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Here’s the tea: Starbucks is overrated, expensive

By Rashmeena Abbasi

Let’s rip the band-aid off — Starbucks is overrated. Before avid Starbucks lovers start baring their teeth and shouting, hear me out. I was once a devout Starbucks drinker myself, but it wasn’t too long until reality struck.

Starbucks sells approximately 11 million cups of coffee every day (Envato Elements).

For one, it felt like my wallet lost 10 pounds in one month. Ordering my caramel macchiato before class every morning — while rejuvenating —  had made a significant dent in my savings. I’m sure we all can acknowledge that Starbucks sells some delectable seasonal drinks for an exorbitant amount of money, and yet, most of us remain fervent Starbucks lovers. But it’s not the money that I want to warn you about — it’s the unimaginative lifestyle that the corporation propels.

Starbucks prioritizes caffeine over the quality of the coffee. They over roast coffee beans to develop the smoky, charred taste of coffee that we have all adapted to. To balance the trademark taste of their drinks, Starbucks adds loads of seasoning, sugar and whipped cream into their beverages. The resulting concoction is a drink that provides you with the powerful boost of energy you need to start writing that ten-page paper or grading stacks of exams before the semester ends. But the effect of the drink does not last and you find yourself going back for another cup of adrenaline after a long day. And another. And another. Eventually, the sugary drink strips innocent buyers of their caffeine independence until their lucidity and vitality cannot be called forward without the next cup of coffee.

There are a total of over 15 thousand Starbucks locations across the United States who are responsible for serving approximately 11 million cups of coffee every day. Although Starbucks has done quite a lot to give back to the community by providing buyers with ethically sourced coffee beans, it still hurts to see the smaller coffee businesses sidelined in the coffee world. Many coffee drinkers nowadays have lost the experience of the artisanal coffee shop — the aromatic brews, the health benefits of freshly-roasted coffee and the distinctive taste of each cup. While the third wave of coffee has given artisanal coffee shops an individualistic edge over mega-corporations like Starbucks, the diversity of the coffee world grows smaller and smaller as local businesses are driven to the ground. With a mega-brand always right across the street, it is difficult for a local shop to stand its ground and show coffee lovers the undiscovered beauty of a fresh and handcrafted cup of coffee.

At the end of the day, the millions of Starbucks lovers out there know exactly what they are paying for when they buy a Starbucks drink. There is nothing wrong with buying a shot of sugary yet divine adrenaline from one of the most convenient coffee stores in the world — The real sin is when consumers live a lifestyle where they only settle for the caffeinated satisfaction of an ordinary cup of coffee.

The true lifestyle of a coffee drinker lies far beyond the walls of Starbucks and requires a brave and adventurous soul to look right around the corner to the local coffee shop. And who knows, they might just discover an enchanting new world of coffee.


  1. It might be useful to recognize that it was the growth of Starbucks from a small local coffee company in Seattle that created and enabled the development of the global specialty coffee industry. None of your bemoaned third wave artisanal coffee roasters would have a business or any customers unless Starbucks had taught America the difference between real coffee and Folgers. Cry if you want to, but don’t hike the trail that others built without recognizing and appreciating the hard work it took to change the definition of coffee for all future generations. As for your complaint about the darkness of the roast – perhaps you should familiarize yourself a bit more with the coffee roasting traditions of Amsterdam, where Alfred Peet learned his family trade before moving to America to found Peet’s Coffee in the Bay Area and teach the founders of Starbucks the magic of the second-pop, full city roast that is now loved by millions around the world. If you don’t like it, don’t drink it – but don’t inflict ignorance on others who appreciate the hard work it represents.


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