November 8, 2010
I have to say that I can’t imagine life without coffee. The smell of freshly ground coffee drives me crazy. I’d sell my own mother, my country, and my cat for a cup of coffee (hypothetically speaking).
Before I’d moved to Canada, the best coffee I had ever tasted was in Turkey (surprise, surprise) and in France (obviously). I’d made my acquaintance during the first few days in Toronto, when I was feeling disoriented and out of touch with reality (a nine-hour flight, culture shock...). Caffe latte brought me back to life. In my vulnerable state, I had decided that I can totally live with a chain café like that.
From time to time, depending on the location and the professionalism of the barista, I found myself either loving my latte more, or feeling disappointed in it. Sometimes I thought that we need to add more milk into our relationship, sometimes the embrace of the coffee wasn’t strong enough, sometimes there wasn’t enough spice.
Eight years is not the shortest period for a relationship based on love and dependence.
All of a sudden I felt that I no longer love Starbucks coffee, and it’s only a sweetened and watered-down drink, which has nothing whatsoever to do with real coffee. It’s a total surrogacy of feelings.
I started researching anything related to Starbucks. I’ve read the book Taylor Clark Starbucked.The most horrifying moment for me was the chapter with the greedy shareholder who was asking “When are we going to open more Starbucks locations?” during a meeting. I had so many questions in regards to Starbucks’s politics, concerning the countries that produce their coffee.
I visited their website. I tried to figure out what I was wrong about.
Since I grew up in a communist society, I came to see anything big as being right, and myself as being wrong.
The simple truth consists in the fact that a portion of the money, which I make in Canada, does not stay in my community, and instead ends up in the hands of American shareholders. Having been hooked on Starbucks’s marketing strategy (a pleasant atmosphere, an easy access to caffeine), I voluntarily give up my money to a corporation that only wants to fill the world with an imitation of coffee; I do that instead of sponsoring small local cafés.
It seems that Starbucks isn’t having much trouble reaching its goal. I never thought I would find Starbucks in Paris.
Yes, you can comfortably sit down with your laptop at Starbucks, and spend countless hours with just one cup of coffee. Yes, Starbucks can be a point between work and home. This is all very well thought-out, by smart people. Smart people who are able to acquire large masses of clients.
Finally, I feel free. For the past year and a half, I’ve been busy experimenting. I haven’t yet found a replacement for Starbucks as a meeting place for friends, but I’m always trying something new. I also brew my own wonderful coffee at home.
If you have any suggestions about mom and dad coffee shops in Toronto, feel free to share them.