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Café News: The Decline and Fall of Starbucks?

Updated on September 22, 2009

Starbucks has been the leader of quick coffee with over 15,000 branches around the world. Becoming the dominating force in coffee culture in most parts of the developed world, Starbucks, with just the flash of its green and black logo, can often elicit a sigh of relief or an eyeroll of tedium. What does Starbucks do for you?

Starbucks, a dominating world force in coffeehouse culture
Starbucks, a dominating world force in coffeehouse culture

In many parts of Europe, Middle East and Asia, there are traditional café cultures that entail their own popular styles of teas and coffees. Starbucks was one of the first in the United States to proliferate a widespread coffee culture. Starbucks create an atmosphere were you could quietly lounge, chat or simply sip your hot drink. Starbucks was all about offering great roasted, freshly brewed, delicious coffee in your own neighborhood.

In the 1990s, Starbucks catapulted from being a local coffeehouse in Seattle to a global leader in brand-nane coffees. And now, if you're an avid Starbucks drinker, you might feel some relief when you see a Starbucks since no other place offers the mixed, whipped, frothed, and caramelized drinks that are offered at Starbucks. If you're not an avid Starbucks drinker, seeing a Starbucks on every corner of every city you visit might get a little tedious.

Well, it turns many corporations are hot on the trail. They know that people love those crazy, creative Starbucks coffee drinks, and they also know that many are experiencing a Starbucks-overdose.

Beyond Starbucks, there's a diverse world of tea and coffee cultures. Morocco has strong traditions in tea culture.
Beyond Starbucks, there's a diverse world of tea and coffee cultures. Morocco has strong traditions in tea culture.
McDonald's joins Starbucks in the race to become a global coffee leader
McDonald's joins Starbucks in the race to become a global coffee leader

In response to these sentiments, McDonald's and Starbucks have changed their course of action. On one hand, McDonald's has just launched their own coffee blitz: McCafes, offering creamy, sugared, blended crazy coffee concoctions that rival the drinks of Starbucks, can now be found in every McDonald's. On the other hand, Starbucks, fully aware of the growing tedium in response to their brand, decided to de-brand: Starbucks shops will slowly stop being Starbucks and, instead, will become your local, brandless coffeehouse.

Inside Starbucks' newest 15th Ave Tea and Coffee
Inside Starbucks' newest 15th Ave Tea and Coffee
Drip coffee filters
Drip coffee filters
Keurig one-cup brewers, the latest in coffee machine technology
Keurig one-cup brewers, the latest in coffee machine technology

Starbucks always tried to attest that even through massively global corporate expansion that the Starbucks café culture should feel down-home, personal and comfortable. In reinforcing demanding, particular personalities ("I'd like a skimmed, whipped, Soy latte at luke-warm temperature.") and in drawing crowds by the hundreds, their original mantra didn't quite ring true. So how do they not combat this?

In Washington D.C., Starbucks launched 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea, a café that offers the great coffee, great service, and great Starbucks professionalism minus all the … well Starbucks.

What's your response to Starbucks? Happy relief or annoyed eyeroll? What do you feel about all these changes going on with the corporate coffee offerings: McDonald's following the Starbucks trend and Starbucks leaving its own trend? Do you like cafes? Do you think corporate cafes are soon to be extinct? If you don't frequent cafes, do you turn to home coffee brewers like drip coffee machines from Krups or the new efficient one-cup brewers like Keurig brewers?

Your Opinions on Starbucks

Do you think Starbucks is in a decline?

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Do you go out or stay at home for coffee?

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    • PDXBuys profile image


      5 years ago from Oregon

      I think they still provide a respectable product and excellent customer service. Some locations are better than others, but it's the place to go for consistent service and a pleasant ambience.


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