By: Chrysa Smith
I’ve been a tea drinker for as long as I can remember. I blame it on mom. Whenever other kids were drinking chocolate milk or Hawaiian Punch, I was partaking in the very British tradition of sipping tea. Milk. Sugar. The whole nine yards.
So no surprise that I fell in love with Starbucks. It really has been, the first consistent cup of soothing, rich and tasteful tea I’ve found since I was a kid (It’s Tazo, and it’s a tie for first place with PG Tips, but I rarely find that one in public). For far too long, tea drinkers have had to deal with coffee’s sloppy leftovers. Scorched, coffee-imbedded glass pots with brown water and a teabag—a harsh and ugly tasting combo of coffee and tea.
But Starbucks is so much more than a great inventor, marketer and maker of good-tasting drinks, it is a happening place on multiple levels—-
For us workaholic Americans, it brings us a little European style relief. On the way to work, during an afternoon break, on the way to or from a meeting, it serves as a little respite from the intensity of the day. If only for ten minutes, we might be able to sit down on a leather sofa, in front of a warm fireplace and re-cozy, re-orient ourselves and our brains to a softer, soothing environment. A de-stresser for sure; in a world gone mad with speed and technology.
For us single proprietorship folks, Starbucks can be a lifeline. With offices that we share with our pets, personal objects and even, in some cases, bedroom furnishings, we can get out and actually see people. We can grab a cup of tea (ok, or coffee), even lug our computers or planners and do a little work in a place busier than our solitary home bases. And, what a perfect place to have a business meeting. A win-win for all, as a calming atmosphere in which to conduct a little business; sans furry friends and flannel pajamas.
Most recently, my son had a ‘class’ at Starbucks. For us who are tethered to a computer, software classes are happening in these coffee shops. He just learned a bit about the Dreamweaver program and is meeting up with another tutor this week for yet a different graphic software program. What a great classroom!
But aside from fellowship, business meetings and classes, Starbucks has also been the launch pad for romance. With concern about meeting new online suitors in a secluded place or for the more serious dinner date, I’ve met more than a couple of folks who had their first dates at Starbucks. A non-threatening and again, relaxing place that puts both parties on even ground–making for a pretty good start.
There’s probably more good to say about the chain I love, including some tasty loaf cakes, but here’s where my own experience ends. Do I wind up spending dozens of extra dollars more on tea than I could with a cup of Lipton? Well, yah! But in the end, for all of the above reasons, to me, it’s worth it. After all, it’s cheaper than renting an office, paying tuition for a real classroom or therapy—when I begin having afternoon tea with the poodles!