Starbucks’ reputation highly valued over coffee competitors
A cup of ol’ joe. Espresso Macchiato. Pumpkin Spice Latte. Peppermint Mocha Frappuccino. Or perhaps a random drink that may not even contain coffee. Anything goes, as long it’s got Siren’s stamp.
According to senior and Starbucks employee Macie Cousineau, many teenagers don’t always come to Starbucks Coffee for the coffee, contrary to the name.
“A lot of girls our age come in [and] always get the things that don’t have any coffee in it, and it [is] a coffee shop, so I guess the reason that they come for these things is [the] Starbucks [brand] and glitter,” Cousineau said.
Cousineau said the difference between real coffee-lovers and trend-followers is obvious with the customers and types of drinks they order.
“We have a lot of regular customers that are older people who come in all the time,” Cousineau said. “And with [them], it’s really fun to know their order[s] [because] they’re usually the people that…really care about the different roasts, whereas after school…we get rushes of younger people who don’t care about coffee or anything. They just kind [of] come [to hang out], and they’ll get the chocolaty frappuccinos.”
According to Cousineau, drinks such as the Cotton Candy Frappuccino provide photo ops for many teenage girls, but for Cousineau, who said she only drinks black coffee, the quality of the coffee beans is the real appeal.
“It actually [has] very good coffee beans,” Cousineau said. “I prefer Starbucks coffee over most other coffee just because it’s a darker roast in general…Now that I work there, I definitely appreciate coffee more.”
The visual charm of Starbucks, according to Cousineau, is important for young customers and may be the reason the brand is becoming such an icon in today’s culture.
“I guess people are just drawn to Starbucks because it’s really cute,” Cousineau said. “Everyone wants that little symbol on their mug.”
Senior Jessica Smith also said she thinks Starbucks is visually attractive and said she frequently goes there even though she doesn’t drink a lot of coffee. According to Smith, some people may be more addicted to the brand than coffee.
“I’ve heard people talk about how they just like the looks of it,” Smith said. “[Some people that go there] don’t even like coffee or tea. It’s just kind [of] weird.”
Starbucks provides an array of choices for customers, even the non-coffee drinkers, which according to senior Kylie Tate is an important characteristic.
“I feel like [other places] don’t have as much,” Tate said. “They normally just have coffee, iced coffee or hot coffee, but then Starbucks has their smoothies and their tea and their hot chocolate and their espressos and their mochas and all that other jazz.”
According to senior Quynh Tran, she visits Starbucks about five times a week, and although the brand is important to her, she cares more about the actual coffee.
“I feel like my day is determined based on if I have coffee or not, [so] I have to have coffee,” Tran said. “I mostly look at the coffee that is in [a drink] and how much caffeine it has, and considering that we’re students, we need that caffeine [because] we have short hours of sleep.”
Tran said her monthly bill for Starbucks can rack up to $75, but that the aura Starbucks provides is priceless.
“I like the environment,” Tran said. “I like to do homework [there because] I can concentrate better [there] than at home, and I like the drinks that they have although [they] can be overpriced. But I think it’s worth it because I feel like I can pay for my drink and…for the [environment].”
Like Tran, physical science teacher Cody Kreager also said he is a huge-coffee lover who drinks about one cup per day, but he chooses to live without the glitz of the Starbucks brand. According to Kreager, coffee is coffee so the brand does not matter to him.
“You could get me a cup of Starbucks, or you could get me Meijer brand coffee, and I probably wouldn’t be able to tell the difference,” Kreager said. “[I don’t go to Starbucks] more so for the price probably [because] if it’s three dollars for a cup of coffee, I think that’s outrageous.”
According to Kreager, kids are encouraged to go to Starbucks in order to follow in line with the trend.
“If a kid had to choose between going to Starbucks and going to UDF and getting a cup of coffee, they’d probably go to Starbucks because Starbucks I guess has that cooler look amongst their peers,” Kreager said. “It all depends on who you are and what you want your look to be…So is it cooler to carry a Starbucks cup around or is it cooler to carry a UDF cup around? That’s what I guess the person has to wonder.”