more artificial, as Starbucks has successfully created an “experience” over just getting a coffee. Starbucks would probably argue their beans are better, but their coffee drinks do not actually contain higher quality ingredients than the former two, but they do charge more.
I walked away from Starbucks about a year ago and I don’t miss it. It wasn’t until I started reading labels and being a more informed consumer, that it dawned on me that I had been buying Organic Milk for years, but every time I sipped my Vanilla Latte, I was drinking hormones and antibiotics, as Starbucks doesn’t offer Organic milk. Not to mention their vanilla syrup contains chemical preservatives. And I thought about that, why was I paying almost $5 for a non-organic latte with artificial flavor? No thank you.
I asked several Starbuck employees if they use white or brown filters? I asked that question at three different Starbucks locations on whether or not they used bleached (white) filters or the non-bleached (brown) ones. All of them said white, and all of the employees seemed surprised that I asked. Upon inquiring why Starbucks strains my $5 coffee through bleach, one employee assumed the whites ones were most likely cheaper.
They don’t filter their water either.
Ironically, one of the most common excuses for people not buying organic fruit and food is “because it is more expensive”, yet mention that they are paying more for coffee that isn’t organic, i.e- has had synthetic pesticides sprayed on the crops, contains non-organic milk and strained through bleached filters with non-filtered water, and most will look at you perplexed. Perhaps defensive, as if you just insulted a friend.
I don’t think Starbucks are closing their doors any day soon, but maybe if enough people insist, they will offer Organic milk and Organic non-dairy (not soy) milk alternatives, without major up-charges.
So, how do I get my daily caffeine fix? Most days, I now make it at home, with my French Press… made with filtered water (from my Zero Water pitcher) and an Organic , Fair-traded Ethiopian blend, which is actually LESS than the Starbucks beans I used to buy. Some days, I pour in organic coconut milk but the coffee is so good, I usually drink it black.
I have found a few coffee shops who brew Organic coffees. Rick Bayless’ restaurant at O’hare, Tortas Frontera serves up farm fresh eggs and organic Intelligentsia coffee.
Once you begin to walk past Starbucks, you actually realize there are plenty of other options, better options out there.
Support local businesses, support local and organic farming.
And if like a messy break-up, you can’t seem to stay away- at least demand that Starbucks treats you better.