Starbucks is supposed to be cool. It has a feel-good factor to it. They treat their employees well. They offer free Wi-Fi. We have our school PTA sub-committee meetings there. So, what can possibly be bad about visiting Starbucks more often?
This past year, I started noticing a lot of my older daughter’s friends visiting Starbucks regularly and drinking the popular blended Frappuccino drinks. This was a cool and hip thing to do, after school, apparently, and some kids would buy this drink almost daily. Obviously, my daughter was tempted too.
When I looked up the nutritional profile of these drinks, I was in for a rude awakening. Which leads me to point #1:
1.Too much sugar:
Take this drink – Cafe Vanilla Frappuccino blended coffee – a Grande (medium) drink has 430 calories, worse 71g of sugar!!! This information is straight off their website. Go check it out.
Do you know how bad 71g of sugar is?? That is almost 18 tsp of sugar in 1 drink, i.e, slightly more than 1/3 cup of sugar in 1 drink!! Ever think of giving your child 1/3 cup of sugar and saying – “Go ahead, dear, eat this!!??”
The regular lattes and cappuccino’s in Starbucks don’t have this problem. But all the blended drinks, with their fancy names, pretty cups with pretty whipped creams are what the young ones are fascinated towards. The off-the-charts sugar levels for these drinks are unacceptable!!
2. High Price, Large size
You pay, say about, $5 – for a drink + taxes per person per visit. That adds up to quite a bit of money over the long-term. In return, they offer you large drinks….Remember the time when coffee was just a pick me up? …and now it has become a breakfast substitute.
Railway station Indian coffee (tiny cups), from my last summer visit was Rs 20 (roughly 33 cents). They add quite a bit of sugar too (not defending that), but the size is much, much smaller and in relation to the price and our stomachs.
Now, normal people don’t spend $5, take a few sips and throw out the rest. They drink all/most of it. But, now you have replaced your breakfast (protein, whole grains etc) with just 1 nutritional source on a daily basis- milk.
It is not just Starbucks…even the cups sold nowadays are so big. Whenever my mom visits me, I am reminded of how much we have accepted the size differences over time. She is stunned, even scared :)!! that I might give her coffee in the large cups and often reminding me to use small cups.
3. Mediocre coffee
I am not a coffee snob. I cannot detect notes and subtleties when I drink a coffee. But, apparently, this true coffee expert rates Starbucks coffee pretty poorly.
Why? According to this article, they suggest that Starbucks over-roast their coffee, in order to create a uniform taste and removing any differences between seasonal/regional variations in beans.
I have read about this identical quandary of quality vs scalability in Hershey’s chocolate process as well. The way they have kept prices down is by buying the lower tier cocoa beans and roasting the bejusus out of them.
If you are a coffee connoisseur, plenty of options in US, India or wherever you are. Here’s a shout out to high quality coffee sold at MTR, Banglore.
Ok, my goal is not to scare you off Starbucks and its products. I love the fact that they pay their employees well. They provide healthcare, education assistance and all the good stuff to their baristas. But, there is room for more.
In my mind, Starbucks is an example of a great design + mediocre product. Clean coffee shops with wifi and great logos are not the only thing that matters.
In comparison, Apple (especially in the era of Jobs) had great design + great product combination. Chipotle Mexican Grill is yet another example of good design + great product. It is doable to aspire for more.
McDonalds has come a long way from fried food to offering oatmeal breakfasts and salad lunches. So, why can’t Starbucks do better? Offer drinks with less sugar, smaller drink sizes, etc. I look forward to the day when they attract youngsters of the next generation with great products, and not just sugary beverages.
Image creditsImage by Tim Gouw from Pixabay Image by engin akyurt from Pixabay Image by Van Huy Bui from Pixabay