Monica Bielanko
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Star's Bucks

A vast conspiracy is brewing. It's being carried out right beneath our noses and it smells like Columbian Roasted Mocha.

Starbucks is sponsoring celebrities.. I'm sure of it! I'm guessing each photo in Us Weekly nets a celeb a good year or so of free bean. A photo in People earns celebrity caffeine seekers a year of free java PLUS a free biscotti per visit, unless said celeb happens to be Nicole Ritchie and then Starbucks just agrees to keep quiet when they hear her retching in their restroom facilities.

I saw Tony Danza again at Starbucks today. Last week it was Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban. Before that it was Liam Neeson. God in heaven, they're all in on it!

At the time of my Danza sighting, the line was backed up out the door and the mom & pop joint selling java for a dollar next door was emptier than Paris Hilton's head. Dozens of jittery folks fidgeted and fretted in the endless Starbucks line, most likely from withdrawal.

Can Starbucks brew really be THAT much better? Perhaps they're slipping powder in their "Special Blend"? Like GHB except it makes you want coffee in place of sex? Instead of the date rape drug it's the dollar rape drink?

I tell you, I'm onto something here... They don't call it Star Bucks for nothing.

Reader Comments (29)

Starbucks sucks. Full stop.

Here in the UK they make a big point of offering a fair trade coffee bean option. WTF? Fair trade? When these MF's spend their dollars putting small businesses out of business. And cutting the profit levels of all of their suppliers?


January 21, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterPaul
I second that. Boycott Starbucks! Isn't it sad that we all still succumb to that kind of peer pressure? The stuff isn't even worth the four bucks a pop.
January 21, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMerteuil
Don't hate me but I totally love their specialty flavored lattes and waste about 20 bucks a week. I should call them twentybucks.
January 21, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterGemma
Have spent the past three hours catching up on your site and I've come to just one conclusion, love. You simply must return to your polygamist roots and marry me. I'll share you with The Surge. You are beautiful, witty, charming, beautiful and hilarious and beautiful.
January 21, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSpike
Did I mention beautiful?
January 21, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSpike
I NEVER go to Starbucks. It's ridiculous. Coffee is just as good in your local bodega.

I agree Paul! BOYCOTT Star'sBucks
January 21, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAimee
I love Starbucks! I'm addicted though because I have a discount for it and how can you not get 50% off Starbucks multiple times a week!?
January 21, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterScarlet
A 50% discount? How did you manage that? I'd drink there three times a day if I had that!
January 21, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterGemma
Give me my 7-11 refill for 63cents with a little half n half and their little chocolate flavorings and hell, its as good as all that other crap!
January 22, 2006 | Unregistered Commentermama
I don't think we have Starbucks here in Sweden, but even if we did, I don't know if they would survive.... Well, if McDonalds and Burgur King can - why shouldn't Starbucks? If I ever drink coffe, I buy myself one cup of latte. Anyway, Starbucks - not a healthy choice. Maybe Morgan Spurlock (the super size me guy) should do another documentary, about Starbucks?
January 22, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSuyin
OK, I'll confess that Starbucks intimidates me. I don't know the difference between a latte, cappucino and espresso, and feel too stupid to just ask the youngster behind the counter to explain it to me. Everyone seems to know just what they want and just what it is, and are in a big hurry to get it. I think I might like one over the other if only I knew the difference. Can someone please tell me -- does a latte have more caffeine than regular coffee? And what about this skim/soy business? Is this stuff really so highly caloric that you have to ask for the skim version or you'll clog arteries within a month or is it just a marketing tool so users will feel better about spending $3 in order to get a "healthful" cup of coffee? The menu confuses me, and I feel darn silly I can't just say small, medium or large. It's just all so fancy, but I'm willing to learn and acquiese (sp) because the Starbucks inside my local grocery store looks appealing when the thought of another weekly $150 shopping durge makes me long for a huge shot of

January 22, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterjls
Not only is Starbucks coffee godawful, it's severely overpriced. They have conditioned people that it's "cool" to overpay for crappy products because everyone else is doing it. Meanwhile their corporate policies are driving hundreds of small businesses out of commission.

