Friday, August 21, 2009

the choices we make: coffee places


there's been a lot of talk around here lately of starbucks. i may even seem a little obsessed. and strangely a hankering for a really good latte has replaced my desire for a really good south african chenin blanc. i've tried not to think too much about that, but what i have thought about is what draws you to a certain café over the one right next to it (in the absence of starbucks, of course - because we always are drawn to starbucks if there is one and by we, i mean me and sometimes husband).


i'm thinking about this because i downloaded a bunch of iPhone photos into iPhoto this evening. and i realized that i take a lot of pictures of coffees with my phone. oh, and shoes, but we're talking about coffees at the moment. maybe there will be one gratuitous shoe shot at the end (if i remember).


when i walk through sandvika storsenter, which is the most direct route from the train station to my hotel, i pass half a dozen coffee places. why do i, time after time, choose steam? it might have something to do with these beautiful cinnamon bread thingies (husband is right, the norwegians can do a mean cinnamon bread thingie (that's the technical term)).


but fattigmanden also has really nice things to eat. like this shrimp sandwich. but still, i had to force myself to go there, just to try something different. but i really wanted to go to steam. and both of them even do those pretty hearts on top of the coffee, so it shouldn't really matter.


but you can see that a double latte at fattigmanden just isn't as creamy-looking as it is at steam, so that's part of it. but there's something more, something i can't put a finger on.


it's about atmosphere too. or the light. or the lighting. the decor. the pillows. whether they have comfy chairs or tall barstools. the availability of guinness. wait. that was just in dublin. but you have to admit it is rather coffee-colored.


i think it's only partially about the coffee, tho' the coffee does have to be a rich, robust roast and the foam creamy and i never order skinny because i think only whole milk truly foams properly. it's mostly about how i feel in the place. whether people can sit too close to you. whether there's wifi. whether it feels hyggeligt (that wonderful danish word that means so much more than cosy).


and it helps if they have really cool lamps. i'm a sucker for a really cool lamp. but strangely, i don't seem to photograph them, i'll try to remedy that.  but now, i promised shoes...


happy weekend one and all. i, for one, i'm happy to be headed home today. because there's starbucks in the airport in copenhagen. and i'm looking forward to it already.

23 comments:

MissBuckle said...

I´m one of those annoying customers who gives very specific instructions to the barristas if they make me feel uneasy about their coffee-making-abilities.

If you come to Stavanger one day (loads of ships here...) then I have to take you to Ostehuset. The cinnamon bun is to die for (they use almond paste to enrichen it) and they make a great full bodied coffee.

A.

Molly said...

SILVER ONES ARE NEXT ON MY LIST!!!! AND YES, I'M SHOUTING HERE!

Ju said...

These pictures made me crave a coffee right now.
I am embarrassed to admit that I do love a Starbucks double shot latte, because for many years I resisted going into one of their outlets, now I'm there almost every day leaving at least £3, arghh.

spudballoo said...

Mmm that cinnamon bun thing looks the business. I love how they give you a glass of water with coffee on the continent, so sensible and civilised.

I laughed at your tags. You need to hold your phone with two hands keep it steady and don't move until the phone and stopped that circular 'whirring' icon, it's still processing while it's doing that!

one planet said...

i ma starbucks addicted .. i love your mug i ve got from NYC yepp near ground zero i bought .. love mugs .. ok the mail doesnt work . my pc doesnt allow me hope to find another way .. may be you mail and i will notice and dont publich your mail .. have a good day

Delwyn said...

Julie

I only go to Starbucks for warmth or comfort or lack of other coffee shops because the coffee compared to a good Au coffee only scores 2/10 in my book. And it seems I am not the only Au to think so. Many of their outlets have closed in Au because, as the newspaper article said, we are accustomed to good quality Italian strength coffee...

But on a cold and rainy day a Starbucks is very inviting and better than nothing.... and in Japan where there are virtually no real coffee shops SB fills the need...

Happy days

Eliane Zimmermann said...

a good read in the morning, thanks for sharing those wonderful foam designs! eliane from guinness-country

Bee said...

Mmmm, I'm eating a green apple right now, but I really want one of those cinnamon bread thingies!!

I couldn't resist taking a picture of my coffee and sticky toffee pudding one afternoon in the Lake District. I will happily admit that a good coffee is one of the chief pleasures in life for me!

