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Are You into Designer Coffees?

picture of fancy coffee drinks

Anyone who knows me well knows that I enjoy a good cup of coffee, especially when shared with others. Several weeks ago my son Mark and I went out for a cuppa at Leopard Forest in beautiful downtown T.R. (Travelers Rest, for those of you not familiar with the Greenville area.) We both got a Snow Leopard, their most popular beverage blended with white chocolate, caramel, and macadamia nut. I'm sure it contained some coffee too. It was delicious, but I also realize that some fancy coffee drinks have the same caloric content as an entire meal! I figure the occasional splurge like that probably won't kill me. Actually, I most often drink my coffee black, enjoying the taste of the coffee itself without the calories and fat grams that I don't really need.

Since I normally order black coffee, I even have a hard time remembering what the difference is between a latte and a cappucino and feel like a dolt when I have to ask. I found the following picture online of the make up of various coffee drinks. I should print it out and review it for those little splurges several times a year.

picture of coffee drinks

Someone with a commercial site was kind enough to let me know that the link to the picture above was broken. I've now fixed the link, but to thank her for alerting me to the broken link, I am giving the link she provided to a similar image on her site. Thanks, Abigail!

I was surprised, though, when I stumbled across an even more detailed chart of coffee drinks. Click on the image below if you want to see a larger version of it.

picture of coffee drinks

Our daughter Nora was a barista at Starbucks a few years ago and I loved having her stock my larder with different kinds of coffee. I enjoy some of the coffees from Starbucks, but I have to say that some of them taste either burned or bitter to me. Does anyone else have that reaction?

Many people were surprised when, for its 40th anniversary this year, Starbucks changed its logo. Here's a picture of the history of the logo.

picture of Starbucks logo history

I guess they assume that their "siren" (the woman in their logo) is so recognizable now that the words in the outer ring are no longer necessary.

However, Starbucks has actually had to customize its logo in the past in parts of the world to cater to local sensibilities — the siren was not highly esteemed in Arab countries. Here's what the logo has been changed to in Saudi Arabia, at least until now.

picture of Saudi Starbucks logo

I found what someone projects the new logo might look like in the Arab world, based on this history.

picture of Starbucks logo Saudi

I'll end with something I found online that made me chuckle. An article in the NYT projects what the Starbucks logo will look like as it becomes more and more miniminalistic.

picture of projected Starbucks logo

How about you other coffee drinkers? Are you into designer coffees and coffee drinks? How often do you indulge in high-priced, high-calorie coffee drinks? Do you prefer them hot or cold?


"People give to what they treasure." — Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=

What do they call a coffee break at the Lipton Tea Company?

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20 Comments on “Are You into Designer Coffees?”

  1. #1 David Lowry
    on Feb 10th, 2011 at 7:58 am

    Nope, it’s not just you. I don’t care for Starbucks myself. I’m a DD fan.

    Here’s an article that explains why Starbucks tastes the way it does:


    Rob adds: DD (Dunkin Donuts) is what I’m drinking right now. Not only because it’s so good, but also because they had a sale at Christmas time. It was any 4 pounds of their coffee for $19.99. I got two original and two decaf, since I drink only decaf after noon. Thanks for the link. It’s an interesting article.

  2. #2 Elizabeth J.
    on Feb 10th, 2011 at 8:49 am

    And I’m yet another DD’s groupie. Can’t stand Starbucks to the point that I refuse to even set foot in their stores!

    Rob adds: Thanks for your perspective on this, Elizabeth. I prefer DD to Starbucks, but I will still go to Starbucks, especially if someone else is paying. No reasonable offer refused. 🙂

  3. #3 Vikki
    on Feb 10th, 2011 at 8:50 am

    Have never been to a Starbucks but they were handing out sample cups at a book store once. Way too strong for my taste. On the other hand, my son-in-law is hooked on the stuff. He can easily spend $25 a week for his morning brew.

    We drink out coffee black also. We just bought a French press to play around with and there is difference in taste, but a more work than simply dumping the grounds in the filter and running the coffee maker. So it’s basically a Saturday indulgence.

    By the way, what is the difference between a latte and a cappucino? The only place we’ve ever buy coffee like that is the Wilds and we always have to ask. For us, it’s usually whatever has chocolate in it.

    Rob adds: I don’t have that kind of money to drop $25 a week on coffee. I like to say, “You don’t really buy coffee … you just rent it.”

  4. #4 Mary
    on Feb 10th, 2011 at 8:53 am

    I’ve always thought Starbucks coffee was intentionally made on the bitter side so that all the sugary additions wouldn’t overwhelm the customer as too sweet. Not very good for black coffee drinkers. Thanks for the chart — I’ve never taken time to “study” what goes into each coffee drink because we don’t get them very often. My hubby insists on 100% Colombian beans at home. And drinking only very freshly made coffee.

    Rob adds: I usually make just one cup of coffee at a time with my little coffee filter cones — one at home and one in the office. I love having it totally fresh brewed, and it’s a ton cheaper than buying coffee, even with my alumni discount at the campus coffee shops.