In addition, they are watering down and bastardizing part of my cultural heritage with inferior products. Coffee breaks are a central part of European culture--gathering around the cafe and spending a leisurely hour sharing a snack and a latte is as much a part of life in France, Italy, Spain, etc. as is the air they breathe. Starbucks, like Olive Garden, has taken pseudo culture and made it trendy. Coffee on the go in Europe is a contradiction in terms because they know how to slow down and enjoy life. Just one more things we greedy, shallow Americans have ruined.

Starbucks is the coffee version of Walmart, the java version of Blockbuster, the liquid version of Subway. If these "stars" drink there, they are just falling prey to the same "me-tooism" as the rest of the sheep who live in America. We get what we deserve.
January 22, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSheila
I'm not a fan of Starbucks either. It's far too "cool" for me.

I don't think it's quite fair to call American's greedy and shallow because we don't do things like the Europeans. We aren't Europeans. We are American's. And that's OK.
January 22, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterToryssa
Have you notice that celebrities hold their coffee, latte, frappuccino or whatever it is like it was some kind of an accessory?

By the way, I really like your blog and your stories!

PS:Here in Italy we don't have Starbucks but I tried their latte once I was in London, it's not that bad actually...
January 22, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMaria Sole
There's something seriously wrong with American food (and beverage). Does anyone cook, at all? Everything has to go so fast these days. Fast food is nothing for me - well it used to, but not now. I realized I wanted to ENJOY the meal, and not stop by a drive in and order some greasy meal loaded with way too much fat, salt and sugar. people only seem to cook during those big holidays. What happened to those days when you could enjoy a home cooked meal, everyday?
January 22, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSuyin
Ahhh not so...Many American's still cook their foods. Sure we have help from something pre-made for convienence, but some American families still cook from scratch.

Fast food for my family is a luxury. We don't eat out much.

I try to cook from scratch a few times a week, but sometimes can get expensive than just opening a box of something and heating up.

As for Starbucks, I am not a fan of the place. I don't like their coffee much at all.

I prefer locally owned coffeehouses myself. One day I hope to have my own coffeehouse somewhere.

January 22, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterFiabug
I agree with you Suyin. I think American eating habits are disgusting. Why do you think we're all so fat and bloated? It doesn't take that long to steam some veggies and grill a chicken.
January 22, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAimee
I really think that Starbuck's coffee is pretty nasty and rarely drink it. However, on the rare occasion when I do order one (hey, they're even in my supermarket--sometimes I can't resist) I refuse to use their pretentious terminology. I always ask for a ‘small’ or ‘medium’ coffee just to piss them off. It's my own little rebellion.
January 22, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterchrissy
Okay. This conversation totally interested me because I am always overwelmed when ordering at Starbucks. So I googled all the different kinds of drinks (admitted google junkie) here is what I found:

Espresso is nothing more than coffee that is brewed a certain way. It is finely ground to almost a powdery consistency then almost boiling hot water is forced through the grounds under intense pressure.

A straight shot of espresso is not as popular in the U.S. as in Europe. In fact, it is Italy’s most commonly consumed coffee drink.

An Americano is a really good way to enjoy a regular strength cup of coffee. Simply extract a shot of espresso and fill the rest of the 6 to 8 ounce cup with hot water. This makes a smooth cup of coffee similar to drip brewed.

Macchiato means “marked” in Italian. Therefore this drink is a shot of espresso marked with a small amount of foamed milk dabbed on top with a spoon and served in a demitasse.

By far the most difficult coffee drink to prepare properly, there are misconceptions about the cappuccino in the United States.

Most Americans think of a cappuccino as espresso with dry, tasteless foam spooned on top. When prepared properly, a cappuccino is made with velvety, wet foam that mixes with the pour instead of a large bubbled meringue floating on top of the espresso.

The secret is discussed on my frothing milk page. But simply stated, the cappuccino is a shot of espresso with steamed milk poured in without holding back the foam (like in a latte).

The Caffe Latte:
The latte is the coffee drink preferred by most Americans and is easy to prepare.

Start with a single shot of espresso for a 6 to 8 ounce drink. Pour in steamed milk, but hold back the foam with your spoon until about 70% to 75% full. Then top it off with foam.

For a larger latte (12 to 16 ounces) use a double shot to maintain the coffee flavor.

And then you have flavored drinks where they had a syrup flavor and different variations on all of the above. Like, starbucks has a caramel macchiatto that I always ordered and never knew what it really is. So that would be espresso with foam and caramel flavoring.

