Sunday, October 04, 2009

No Mugs in La Jolla: One Thing They do Better in Europe

One of the things they do better in Europe than we do in the United States is the way they drink coffee: in mugs.

In Italy, of course, most coffee gets consumed at espresso bars entirely unlike the typical Starbucks, which drew its inspiration from Italy but has, in one of the great ironies of our, no stores in Italy.

But even in Swinging London, where you can find an entirely American-looking Starbucks on what seems like every streetcorner, unless you ask for one to “take away” you’ll get your coffee, or latte, or triple-yadda-yadda, in a ceramic mug—not a throwaway cup with a plastic lid, a recycled-paper sleeve and one of those thin plastic swizzle-stick-thingies to plug the hole in the lid and bottle up the heat.

Only in America do we provide what amounts to a portable, throwaway thermos every time somebody picks up a cup of coffee.

So ingrained is the “do what I say, not what I do” environmental culture in these United States that right here in La Jolla, California the local Starbucks can’t even provide one large coffee mug for use in its store.

“We’re out,” the manager behind the counter says. “I have to order more.”

So the Starbucks customer must take the portable throwaway thermos bottle, even to just sit in the store and drink a cup of coffee.

We’ll have more observations in these pages on what they do better in Europe, but for now, the way they serve their coffee is one of them.

Jeff Matthews
I Am Not Making This Up

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babar ganesh said...

the coffee is better, too, in general.

there are exceptions to both my and your observation, but you won't find them at starbucks.

Anonymous said...

The best place to drink coffee in La Jolla is Pannikin. The coffee will be served in a mug, unless you ask for it "to go." They have cute areas to lounge in and the coffee tastes better than starbucks, too.

Anonymous said...

Starbucks use to have mugs, I am talking over a decade ago. The local Starschmucks near me claimed that the water to wash the mugs was wasteful...I guess garbage is better...than wasting water.

Myron Cope said...

This is just another example of the psuedo-environmentalism that allows practitioners a smug feeling, but only causes inconvenience. The same is true of the banning of disposable bags at the grocery. If you really want to help the planet, spay and neuter your humans. Anyhow, most espressed coffee is swill - french press is the only way to go.

smithycroftman said...

Would it just be badness to say healthcare?

Joe Keller said...

How about walking into grand rail stations to choose virtually any destination you'd like?

Jeff Matthews said...

Joe Keller has, inadvertantly, spilled the beans on what was going to be the more important observation of this series: the European rail system.

Expect Part II shortly...and thanks, Joe.


Joe Keller said...

You're welcome!

Look forward to your usual cogent take on things.

Traveling by train in Europe is a high pleasure, and the meals can be exquisite.

I take my 4 1/2 year old to the Rail Museum in the next town over every couple of weeks and we spend hours in the many antique engines and cars they're accumulated.

They used to have an exhibit detailing places you could travel to from Danbury, Ct, home of this museum...pretty much the entire northeast...hundreds of towns and cities. Just 60 years ago.

Anonymous said...

I'll take the American west. We do empty spaces better.

Anonymous said...

Pain au chocolat.