Wednesday, April 09, 2008

When Bad Coffee Happens to Good People Who Love Great Coffee

If you're like me, and you subscribe to the Los Angeles Times and live in Los Feliz, you were subject to a marketing assault by Starbucks yesterday. That is, if you consider a billboard across the street and a card for a free cuppa Joe included in your morning paper a marketing assault. And I do. The subject of this awareness attack was the 'Buck's new brew, Pike Place Roast. As the advertisement notes, it's the coffee for people who love coffee.

I love coffee, so I figured I'd try a free cup of black gold designed especially for me. Card in hand, I walked down to the neighborhood shop and obtained a "tall" order of this Pike Place Roast. After a few sips, I thought I had made up my mind. But I downed a good three-quarters of the stuff before making my pronouncement:

It's terrible.

Pike Place Roast has overpowering notes of chemical and Styrofoam. It lacks the rich complexity good java is known for. It in fact lacks any complexity. It leaves a wet, bland, vaguely burned aftertaste. It smells like the coffee you'd get in a diner or at a banquet, but withholds the contextual charm: I'll gladly drink a bad cup of coffee with a good slice of pie in a bustling restaurant. But none of that is present with Pike Place Roast. It's just bad (expensive) coffee, on the go.

That said, I encourage you to get a free cup of your own. Tell Rocket Fever if you agree with this review. And while you're at the 'Buck, dig the new old naughty-mermaid logo. Cross your tails, you hussy!


In less than a week, I'll be flying to Istanbul. That is, if the plane actually gets off the ground. How perfect that I'm planning the trip of a lifetime just as the global airline industry is in full meltdown. Oy.


Anonymous said...

I have to agree. I tried the stuff today out of curiosity (sadly, not free). I was disappointed at first sip. This is a drip coffee designed for people who don't like coffee! It is quite bland, I thought maybe my cup was not properly brewed, which led me to search for reviews other people posted. Some love it...not sure how this could be? It is "smooth" with a clean finish...if we consider smooth to mean "doesn't taste like coffee." Lack of depth, intensity, and zero complex high notes. Their other coffees are much better, and that is saying a lot, because I can think of way better places to get drip in the first place.

vickers said...

the coffee sucks. On the upside ... it makes their regular coffee actually look good. Not $2 good. But better. Maybe that's their sinister plan.

Historians will some day describe this point as the exact moment the Starbucks empire started going TCBY.

Drake said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Drake said...

have fun in istanbul! it's one of my fav cities!! be prepared to eat!

naz said...

NYTimes, dude.

ps- performing my weekly round of internet stalking, sorry.