The afternoon doldrums brought me to Starbucks. I like Starbucks; I like the fancy drinks (although the prices pain me). I often think that I’d prefer to support the neighborhood coffee shops, but Starbucks put a lot of them out of business. The only one left within a convenient distance to my current home just isn’t that good.
I particularly enjoy Starbucks’ specialty drinks. Their regular coffee is simply too bitter for me. Every once in awhile I give it another try, I ask them to leave me a lot of extra room for milk or cream, but I still end up dumping half of the coffee in the trash so that I can mask the bitterness with milk/cream and sugar. Palates differ greatly, though – my husband can drink (and enjoy) their coffee black.
On this visit to Starbucks I was hoping for a new seasonal coffee drink; I love the seasonal concoctions – Pumpkin Lattes, Eggnog Lattes, and possibly my all-time favorite, the Leprechaun Lattes. When I want less caffeine and more comfort, I love the new Signature Hot Chocolates. In the summer, I drink light Frappucinos. So, I was surprised to walk into Starbucks after several weeks of Starbucks withdrawal to find that not only were there no new specialty coffee drinks but that the coffee menu had been taken over by (gasp!) teas.
Don’t get me wrong – I like tea. But it’s generally not why I go to Starbucks. I do occasionally order a chai tea latte, but like their coffee, it tastes as if it was overbrewed and the strong black tea flavor overwhelms the spices that make chai special. The new menu at Starbucks features several Tazo tea latte drinks and tea infusions. I will probably try one of these at some point, but I’m hugely disappointed to see tea taking over the menu.
Several hours after my Starbucks excursion I discovered that Starbucks is facing financial troubles and may be closing as many as 300 more locations (they closed several in 2008 already). Which leads me to think…perhaps Starbucks should stick to what they do best?