Kudos to Starbucks
I am admittedly a coffee snob as well as a coffee addict. Note that I write "coffee" versus "caffeine." For me it's all about the taste and the "event"--getting the coffee, sipping the coffee, smelling the coffee, lingering over coffee and tasting coffee. One of my very dear friends once commented that at restaurants, I am often so worried about my next re-fill that I can't enjoy the one I have. I've fixed that. I order my coffee in an extra large mug, or a huge take-out cup or request the pot.
Despite downing about 40+ oz of the good stuff each day, I don't experience any side effects or withdrawal symptoms when I go a few days without. When we lived in Chicago, Starbucks was my preferred coffee vendor. With locations every few blocks, it was very convenient. However, one day while shopping at Whole Foods, I decided to try Peet's Coffee, located next door.
It's like I had been drinking white zinfandel all these years and just discovered a good chardonnay. The aroma, spicy flavor, depth...it was love at first sip. But, Peet's was a good 5-10 minutes away--by car! Somehow, nearly every morning I found a reason to head over to that strip mall. Finally I confessed to my husband my new devotion. Since he hates the stuff, there was little empathy.
In San Diego we just "happen" to live within a 10 minute walk of one of the city's three Peet's locations. Coincidence? I think not. While Americanos are usually my favored beverage (espresso and water), at Peet's I always order a large "split" (half regular half decaf). Not only do I find Peet's regular drip superior to most shop's espresso, it's cheaper and at Peet's you only get 3 shots in the large, which miffs me because at the competitors you get four!
But then fate intervened on my Peet's love affair and I stumbled into a Diedrich's, which is located next to another favorite vendor, Trader Joe's. Not willing to risk a straight drip, I ordered my four shot Americano. The aroma, spicy flavor, depth...it was love at first sip...It was deja vu!
I am now torn between the extra friendly service and fabulous Americanos at Diedrich's and the entertaining vibe, more convenient location, and spicy, strong drip coffee at Peet's. They are both winners.
So where does Starbucks fit into all of this? Well, when coffee calls and my two favorites are MIA, I relapse to my SBUX habit--ONLY Americanos, though. About a week ago I made an athletic-minded discovery. Starbucks now stocks small packages of almonds as well as dried fruit and almonds--a perfect, healthy to go snack. The serving sizes are not enormous either, but just right. I was impressed. Finding a sensible snack in a coffee shop these days is a challenge. Most shops that once sold low-fat this and that gave up in favor of huge, calorie-laden muffins, cakes, and other tasty delicacies. 500+ calorie scone anyone?
I chatted up the barista enthusiastically and she informed me that the snack was a new arrival. So cheers to Starbucks. I am not sure if this power snack can be found in all locations, but let's hope so. Now, if they would just take my suggestion and sell bite size portions of the full-fat scrumptious desserts so that people like me can have a little taste without so much guilt, I'd be all set.