Discerning Drinking, Chapter Twenty-six.

Originally posted 22nd April 2012

Every now and then a week at work will come along which will totally finish us off.  What transpires in those five days renders us so emotionally messed up that you leave on a Friday afternoon and almost weep on the pavement.  For me, last week was one of those.  I literally jumped for joy when I walked out onto the streets of Mayfair.

Nothing particularly bad happened last week, it’s just that there was a huge amount going on.  But regardless, when any such week pounces upon us – in my case it was coupled with the depressing, drought-busting weather London has suffered of late – who we gonna call?

Starbucks.

I have been writing about food and drink on TFT for literally four months now and Starbucks has not even featured at all.  Surprising really, as the green mermaid forms a large part of my (unhealthy?) daily routine.

Debating the merits of various coffee companies is akin to the classic “Coke or Pepsi” / “PC or Mac” arguments that get banded around pathetically often.  What I don’t really understand is that whereas I will happily crawl through glass and various other unpleasant substances to get my – wait for it – Starbucks 4-shot latte, I do prefer the taste of other coffee brands.  One example is the frankly epic Monmouth Coffee House in the London Bridge Quarter.  Go there, queue, enjoy.

I guess I am easily led.  I read a lot into lifestyle more than tangible excellence or overall quality.  I.e. I would take an Alfa Romeo over an Audi any day of the week.

For me, Starbucks ticks all the right boxes; the stores feel just right, my local Bond Street branch knows my name, as well as what I order and the whole wonderful company is headquartered in Seattle.  Never been there, but the city looks good on TV, doesn’t it?

So, I am in love with Starbucks.  It’s a pretty expensive relationship but imagine my joy when it was announced that a branch was to open in my hotel.  I managed to stop short of bouncing off the walls and high-fiving the Food and Beverage Director.

So the other day I was treated to an in-house Starbucks.  Call it a ‘product test’; we need to make sure we are offering the best to our guests after all!  So, after my 8am Bond Street Starbucks, and alongside my 11am regular instant coffee (in a filthy Starbucks mug, natch), I found myself drinking a tall Caramel Machiato.

Diabetically sweet coffees are not really my bag, but my god Starbucks tastes so much better when they are free.

I may have been worrying about the sugar overload, however I had more pressing problems.  It was 11.30am and I was wired to the hilt.

Obviously, I came crashing down after training at 5pm, and left work for the week in a coffee-led emotional sinkhole the likes of which would make the overacting cast of Casualty look like snooker players.  I spent the rest of the evening drinking pint after pint of water.

Bloody Starbucks.  But as I said last week, “Love kills”.

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