Coffee in Worcester: Starbucks

posted by Mike on June 10th, 2011

For the first time, Bruce and I went to the Worcester Starbucks at 11 East Central Street.

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Mike: What do you think about life?

Bruce: Sometimes it can be pretty tough.

M: What do you think about Starbucks?

B: The coffee is strong.

M: Some people talk about it being over-roasted. Do you judge it over-roasted?

B: Nah, probably not.

M: We like to go to little independent coffee houses, with sort of a bohemian vibe, and one of the risks is that occasionally you get someone working the counter who seem stunned that you’re asking them to sell you coffee. Here, it’s like buying a pack of gum at the convenience store. No problem.

B: Yeah.

M: I used to protest Starbucks all the time with Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping in New York. There was a time when I’d visited Starbucks many more times to protest it than to get coffee. But at this point in my life, I feel like Starbucks is not a major evil. I got bigger fish to fry. Bigger fish than the Starbucks mermaid, to extend the metaphor.

B: Yeah.

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Tiny espresso in a paper cup. This bothers Mike.

M: You and I know people who work at Starbucks. We hear a lot of stories. I’m always surprised to walk by Starbucks and see that it’s not just a burning pile of metal and glass. From the stories, it always seems like this place is in chaos. But it doesn’t look that way to a customer.

B: All the stories you hear about Starbucks, you have to ask yourself, is any of this true?

M: Starbucks is rife with myth.

B: At least here you don’t have a bunch of obnoxious people walking by, like at the Dunkin Donuts downtown.

M: The clientele seems less angry at Starbucks than at Dunkin Donuts.

B: Here everybody’s not in such a rush.

M: Any coffee shop, people are going in there jonesing. So I’m not surprised if they’re on edge.


An old cable access TV show with Mike and Bruce on coffee.

B: Most Americans spend $1000 a year on coffee.

M: People love it. Sometimes I drink too much. I kinda like it as a once a week thing.

B: You live in a part of the country where you have to drink a lot of coffee because there’s so much stressful stuff around.

M: Coffee can sometimes help you perk up.

B: Yeah.

M: But then it becomes an addiction. You’re functioning less well without the coffee than you were before.

B: People should eat a good breakfast with enough energy to get them through the day. But people do it backwards. They eat something that makes them tired. And by 2 o’clock….

M: They eat something that drains their energy, then need coffee to replace the energy.

B: They’re not eating high-energy food to get them through the day.

M: What should they be eating?

B: They should be eating high-energy food.

M: What would that be?

B: I have no idea.

M: Any final thoughts on Starbucks?

B: The “Christmas blend” they had last year was pretty awesome.

M: Any final thoughts on coffee?

B: Coffee is like metal. It’s the kind of addiction that doesn’t do you any harm. There’s no rehab for it. Or parole for it.

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