Friday, October 12, 2007


The new new Starbucks fails to meet expectations. That's saying something, because I don't really expect much from a Starbucks. The bar's relatively low. Critiques I have:

* Complete lack of obvious bicycle parking
* Signage only visible from 13th street, which is a one-way road going toward Main, not away from it.
* Tiny inside. There's ample outdoor seating, but winter is coming and this place stands to get crowded FAST.
* Inefficient use of the small space they have.

Anyhow, I'm done ranting. I'll probably take KCBike.Info's advice and write to whomever I need to in order to address the bicycle parking woes. This is downtown for crying out loud. There are lofts everywhere and a lot of bicycles in use downtown. A lot of those bicyclists fall squarely into their target demographic.

In short, I don't think I'm going back to that one.

I took the Outlook to the bus this morning. It seems that most weeks, I end up using all three of my bikes. I chose it over my Trek 1200 this morning because not only was the Trek hanging on the rack, but my backpack was already packed from yesterday and I didn't feel like loading the panniers. I'm thinking of riding all the way home, too. The Outlook's just a better machine for that kind of ride, compared to my fun, bouncy MTB.

The outlook has two wheels, some lights, and a water bottle. It's a nimble, comfortable bike with slick tires; Everything I need today, and nothing I don't.

Random Tunage:
Goo Goo Dolls - Better Days
Alanis Morissette - Crazy (Cover of Crazy by Seal)


Derwin said...

They gave us LARGE Cups at Starbucks today for not going...JR

Apertome said...

If your expectations are so low, why do you go to Starbucks daily?

I hear a lot of people talking smack about Starbucks, but the quality is pretty consistently good and it's no more expensive than the independent places. In fact, every time I try an independent place I find myself thinking it's inferior to Starbucks and wonder why I bothered.

Starbucks is dominant for a reason.

Noah said...

Hey JR. You definitely didn't miss anything spectacular, other than Lorin and I discussing our teenage adventures in having fun with explosives.


I have several coffee shop choices. I can classify them as follows:

Good but too far away: Mildred's. Coffee Girls. They serve good stuff - handcrafted creations made not by push-button machines, and orders of magnitude better that Starbucks. They don't make a good pre-work or cool-down venue because there's a 200 foot death slog awaiting me after each of them. River Market Cafe wouldn't be too bad but it's not much better than Starbucks and further away.

Inconsistent or consistently BAD: Scooter's, Country Club Cafe, Nine Muses in the Library. Some of these places serve burnt ass (much like the indie shops you speak of) and others might serve a good drink one day and a terrible one the next, depending on who's working the bar.

Constistant, tolerable and close: Starbucks. It's not BAD coffee. But I've been spoiled.

SOME of the indie shops around here really, really know what it takes to make a PERFECT hand-crafted beverage. They're the kind of people who take the time to meticulously clean the bean basket between brewing coffee. They take an artistic approach to mixing the espresso drinks instead of a rigid, scientific approach. They've experimented, and know the difference between a good Mocha and a truly mind-blowing Mocha -- and they know how to make one! They also use some of the freshest beans from local roasters. The coffee hasn't been rotting in a refrigerated semi trailer for 2 weeks. It's been stored in a vaccuum container for only days, in a cool, dry place.

When I worked at JCCC, the lead barista there was winning 2nd and 3rd place in regional competitions. She roasted her own coffee. She created her own signature roasts, and her own signature espresso concoctions.

So if you're ever in KC, I'll show you what you're missing between visits to Starbucks. And it won't cost you much more, if anything more at all. Any price drop you find at Starbucks is because they obviously have the ability to leverage purchasing volume.

Starbucks is not dominant for their quality. They're dominant for their consistency. I can go to Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Stillwater, or Denver and find coffee that's tolerable, rather than rolling the dice on the very real possibility of being served a cup of burnt ass by an un-trained nimrod barista.

Coffee Snobs, Represent.

Tim O said...

Speaking of lights, I was up in Minneapolis (LOTS of cycling going on there, almost makes me want to live there...) and I went to the Hiawatha Cyclery story to check out the Reelights that they import from Denmark. They have 2 magnets that go on the spokes for each wheel and a front/back light that attaches to the quick-release skewer. No batteries!!

Should have them shipped to me this weekend, I'll have to let you know how they work out!

Apertome said...

Those are all very good points. You're absolutely right, consistency is the main reason Starbucks is popular, and also the main reason I haven't branched out much. The branching out I tried to do had me drinking inferior coffee at the same or higher prices.

That said, I have to admit that a drink made with hand-drawn espresso by someone who knows what they're doing is much better than those automated machines Starbucks uses these days. But finding a place where everyone knows what they're doing is nearly impossible in my experience.

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