[Life in London] Why Have I Stopped Visiting Starbucks and You Should Too.
Updated: Sep 1, 2021
Starbucks is one of the most popular chained coffee shops in the world, and without a doubt it's a very successful business. I was once a big Starbucks fan who visits them every single day, and had never missed out trying any of their seasonal drinks. However, like every other things in the world, my relationship with this world famous brand had came to an end, and I would like to tell you why...
1. It is Bad for Your Health.
Whenever I think of Starbucks, I think of a sugary, decadent treat. Something like a Java Chip Frappuccino with extra whipped topping and mocha sauce is right up my alley. As much as I enjoy all the delicious speciality coffee and the pleasure they gave me, it scares me when I learnt how much sugar was actually in each sips I took. Did you know that a standard tall sized caramel macchiato from Starbucks gives you over 700 kcal, and nearly 23g of sugar? That is nearly 6 teaspoons full of sugar in just one drink! That is A TON of empty energy, and because it's a drink, it doesn't actually fill you up and for me at least, I find myself go after other snacks even after taking this much calories into my body.
Does that sound alarming? The worse is yet to come.
If you fancy something chocolatey, a tall sized hot chocolate from Starbucks will give you almost 1000 kcal and over 5 teaspoons of sugar. By drinking one of those, you have taken half of the daily energy requirement, if you're an adult female; and 40% of your daily energy requirement if you're a male. Does that sound scary enough? If not, then you should also know that by taking one of those, you have exceeded 75% of the NHS suggested daily sugar intake allowance.
So far we've talked about sweetened coffee and hot chocolates. Now let's talk about the absolutely amazing frappachinos. A standard tall-sized Java Chip Frappachino will give you over 1300 kcal and an astonishing 42.2 g of sugar! That means, by having just one single Frappachino, regardless of what else you've eaten in that day, you have exceeded the daily recommended sugar allowance as suggested by the NHS......
Sugar is one of the most addictive substance you could find in our daily lives. Excessive sugar intake greatly increases your risk of getting type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. What's even worse is that, all the energy you get form these delicious favourite flavoured coffee are empty calories, meaning the energy you get from drinking these beverages comes with little to no nutritional value.
PS the recommended daily calorie intake for an average adult female is 2000 kcal, and 2500 kcal for male. And the daily added sugar intake is no more than 30 g, according to the NHS.
2. It is Overpriced.
Coffee hopping is a peculiar hobby of mine; often times I end up visiting 3 to 4 coffee spots a day (it's an addiction, I know). By doing so, I have came to realize how expensive Starbucks coffee actually are, especially when you have your eyes on their speciality drinks.
For example, a flat white in my favourite local coffee shop, which offers a fairly generous student discount, costs me around £2.20 , compared to £2.60 at Starbucks. And the coffee offered by my local cafe is so much better than the ones I can get from Starbucks. So it's essentially paying less for more.
If it's Starbucks's speciality that you desire, the average price of a tall sized frappuchino at is around £3.40. However, if you costume ordered your drink, the ad-on adds up quickly, and one single drink could easily cost you over £4.50. That is basically the cost of a meal! Regardless of the high price tag, what you actually get is (at most) average quality coffee, milk, and tons of sugar and flavourings, placed in a nice,branded Starbucks cup.
3. Flavourings, Not Flavour.
A coffee chain as large as Starbucks will obviously have to purchase their coffee beans in bulk. They then turn those mass purchased coffee beans into dark roast coffee, because a lot of people like their coffee extra strong. There is a very fine line between good, dark roast beans and burnt coffee beans. More so than often, that line is crossed, especially when the company has to deal with such massive quantity. I wish not to offend anyone, but I am sorry to say that Starbucks' coffee just do not live up to the standards, especially when I now live in a place where I'm surrounding by so many great coffee shops that offers locally produced, high quality speciality coffee.
There is a reason why I hardly ever buy plain coffee or like espresso or latte. Whenever I visited Starbucks, it was almost always the sweet drinks that I turned to. To me, it was the wide range of creative coffee flavours that Starbucks offers that appealed to me. They have almost every flavour one could possibly think of; from crème brûlée to smores, and a festive gingerbread latte during the holiday seasons. Did I like their flavoured coffee? Absolutely. Yet, was that the only reason why I don't buy ordinary coffee from them? No! I never buy things like a good old espresso from them because they didn't taste good to me. It's bitter and rough and left weird after taste in the back of my throat.
Now let's say I want to have a cup of mocha today, pretty standard. At Starbucks, it would be £2.95 for a short sized mocha. What I will get for that amount of money is a shot of (meh) espresso, milk, and chocolate syrup; possibly topped with some whipped cream if it's my cheat day. However, if I was willing to pay just £0.05 more, form my local coffee shop, I could get a mocha made with good quality, locally produced coffee, topped with locally sourced milk, flavoured by actual, real dark chocolate. For less than 10p extra I could get so much more. The only difference there really is that it's not poured into a fancy Starbucks cup. Since my local shops were able to provide me with such good quality product, I just gradually lost feel like there are better alternatives than Starbucks.
In fact, if there's a specific Starbucks drink that you like, I could almost guarantee you there will be a recipe somewhere out there online. If we do it ourselves, we could make flavoured coffee with real fruits, good quality ingredients, and less sugar. It would be healthier, taste better, and it would be so much cheaper than to buy one from Starbucks.
4. To Support Smaller Local Businesses.
In London, new coffee shops spring up almost every single day. So why not try something new and support your community by getting your daily caffeine boost at your local coffee house? By supporting smaller businesses, we create job opportunities in the community, encourage entrepreneurs to invest in the local community, and keeps the community diverse. What this does is that we encourage people to bring us new places that serves good coffee, giving us more options and encourage positive competition. More local businesses also means more cafes in the area, hence more places for us to hang out and enjoy coffee.
5. Explore and Adventure.
There is nothing wrong with missing good old Starbucks coffee. But when there is time and leisure, say during the weekends, why not try visiting a coffee house that you don't usually visit? One of the best part about visiting different independent coffee shops is that we could experience different style of coffee, baked goods and atmosphere. The fact that we could explore and go on an adventure just by diving into the coffee is what makes this fun.
Nowadays, coffee has became a hobby and a lifestyle for me. I love going to different places, try different blends and talk to people in the community. Every shop has their own favourite coffee blend; it is fun to experiment and listen to people's story behind the beans. To me, coffee is something I truly enjoy, and acts as a window to conversation. Coffee should be an experience, and Starbucks is no longer it.
Disclaimer: All prices are retrieved on Jan 2019, South Kensington, London.
National Health Service. (2018). How much sugar is good for me? Retrieved on 03 Feb 2019 from https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/food-and-diet/how-much-sugar-is-good-for-me/
Starbucks UK. (2018). Starbucks Nutrition Info. Retrieved on 03 Feb 2019 from https://www.starbucks.co.uk/quick-links/nutrition-info