  5. #5 Vikki
    on Feb 10th, 2011 at 8:59 am

    I just read the article David posted in the comment above. Very interesting! A friend of ours roasts his own coffee and it’s the best coffee I’ve ever tasted, hands down! He said that even a slight bit of over roasting of the beans makes a big difference.

    Rob adds: The teacher in the office next to mine roasts his own also, and it’s amazing!

  6. #6 Barbara H.
    on Feb 10th, 2011 at 9:11 am

    I’m one of those weird people who doesn’t like flavored coffees, so I miss out on a lot of the coffee culture of the day, but I guess it saves me a lot of money. 🙂

    Rob adds: I was enamored with flavored coffees when they first became available, but then I missed the taste of the real coffee itself. So for me flavored coffees are relegated to dessert time.

  7. #7 Michael
    on Feb 10th, 2011 at 9:19 am

    I don’t drink coffee and don’t want to. I’m afraid I might get addicted. I would like to say though that the minimalistic Starbucks logo of the future (big green dot) would be wildly accepted in many Arab lands since green is the color of Islam.

    Rob adds: Good point about the green. Also there’s no woman to try to cover up!

  8. #8 Noelle
    on Feb 10th, 2011 at 9:54 am

    I don’t care for Starbucks at all. I never knew you weren’t supposed to have to add cream and sugar to a Mocha ’til I tried one somewhere else.:)

    I buy flavored Swiss-Water Process Decaf (I pretty much only drink decaf) when I can. I worked at the Coffee Beanery for a bit after we were married and that SO spoiled me. Not as cheap as some but SO GOOD! No one ever knows that it’s decaf. They’re online, if you want to check them out.:)

    My dad calls flavored coffee “yuppie coffee” even though that’s what he drinks!:) When we were in Ireland, Cafe Americano was the only drink he could find that tasted like coffee and not weak, coffee-flavored water. Just FYI for any world travelers out there.
    Have a great day!

    Rob adds: Thanks for your thoughts, Noelle. You’re right about the SB’s Mocha not being very sweet or milky. I *loved* Coffee Beanery when there was one down the street from my daughter and son-in-law’s house. They’ve gone out, though — probably couldn’t compete with the Tim Horton’s down the street from where they were.

  9. #9 Bethany Phillips
    on Feb 10th, 2011 at 10:02 am

    I enjoy the occasional white chocolate mocha from Starbucks, but I have to agree that their regular coffee is inferior to other brands. I prefer DD myself. 🙂 (And might I add that DD Turbo is my new favorite! Delicious and especially effective, a necessity for a grad student like me. :))

    Rob adds: Ah, to be young again and have no sleep disturbance from caffeine! 🙂

  10. #10 Claudia Anderson
    on Feb 10th, 2011 at 10:28 am

    Starbucks has not been my favorite coffee in some time. My personal opinion is that they got too big to maintain careful control over both the quality of beans and the process they use. The coffees at our local Fresh Market and Whole Foods are exceptional when you find them fresh. There’s also a California coffee roaster we like and can gladly recommend to coffee lovers. It’s Terri’s Los Gatos Coffee Roasting Company. Can’t produce the web address, but a quick Google search will take you there. They do web orders gladly.

    As for Starbuck’s removing its name, I recently learned that it’s doing that because so many of Starbuck’s customers are anti-corporation and anti-big-business. So Starbuck’s is seeking to re-cast its individual shops with more local sounding names, such as, say, “Willow Falls” or “Fair Oaks” Coffee Shop. The coffee would still be Starbuck’s, but their logo won’t actually come right out and say it. Typical left-wing subterfuge — never come out and actually admit what/who you really are, just worry about the packaging and do your best to hide behind it.

    Rob adds: Thanks for sharing your personal experiences and perspective. I think you may well be on track with what you’ve said in the second paragraph.

  11. #11 Tammy
    on Feb 10th, 2011 at 11:12 am

    I rarely buy coffee to drink in a place like Starbucks – it is waste of money. I only like plain coffee with no sugar, creamer and don’t get me going on flavors!

    Dunkin Donuts is the best.We buy it as a special treat in our house otherwise it is store brand label unless matched with a sale and coupon.

    Rob adds: Thanks for your comment, Tammy. If you like brand name coffee from the grocery store, that’s great if it works for you. I stopped buying most brand name coffees at the grocery store (except maybe Eight O’Clock coffee) some years back when the coffee started tasting like ashtrays smell. Yuck! Call me a snob, but life is too short (and also too long!) to drink crummy coffee, just because it’s cheaper. (Steps off soapbox….) 😀

  12. #12 Melissa Endres
    on Feb 10th, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    Drink tea!! It’s much better for your health! (And it’s lots cheaper.) 🙂

    After a bad experience with my mom’s day-old coffee as an eight-year-old, I have not gone near the stuff since.

    Rob adds: I like all kinds of teas too, but I just like coffee better. Have you given *good* coffee (read: not day-old…) a second chance?

  13. #13 Jonathan
    on Feb 10th, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    I make my own coffee when at all possible. I buy Kona pre-ground coffee because I feel it has the best flavor. When you learn to make your own coffee your way, no one else does it the same. I was surprised to learn that counselling is best done over a cheap cup of coffee away from home and work. It would seem every part of life has been researched.

