Korifaeus Magazine

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What about …..Starbucks ?

What Espresso ?
By Korifaeus

Do you like good coffee ? Me, too, the reason i’d never be found at places like Starbucks or the Belgium Le Pain Quotidien ; neither outlet of the two has actual ” Espresso” machines, rather these odd press-button machines, out of which non-foamy liquid flows they call espresso.

Le Pain Quotidien has a homey atmosphere with community tables and their menu is quite interesting, including soft-boiled eggs served in an egg-cup, which one rarely finds outside of central Europe or the Arabian countries. Their company made jams and spreads are delicious, but i personally am not a fan of corn-syrup, thus rather not indulge, aside from enjoying “good” coffee, cappuccino or espresso, which they do not offer.

There is an old Restaurateur proverb, of sorts, which top Restaurant critics often recite; ” The restrooms show what the kitchen looks like”.

When it comes to press-button-espresso machines, as seen at Starbucks, Le Pain Quotitien, etc., it basically says ” Quantity” as opposed to “quality”. If either of these franchises cared about serving quality coffee, they’d have real espresso machines.

Traveling through Europe a little while back, Germany, Hungary, U.K., the Netherlands, i was startled seeing so many button-coffee and button-espresso machines, even in cafes that used to be known for their excellent coffees ( Jacobs, Tschibo, Eduscho). Years prior, entering the cafes, one was welcomed by the delicious aroma of freshly roasted and brewed coffee throughout the cafe. That’s no longer the case – few cafes grind and brew fresh coffee throughout central Europe.

Though i must give Starbucks some credit; prior to Starbucks ( early 1990’s) one could hardly get any coffee, as in reasonable coffee in the United States, outside of Italian or German cafes. But other than that coffee in the U.S. looked much like Tee – it was awful.

Starbucks saw an opportunity, if only they would have had some pride and sell real “good” coffee. It is not surprising Starbucks had to close their business in Israel where folks know of good coffee.

Almost a decade ago i checked out Starbucks to see what exactly it is folks like about it, but their coffee was undrinkable to me, especially their press-button-espresso. Some folks sit there for hours and hours at a time, many i found out are Huffington post bloggers taking advantage of the free wi-fi, typing away on their computers while sipping on the “free” water available to them (?).

The tables are for the most part taken up by one person, each sitting at a table with their computer. Not sure what sort of business-model it adheres to to invite folks not consuming anything to take up all of their tables, blogging away with use of the free wi-fi, from morning ’till night, never to spent a dime at Starbucks; but hey, none of my business – i guess it could be tax-write-offs ?

But what about the coffee, which is not inexpensive ? It states 100% “Arabica” beans. If all the beans are indeed Arabica beans, then they must sell it for top dollar, ‘cuz Arabica beans are the finest, most aromatic and expensive beans available.

Thus i bought me a bag of Starbucks coffee to take a peak inside, and….. ?
Arabica beans ? I suppose if there were indeed a couple of authentic Arabica beans inside the bag, they could legally state ” 100″ Arabia Beans; meaning the 3 or 4 Arabica beans one may find in the bag are real Arabica beans.

I occasionally roast my own coffee; ( roast, grind, brew) and buy 100% raw Arabica beans from Ethiopia. I also have some 50/50 ( Arabica/Robusto) mixed beans from Jacobs Krönung). Robusto beans are much bigger than Arabica beans, more than double the size, grown in the low lands, not very strong nor aromatic and rather inexpensive compared to Arabica beans.

Arabica beans are tiny, strong and very aromatic. Below is a photo of my very own Arabica beans next to the bigger and less aromatic Robusto beans. My Index finger points to the tiny Arabica bean compared to the much bigger Robusto bean.

Arabic Robusto

But regardless, many apparently like the taste of Starbucks coffee – everyone has a different taste. But for those who don’t like Starbucks either and have a difficult time finding a place where really good coffee is served, i can’t reveal my favorite coffee place in New York – it’s an insider secret and we ( the Coffee connoisseurs of N.Y.) want to keep it that way, fearing it would get too crowded were we to promote it. But…..

…whenever i’m at the airport in N.Y. i make sure to go right away to ” Juan Valdez” , which to me serves the best and most deliciously aromatic coffee. It’s the one coffee one rarely sees mentioned among the best liked coffees like Dunkin Donuts, etc. while yet it’s the best tasting and most aromatic one i’ve tasted thus far, …..outside of the coffee served at my favorite coffee place, which of course i can’t divulge. 😉

If you get to Time Square or find yourself at the Airport, try a Juan Valdez; if you enjoy a “good” coffee. 🙂


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