You should see all the weird websites on this. People get into bean brewing just like people who make wine. Just a plain cup of coffee is a huge deal because of where the bean comes from, just like grapes with wine. So there ya go!
January 22, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSunny
So you think American culture is "cool"? What's cool about running yourself ragged, sucking down endless caffeinated beverages to keep going, running from place to place, working 60 hours a week so you can own a pair of Ugg boots and a flat screen TV? Do you know anyone who's really happy living that life?

Americans' "work ethic" is getting us nowhere--we will soon be a second rate power due to the exportation of both jobs and capital, and to the massive public and private debt we have incurred. So how is it helping me to work more? No one ever went to their deathbed wishing that they had shown up for more days at work...

Americans basically can't think for themselves and buy into any lazy-ass thinking/trend that is popularized on television. If it wasn't Starbucks it would be something else.
January 22, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterTravis
Amen my brother.. We need two and three hour lunches similar to those in many European countries... Food, conversation, friends... Now THAT'S livin'..

The Surge was telling me - some country - I think it was France? maybe it's those socialist Canadians.. Anyway.. the government requires folks to take six week vacations or something like that. And their work productivity is much higher than Americans who, for all their hurrying to and from work, spend six out of eight work hours surfing Myspace anyway.
January 22, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMonica
I think many of us Americans are rejecting that culture of the rat race, while retaining some of the positive things about American culture. The slow food movement is one cool way, the small house movement is another. Personally, I left a rat race career and lead a simpler life now with a more community orientated job...less money, sure, but more life. My husband has always picked companies to work at whose core values he believes in. It can be done, but it requires sacrificing your lifestyle, maybe, or your image of yourself.

On topic, I confess I go to Starbucks, even though I'm generally all about the local joints. One reason - I love the Peppermint Mocha Christmas drink! Another reason - I don't like my local coffeehouse. It's not very welcoming. The chairs are small wrought iron ice cream chairs - no room to relax, no comfy couches. The staff is very nice, and they show local art, but it's just not very homey. So I tend to get a coffee and go there, whereas at Starbucks i could take my daughter and have her sit for a while and we could hang out.

Fiabug, when you open your coffeehouse, remember comfy couches and chairs!!!
January 22, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterEDW
Well said, EDW. While I understand the point being made by Travis, Sheila & others, I cringe at the blanket negative description of Americans. My husband & I have also made a decision to live a simpler life, so that we may work less and spend more time raising our children. I know a ton of families who have made the same sacrifices.
January 22, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterchrissy
it's worse than mcdonald's and burger king. starbucks is taking over the whole d*mn world. i went to seoul, south korea last year and there seemed to be a starbucks at least every 3 blocks, i swear.
January 23, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterjoey kim
I think Travis to be a very enlightened dude.

How many people in those pictures looked FAT, oversatiated? And isn't this compensation for a lifestyle which is often quite unsatisfying?
January 23, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer Armstrong
When I move to LA, I am totally going to turn in to a papparazzi! I am going to hang out at all the Starbucks! Make me some money! LOL
January 23, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJen
I agree with EDW and Chrissy. I cringe at blanket descriptions of any large group of diverse people. Of course people exist in droves that personify the negative American stereotype, but it's only a reflection of one aspect of American culture. There are also many of us who strive to avoid rampant wastefulness, and generally lead a more healthy, happy, and helpful lives. Good call out on the 'small house movement', EDW! I love Sarah Susanka's "not so big house" books.

I may go to Starbucks on occasion but it's never my first choice. They are way too overpriced, and the coffee always tastes burnt to me.
January 23, 2006 | Unregistered Commenteramanda b
Amanda great way to say it. I get a little defensive when people group American's as the same. We are not the same, we are different. But there are some that stay in a group or clique like Amanda said.

I try not to be like everyone else. Hey people already tell me I'm weird. I just respond back "I'm just weird because I'm not like you." :)
January 23, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterFiabug
Hellllllooo? Who cares about the coffee? We're talking about celebrity sightings! Seriously, I would pay 5 dollars or whatever for coffee for a chance to run into a big glassed Olsen twin. For real, 6 dollars for a brush with stardom!
January 25, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterZoe Strauss

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