Heather’s Coffee Stop versus Starbucks

For years I have been a coffee snob.  We started ordering chocolate with our coffee back in the late 70s.  Had to have our mocha fix, and back then there just wasn’t a coffee shop on every corner.  We were lucky to have a few coffee shops in the Tacoma, Gig Harbor area.  They were not like the espresso stands of today.  You were really lucky if you could get a muffin with your coffee.

I don’t remember when the tipping point occurred and espresso went from a few bean geeks to the popular in thing to do.  But it is popular.  And the quality ranges the whole gambit from AWESOME to absolute dreck.  I tend to shoot for the best average when picking the supplier for my addiction.  I look at several issues:

  1. Is the coffee good (50%)
  2. Are the people personable (25%)
  3. Is the atmosphere relaxing (25%)

As with most analysis it helps to have some simple rules regarding the sample set.  Throw out the highest sample (unless they are all high – and well then you have found nirvana) and the lowest sample. 

There are exceptions.  If a stand has great coffee but the personality is offensive – write it off.  For example, I find it offensive when people use lack of clothing to sell coffee.  This says to me you want to drink our pedestrian sludge so you can look at women.  Get a life, get a room, don’t care – just don’t push poor grind by selling sex. 

So this brings me back to which coffee purveyors I utilize.  I go to Starbucks and Heather’s coffee stop.  I go to them for very different reasons.

Starbucks (sit and relax)

  1. Coffee: 65%
  2. People: 75%
  3. Atmosphere 95%
  4. Aggregate score: 75% (remember the first one weighs double)

I go to Starbucks because the coffee is acceptable.  They have wireless so I can get work done.  The decor is usually relaxing and easy for me to enjoy the coffee and the ambiance.  If the atmosphere were not 95% I would likely not go to Starbucks.

Heather’s Coffee (driving to work)

  1. Coffee: 90%
  2. People: 95%
  3. Atmosphere 25%
  4. Aggregate score: 75% (remember the first one weighs double)

I go to Heather’s because they offer great coffee at a great price and the baristas are enjoyable.  They know our drinks, our names and enough about our family to make a quick conversation at the drive through window enjoyable. 

Also, Heathers is about 15% cheaper than Starbucks and they offer a prepaid $25.00 coffee card for $20.00.  Net is fun, quick and far cheaper than Starbucks.  But it is a drive through.


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