Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Fast Food Coffee? Obviously.

I'm disgusted. I'll bet I walk past at least 1,000 college students carrying their beloved mermaid laden, pearly white cup adorned with a complementary drink sleeve every day. No, I'm not ranting because I'm envious or have some kind of underlying hatred for big-business. This frustration I feel is coming from a source much more disturbing; a revelation of deception.

Like many people, I go about my everyday naive of so many things. One of those things for many out there may be that there are technically only 46 states in our union due to the fact that 4 are "commonwealths". A fact that was unbeknown to me was that Starbucks owns everything.  Their fingers are everywhere and it freaks me out.

I read today that Burger King, the #2 fast food chain in America, is going to start serving Seattle's Best coffees to help bolster their slumping breakfast sales.  At first I thought it interesting. My mind then swung to my bane, Starbucks. (Again, I must stress that I do not abhor this organization simply due to their success, but more because of their explicit exploitative abuse of specialty coffee. Believe me, I'm being very polite using these words rather than others.) I began thinking of how I loath Starbucks, but in view of Seattle's Best, they seemed to be at least a step behind in the coffee prostitution industry. I was shown to be ignorant of the facts just a few sentences later in the article: Seattle's Best is but a mere subsidiary of Starbucks Corporation. Yet again, more fuel is provided for my fiery hatred toward those who smear specialty coffee.

What a little more investigation produced was what became frightening for me. A simple Wikipedia search on Seattle's Best brought up all sorts of news. The article explains my fright pretty thoroughly:

"The Borders bookstore chain signed a contract with Seattle's Best Coffee in 2004 to convert Borders' in-store cafes to Seattle's Best cafes. As of 2006, approximately two-thirds of Borders' domestic superstores have completed the Seattle's Best conversion. Seattle's Best parent company Starbucks Corporation has contracted with Borders' competitor Barnes & Noble to sell its products in Barnes and Noble's Cafes. Starbucks also owns and operates locations within Chapters and Indigo Books and Music bookstores in Canada."

So, our two primary bookstore chain options are overwhelmed by our SINGLE most dominating coffee source. Unfortunately for those poor souls looking for what is really, truly, SPECIAL specialty coffee, you'll have to wait to get your fix until after you leave B&N or Borders. So, what does this really say? What is this post really about? I think it's about the prevalence of bad coffee pushed off onto us as good coffee. Crud coffee is rejected by some in one package, so the pushers simply repackage it and sell it to them in a different way. Always look closer.

Another sickening example even less obvious than the previous one is Starbucks' 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea experiment:
"Andrew Hetzel, the founder of coffee consulting group Cafemakers, said Starbucks may also be renaming its stores to provide a testing ground for changes and, possibly, to bring in a new brand of consumer.
“It looks to me that they are testing a specialty sub-brand to see if they can capture some other segment of the market that would otherwise be disillusioned by a large corporate chain,”
Listen, all this is probably obvious to a lot of people out there. Honestly, I knew of quite a bit of this myself beforehand, but for those of you who didn't, look up while you're walking. Check to make sure where you're getting your usual is really a place you want to patronize. I'm not trying to scare people off of Starbucks, Seattle's Best, McDonald's or even Folgers, believe it or not. They make a product, but it just happens to be something VERY much different than specialty coffee.

Lord, thank you for revelation. Your revelation is clear and available and I thank You for that. I pray I take advantage of its clarity. Keep my head deflated and on straight. Here we go.


  1. The ranting is something more people should do, it is amazing how many so called coffee lovers cannot get past their own sacred cows. They should be more passionate about pursuing Specialty Coffee as coffee not be comfortable with brands dictating their tastes

  2. I once got busy in a Burger King bathroom.