June 2018
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Coffee Competition: Starbucks

The first contestant is Starbucks (corner of New Montgomery and Jessie). I’ve been here before, and generally like this place. There is always music, a good crowd, and usually easy to find seating.

Today, I came in at around noon, which probably wasn’t the best time, since all of the students at the Academy of Arts are out for lunch or waiting for the bus, but nonetheless I’m here. There was about 2 people in line ahead of me, and the people sitting down seem to be in a good mood, either working on their laptops, talking, reading, doing schoolwork, or on their phone.

I ordered my drink, a large coffee. The barista didn’t ask i I wanted room for milk as other places have done in the past, which I think is a nice touch. In any case, I received my coffee.

With Chuck Berry overhead, I made my move over to the fixin’s station for some sugar. There are 2 stations, all stocked up with everything I need, and despite the minimal space to operate, I prepared my coffee.

Seating at this time was tough to come by, so I had to wait 3-4 minutes for a table outside. I didn’t mind about sitting outside, since I guess I am used to the cooler SF temps, and I still have internet access. Besides there is great people watching in this part of town. Side note: I was once having coffee hear, and saw a homeless man with a pirate hat sifting through the garbage can out front. He was making a mess, but it was still entertaining.

The coffee was consistenly Starbucks. It was a bit bitter, and also tasted a little greasy (I’m not sure how else to describe the finish), and left a burnt aftertaste.

Grades:

Coffee: B [Generally good, but the burnt aftertaste had me reaching for a mint.]

Service: B [More a function of the crowded register area, poor layout of the store, and the fact that I wasn't asked if I needed room for milk].

Atmosphere: B+ [I like the vibe of this location. Maybe its the artistic nature of the students or the fact that this demographic are more genuine and less "posh". People are smiling, and not reading the WSJ or Financial Times]

Price: $2.15

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