Branding

I started drinking coffee about 18 months ago; shortly after Evan was born.  Over the past few months I have come to discover that coffee is as much a social subculture as it is a beverage.  I thought this post from MobileYouth summed it up nicely:

When young professionals walk down the street holding a cup of coffee with the highly visible Starbucks branding they’re sending out a subtle signal that they can regularly afford the $4-$5 for a cup of coffee, need the fuel for their busy lives and therefore to some degree (in their own reckoning) must be significant. Their choice of coffee, the countless permutations and the manner of consumption are all about displaying significance to the wider peer group and the premises in which this takes place are itself the most tangible social network youth have.

I’m not sure what it says about me that I tend to avoid Starbucks and opt for my local Grounds for Celebration when I’m looking to overpay for a cup of coffee.  And also, speaking of local coffee, thanks to the lady at the Drake Diner who kept hooking me up with refills yesterday.  I’m confident that I ended up drinking about 40 oz of java with my breakfast…but since it was never empty, I’m counting it as “one cup of coffee”.

Where do you get your coffee?  What impacts your choice?

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8 Responses to Branding

  1. Kara says:

    Taste impacts my choice. There are A LOT of Dunkin Donuts around these parts, and that seems to be the place peopele get the coffee just out of convenience, however, I have never purchased a cup of regular coffee there that didn’t taste like it had been sitting in a pot BURNING for hours. Any cup of coffee purchased there is simply a waste of many b/c you usually have to dump it out.

    If you buy a cup o joe (just regular coffee not an iced non fat no foam sugar free pumpkin spiced latte) at Starbucks it’s about the same price as D&D and it TASTES so much better. AND as much crap as they get for being bad to the farmers and bad the their employees I think they are one of the best in the “fast food” industry. You get paid a better wage than say Dunkin or McDonalds, you get health benefits at 20hrs a week or more, and stock options. Yes, they could do better, but I don’t think it is immoral for a person to buy coffee there.

    That all said, a local coffee shop is probably the best. No burned coffee, no support of a big corporation, and it’s prolly a bit cheaper, plus you probably look cool and original b/c you are carrying a cup that nobody else has.

  2. Denise Zim says:

    What does it say about me that I like to get coffee at Kum and Go??? 🙂 (Actually, they have flavored coffee, flavored creamers… I’m kind of a little bit of coffee with my creamer kind of gal.)

  3. Knock says:

    I started drinking coffee at church at about 10 years of age because the ladies in the basement of our little Lutheran Church never put enough sugar to make the red KoolAid taste good (yes, there was KoolAid before the presweetened kind)
    But the good people at church never looked twice at how much sugar and cream (yes cream) a child would put in their coffee.
    I usually get just plain coffee(i cream in if it is past the quarter hour) at Starbucks or whereever I get my coffee so I don’t usually spend $4-$5 on a cup….I’m too old to care about what others think of what my coffee consumption sez (Look at the old fat lady with the Starbucks cup, she looks like she needs a jolt to get her day started…and they would be right) McdDs has free coffee on Mondays…makes it worth getting up on my day off!

  4. godwillsaveus says:

    I keep a french press in my office. I fill it with freshly ground beans from a grinder that I also keep in my office. I by small batches of beans from the dispensers at the grocery store.

    I like Dunn Brothers the best, they roast their beans in the store. Yummy.

    I like Caribou next, followed by Starbucks. I’m glad that the UK starbucks has switched entirely to fair-trade beans.

    My fancy $20 coffee mug (Contigo brand from Target with a clip built into the handle and a spill proof-top-I registered for it for our Son’s baby shower. I can’t believe someone bought it for me! Caribou is selling the same mug now cuz it’s so awesome) says that I’m environmentally responsible, a coffee gearhead, and I care about keeping my car’s cupholders dry.

    I need to be writing an article for work… I drank Panera coffee this morning-it’s soo good.

  5. Erik says:

    Kara – I didn’t realize all that stuff about Starbucks’ employees. Interesting… I wish Dunkin was in Des Moines; mainly for the donuts!

    Denise – I, too, prefer KG coffee if I’m going the gas station route. It’s a Des Moines company, right?

    Knock – Good to know about free coffee Mondays @ McDonald’s! It’s nice to know that it’s not a cultural shift to see tweens running around the church on Sunday morning with coffee in their hand. No real cream, though!

    Godwillsaveus – You’ve become quite the coffee conisouer. I was gonna buy a Contigo mug the other day, but then I found out Kum & Go is selling mugs for $50 with unlimited refills for 2009. I’m thinking about going that route.

  6. Tim says:

    Wow, one I can’t believe you just starting drinking coffee. Welcome to life.
    Two, it’s interesting to me when people say that patrons of Starbucks want to be seen with the white and green cup (now red for the holidays). One problem for us in the northeast is that we don’t have many independent coffee shops because space is so high to rent. (What is this Carribou you speak of?) Aside from that, I get frustrated when I go to some indy coffee shops because some of them do suck and because they do not have a high volume of sales, the coffee does get burned or you pay a dollar less for a mocha but it tastes awful.

    True story, I walked into a new coffee shop sort of near us a couple weeks ago and they had french vanilla and hazelnut as their own brews. No columbian or house blend. They had a huge plasma screen with Fox News going. Now maybe they are catering to a particular demographic but i don’t see the news at all. i don’t want to see tv’s at my coffee house or flavored coffee.

    That said, we have a few local spots that we like, but I’d like to say a good word about Starbucks. I know it’s cool to dislike the popular and the cliche, but I think Starbucks is a great exception in the corporate world (or at least trying to be). Though certain things annoy me, all in all I think Starbucks is a solid product, that generally treats its employees well, values its customers, is somewhat socially conscience, etc. I’d miss Starbucks if they went bankrupt.

  7. Erin says:

    I will miss grounds for celebration this summer! What a bummer that I won’t be able to get back there for awhile.
    I don’t drink coffee – never have! Everyone at church thought they would convert me, but I love tea. I’m a huge fan of Caribou’s soy chai. Otherwise, just a nice steamed milk with shot of vanilla is a great way to start the day.
    Thanks for your posts Erik – they always make me smile!

  8. Erik says:

    Erin – thanks for the kind words. Perhaps you will need to find your way to Des Moines this summer on a “recruiting trip”. We’d even let you sleep somewhere other than the church basement floor. I hope your new gig at Gustavus is going well!

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