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September 05, 2005


D. Eppstein

I guess in Italy you can omit step one. The only bad coffee I had in Pisa was from the conference's catering.


Also, one of your links to "other coffee chains" is ill-chosen... Seattle's Best was bought by Starbucks, and their stores are slowly being converted over. They reached Boston last year -- if you ever find another SBC, you might as well think of it as "Site of a Future Starbucks."

Which is too bad, 'cause I totally loved their coffee.

Props on your algorithm, too.


And for that matter... what qualifies as "good coffee" in Somerville, MA? Do you remember what shop you found, while roaming from the Starbucks there? I assume this was in Davis Square?

Take it easy on Starbucks, man! At least you know what you're getting, and you don't have to rely on the crappy coffee that's otherwise typically available. (Try finding any drinkable coffee on I-95 between DC and Boston other than at Starbucks.)


"Take it easy on Starbucks, man! At least you know what you're getting..."

That's right. I know that I'm getting crap!

"Try finding any drinkable coffee on I-95 between DC and Boston"

Oh, come on. Baltimore? Wilmington? New Haven? Hell, I've found decent coffee in NEWARK, for Pasta's sake! Take 15 minutes out of your busy schedule, get off the damn freeway, and head for the center of town.

Most decent-sized towns have at least one espresso bar, although the Starbucks algorithm doesn't work as often. Even in the Midwest. (Driving between Champaign and Windsor ON for CCCG last month, I found good coffee in Michigan City, IN and Kankakee, IL. Both have Starbucks drive-thrus next to the freeway. Oh, and Ann Arbor, of course, right across the street from you know what.)


I give credit to Starbucks for introducing better-than-Folgers-coffee to the average American. Aside from that, their beans are so overroasted that it is hard to fathom why the do this.

-- not that weak acidic swill that passes for coffee in most of the US and northern Europe. That stuff gives me indigestion and the shakes.

The acid comes from the selection of bean (robusta) rather than the preparation. Good 100% arabica is not acid. The indigestion part is usually caused by unclean equipment. Most places only rinse the coffee pot rather than washing it with soap. This is enough to create an invisible-to-the-naked-eye layer of coffee residue which is known to cause indigestion and heartburn.

Rudbeckia Hirta

Ithaca has gone downhill since I left there (2003). Right before I left, it had just gotten Borders, Barnes & Noble, and Target. But it didn't yet have Walmart or Starbucks.

I don't know where the Starbucks in Ithaca is, but I'm hoping -- for your sake -- that it was close to Gimme Coffee!.


This phenomena is mentioned somewhat in this article: http://www.wweek.com/story.php?story=5137, which points out that Starbucks has effectively created a new market for specialty coffee, and that owners of local coffee shops welcome Starbucks moving in nearby, because it actually increases their own sales.

I don't understand the hatred for Starbucks (yes, I like their coffee but there are plenty of things I like but can understand why other people hate). If you don't like their coffee, don't go there. As for the argument that they force "independent" coffee houses to close, there may be incidents where this occurs but overall (see the link above) that does not seem to be happenning.

By the way, there is an advantage to "knowing what you're getting". Have time to go searching at 10 PM during a long drive for a coffee shop within spitting distance of I-95? Go for it. Have time to look for a good coffee bar near where you work? Have fun. But...looking for coffee in a strange town 15 minutes before going to an interview, or looking for an easy coffee fix while driving? I'll take Starbucks every time rather than risk something undrinkable...


I hope you'll share some of your findings on cafespot:

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