How to Spot a Fake Starbucks

“I’ll have a tall, hot Caramel Latte, please. Now that I know this place is real.”

Coffee shops have always attracted me. It’s not that my body rises in rebellion if it does not get its daily dose of caffeine. It’s the place itself. The aroma; tables and couches filled with a variety of people — talking, or most likely enjoying solitude drowned in their electronics; and of course, coffee.

While I love some of the local coffee shops, capitalism seems to have made Starbucks the face of coffee shops in general. I like Starbucks. Sure, there is better coffee out there. But not many places will be there for you at freeway rest areas, waiting to serve your favorite pumpkin latte.

It’s fascinating to observe a typical scene at Starbucks. Well, at least around my neighborhood. The guy in the blue denim jacket, with his headphones on; the group of college girls in their schools colors; the golden-beard guy wearing a Beatles t-shirt and perfectly round glasses. What do they have in front of them?

Wait a minute, though. All of their devices seem to have this shiny glow on them. And a finish that’s so chamfered, I can almost hear a British man in my head saying “alumin(i)um”.

They’re all Macs!

This could be the case because of the that particular Starbucks’s proximity to a university. So I looked around a Starbucks in Downtown. The same result! A Starbucks near my workplace — same!

Show cause: “Proximity to a university.”

Macs (MacBooks, to be precise) have sort of become the ‘blue, verified tick mark’ of cool coffee shops it seems. The next time you go to a Starbucks, look around.

I visited Seattle recently — stepped into five or six (different) stores, and it’s the same thing there! Of course, the Starbucks locations are much bigger and fancier, but more importantly, they’re all ‘verified’. We were in the middle of Downtown, on the streets near Amazon, in Bellevue, near a gas station off the 520 — it did not matter.

Now that I think about it, the two brands just work. Solid. Reliable. With a fan following. That’s actually how I look at Starbucks coffee actually. Is it the best coffee I’m going to have? No. Do I know about better alternatives? Yes. But the coffee just works! My trusted Caramel Latte hasn’t varied much across multiple stores in at least five US states.

So the next time you walk into a Starbucks, and find that there are no Macs around, assume it’s a fake shop that just happens to have the Siren as its logo (yes, that’s what the green lady is called).

Thanks for reading! :-)