    Rob adds: I like coffee the way I brew it (see an earlier comment). Others like it when I make it for them too. Your Kona sounds wonderful, Jonathan! We’ll have to swing by for some sometime. 🙂

  14. #14 Jason
    on Feb 10th, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    I seem to be in the minority in your blog readers, but I love Starbucks. My favorite drink is a Soy-Carmel-Cafe Latte. I’ve even registered my gift cards I’ve gotten over the years, and now I get free shots of whatever in my drinks, and I get free refills if I get a regular coffee. 🙂

    I like to buy their whole-bean coffees and grind them at home. Some are way too intense, but I’ve found my favorite is Guatemala Antigua.

    Rob adds: A couple of my favorite coffees from Starbucks are actually Komodo Dragon and Pike Place. I’ve received gift cards, but I’ve never registered them. I’ll have to look into that, Jason. Thanks for the tip.

  15. #15 Caroline
    on Feb 10th, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    ah! coffee! my favorite topic! almost…. i like to drink my coffee black, but only if it’s good coffee. if it’s cheap stuff, then i have to add cream and sugar to cover up the flavor. i do like Starbucks coffee a lot, but it is so expensive i don’t usually buy it. when i go to a Starbucks, i buy tea because it’s cheaper. but i also have to say that i am a HUGE DD fan…. it is a lot cheaper and soooo good! i don’t like to make my own coffee… it never turns out right… so i drink coffee other people have made, or i buy it. i was so excited to discover that i could get a lot of coffee for less than $2 at DD!!

    Rob adds: I didn’t know you were such a coffee hound, Caroline. Have you ever tried Tim Horton’s? It’s originally Canadian, and it’s slowly making its way south. There’s one about 30 miles north of the Ohio-Kentucky border along I-75. I try to stop there when driving in either direction since I know it’s there. There coffee is very good, and like DD, not nearly so expensive as SB.

  16. #16 p. cook
    on Feb 11th, 2011 at 10:27 am

    Eeep! The same caloric content as a full meal? No wonder I feel a bit unhealthy….

    And I had no idea that differentiating the kinds of coffee is almost like a science. I love coffee but I rarely splurge and when I do, I do feel like an idiot not knowing one from the other. I might consider bringing that chart along 🙂

    Rob adds: And no wonder they’re so tasty, huh?! 🙂

  17. #17 Eileen
    on Feb 12th, 2011 at 9:16 pm

    I don’t drink coffee — herbal tea or hot chocolate for me, if I drink anything hot at all. But HURRAY for Tim Hortons from this Canadian girl – best donuts! Dunkin’ Donuts is the next best, when you’re too far from a TH, but again that’s for donuts, don’t know about the coffee. 🙂

    Rob adds: I *love* to go to Tim Horton’s with my grandson Drew for coffee and “timbits” (their version of donut holes) when I’m up north — coffee and timbits for me; timbits only for Drew. I agree that their donuts are very good, but I try not to eat many of them. 🙂

  18. #18 Mary
    on Feb 13th, 2011 at 11:26 pm

    I have converted from being a two-cup-a-day coffee drinker to a two-cup-a-day tea drinker. But I still enjoy a cup of coffee every now and then. Can’t stand Starbucks or DD or whatever they serve here on campus. I’m a miser and drink Folgers.

    Rob adds: Mary, I’ll have to try Folgers again sometime. The last time I tried it, I didn’t care for it. Maybe it sat on the store shelf too long? Can you get good coffee in the islands? As I type this, I’m drinking a cup of some coffee a friend bought back for me from Jamaica. I’m going to pour it out and brew up some of my own instead — not a fan of this stuff. 🙂

  19. #19 Mary
    on Feb 19th, 2011 at 10:57 pm

    I drank whatever I could get in Carriacou — anything for caffeine! The best, though, was coffee from Antigua that my uncle sent. I’m not sure of the name of it.

    Rob adds: Ah, to be young and have caffeine not affect me! 🙂

  20. #20 Sue
    on Feb 24th, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    Starbucks is my least favorite coffee shop. Give me Liquid Highway, Dunkin Donuts, Carribou Coffee, or my very favorite – the WILDS Cool Beans Shoppe. Or I can make my own with my espresso machine and Torani syrups.
    For those that love coffee and chocolate, Fresh Market’s Death By Chocolate is great for regular coffee.

    I bought my husband a coffee roaster, and he roasts his own from green beans. The beans have a two to three year shelf life green, but begin to lose their flavor within a couple of weeks after roasting. A truly fresh cup is freshly roasted, ground, and brewed – and yes, a coffee lover can truly tell a difference in a taste test.
    My coworker recently gave me an article about the health benefits of drinking coffee. Supposedly it reduces the risk of heart disease, diabetes, dementia, Parkinson’s, and several types of cancer. That’s my justification and I’m stickin’ to it… and if it gets proved wrong in a later study I’ll come up with something else. =)

    Rob adds: Thanks for that info, Sue. My appreciation for coffee is now not only for pleasure but also for healthfulness.