2005-10-27 : The great coffee of awesome destruction
Oh dear, oh dear. Trouble is brewing in London. At least, it is in the bit that I frequent.
The trouble is in the form of the winter menu at the great temple of all-consuming globalisation, Starbucks.
Typically I eschew Starbucks and all they stand for. Their coffee is overpriced and nothing particularly special. Their food is largely highly processed white flour & sugar. They advertise their fairtrade coffee products fairly prominently in-store yet only about 1% of the coffee they use is fairtrade certified. Their omnipresence and homogeneous product & branding creates a feeling of familiarity which people are drawn to rather than trying independent coffee shops – much like the McDonalds Effect, where people already know the food's going to be awful, but at least it's consistently and uniformly awful and they know what they're getting. They've taken the word “barista” and applied it to all of their employees, so that it doesn't so much mean “one who is trained and skilled in preparing and serving espresso”, as “the person who stands behind the counter”.
However they've unleashed the weapon against which I have no defence – the eggnog latte.
For some reason I've always liked eggnog, ever since my first sip on a Dairy Vale Eggnog when I was about 5 years old. It doesn't particularly taste of eggs; in fact I can't stand eggs (although I love omlettes – what the hell's that all about ?!).
It's got a disturbingly viscous texture – I'm not entirely what the nutritional content of the stuff is, but I'm sure it's not much better for you than sipping a bag of warm liposuction fat through a straw. It's also fairly sugary. Disturbingly so. To be honest, I've no idea why I like it.
But I do. Aaaargh. It's calling me now.