Sammi said...

:o) I love a good latte, but have you had a bad one recently, they suck big time.

CC. said...

i enjoy coffee. love the guiness :)

Char said...

what? Sabin got new chucks? pretty.

and yes...mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, coffee - though I always feel guilty and get skinny. Boo

I'm Kim, by the way said...

The right kind of cup / mug can really dial up the experience. Also, I agree, "skinny" coffee drinks border on blasphemous!

And I'm definitely getting silver Chucks, even though they are your daughter's, who is also young enough to be my daughter. :)

(Hey, my word verification is "unchil"!)

An Open Heart said...

I am a creature of habit, so, starbucks is my 'habit'....it's such a habit, that I have a hard time frequenting other starbucks, because they won't know me....yes, they all know my name and drink order at MY starbucks....(I realize that's part of their job, making you feel welcome, but, I still like that they know me) and, once I break in a starbucks, it's hard for me to trust another one...and, as for different coffee houses....there are different coffee houses?

I NEED SILVER CHUCKS...because, I'm a silversmith, you know.

;o)
S

smith kaich jones said...

I am a non-coffee drinker, looking in with no biases (I don't know the difference between a latte & a cappuccino; I don't even know if that's spelled right but I'm too lazy to look it up), and it has always seemed to me to not be about the coffee. Our neighborhood coffee shop, where I do stop for homemade blueberry scones or muffins is the sit-at-the-table-with-a-newspaper-don't-talk-to-me-just-yet place, my closest neighbors always beginning their day at a table for 6, barely speaking until the coffee kicks in. People come & go, holler hello at each other, argue politics. It's a pretty blah place visually - needs decorating, pretty cups, but it's a stop for politicians running for office, and if I've forgotten cash, they just let me pay them later. Plus there's no music playing in the background.

When I stop at Starbuck's to buy giftcards or whatever, it's miserable, loud, full of silly people/kids who are just trying too hard to be cool. I have actually laughed out loud at the valley girl intellectual taking my money.

Another coffee shop in town, more expensive than either of the aforementioned - and here I will say it is just not right that poor people are denied the joy of expensive coffee & the atmosphere of such places, and definitely, definitely, there should be a government program enacted to remedy this, whereby all the people purchasing expensive coffees over a certain price should be taxed more than other folks & that tax money should be used to fund the "Lattes for the Poor" program, and pay the salary of the coffee czar - is full of women wearing jewelry paid for by ex-husbands, designer clothes, beautiful cups, fabulous, fabulous food. No music except during art shows & then it's live music.

My coffee drinking friends go to all 3 places and I hear about the differences, and I hear them say the most expensive is the best, but I have my doubts. I don't care - a coke is a coke is a coke and that's all I want - as long as it's quiet. I hate noisy places.

Debi

marinik said...

ahhh great post (she says as she takes another sip of her coffee)... most people take their coffee very seriously. take me... doesn't matter how many lattes i have... not until i have my armenian coffee...i'm not satisfied... and i travel with it, have a little electric kettle i take with me every time i leave town, so i can have my morning bliss.
joy
m

Vancouver's Enviro Girl said...

Oh, now I want a frothy and lovely coffee and cinnamon bunb thingy. Mmmmmm.

paris parfait said...

I'm thinking Starbucks should pay you for advertising and/or give you a free lifetime supply. Not a fan of coffee (although I love the smell), but that cinnamon thingie looks irresistible. And the shoes are pretty darn cute too.

kristina said...

I also think Starbucks should pay you/give you free coffee :-)
For me, it's not about the coffee - it's about the comfortableness of the chairs, the people watching potential, the ability to bring the dog...
Happy weekend!

kristina * said...

are those sabin's, the silver chucks? so cool, they rock...

i think with cafés it's like with people. if you fall for them you fall for them... happy weekend!

bored.mind said...

love those hearts on the coffee.. :) makes me wanna go out and buy cinnamon bun.. have a great day! :)

Joanna Jenkins said...

Safe travels in your cool sneakers!
xo

one planet said...

http://schleswig-holsteinsh.blogspot.com/2009/08/for-julishka-i-cant-mail.html

cheekyketek said...

you are kinda cracking me up. i've never thought so deeply about my coffee.