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Cowboys threw it on the fire.

Posted by Big John on September 6, 2008

When I first visited New York City back in the mid-70’s I was struck by the number of people walking about the streets while eating. Now when I watch American TV shows everyone seems to be walking the streets clutching a ‘Starbucks’ or some other ‘rip-off’ brand of coffee.

When I watch an old movie I notice that nearly everyone smokes ‘like a chimney’ and drinks ‘like a fish’. Somehow I can’t imagine Humphrey Bogart ordering a ‘skinny latte’ or whatever they are called; or John Wayne slapping the bar and calling for a cappuccino with an extra ‘shot’, but now even the toughest Hollywood cops are seen peeling the lid off their steaming mochas and stirring their espressos in every other scene.

Now I’m sure that many Starbucks coffee shops are very pleasant places to hang out, but with the smallest beverage costing more than £2 ($3.60) and their larger and more exotic varieties costing £4+ ($7.20+) they are not cheap: so I was not surprised to learn that hundreds of them are closing down in the USA and other countries. 

Although I enjoy a cup of good coffee my only experience of a ‘coffee culture’ was back in the 1950’s when ‘frothy coffee’ machines suddenly appeared alongside juke boxes in what were known as ‘expresso bars’. These places were very popular with us teenage boys, but not because of the coffee, which I recall was pretty awful, but because of the ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll’ music on the juke boxes and … all those luvverly  teenage GIRLS !

In recent years coffee has improved a lot in this country with supermarkets now selling a wide variety of fresh blends and beans, but I can still recall the days when it came in a bottle … Blimey ! … it still does ! … but …

…  Can you believe that the label has been changed to make it …

a more politically correct cuppa ?   🙄


3 Responses to “Cowboys threw it on the fire.”

  1. Terri said

    I’m a huge coffee lover and a devoted patron of Starbucks. Living on the island, it’s become more of a treat for me, because of course we don’t have one here and never will. But I just like the regular, old, plain coffee…not their fancy dancy stuff.
    I’d heard they’re closing because sales and stocks have tumbled tremendously. Guess all those high prices finally caught up with them in today’s rotten economy. So I heard that they were closing many stores AND lowering prices.

  2. feruz said

    The espresso bars athmosphere so well described in the book “Absolute Beginners” by Colin McInnes.
    By the way I read somewhere that the espresso bars disappeared because it was difficult to find replacement parts for the machines which were Gaggio made in Italy.

  3. frisby said

    I was actually going to blog about coffee places too (and probably still will!) What I hate about them is the horrendous markup on their prices! If you go in a bar, or restaurant, you will probably pay roughly twice what you would pay for a beer if you bought it in a store. If you buy coffee, you are paying something like £1.50 for something you could make at home for 10p or so! What’s that all about!?? As I like to say..”you fu-coffee?”

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