This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Not Starbucks

I am adding another category to the right side of my blog: coffee shops that are not Starbucks. This is part of the Support Local program I follow, among other philosophical ideology that I follow.

I wrote about this before so I may threepeat myself in this post.

But Starbucks is a conglomerate that operates a zillion coffee houses across the world. And it seems everyone and their 16 year olds love it.


The coffee is good? Yes. But you know what? It's the same taste in every country. It's like eating McDonald's. The burger tastes the same no matter where you eat it.

Aren't people curious to see how the locals brew their coffee? For instance, if I go to LaShish for lunch, I have a Turkish coffee. It's a wonderful espresso like coffee that is sweet and delightfully strong. I can't get that at Starbucks.

But even if you don't venture to Turkey to try their style of coffee, we have a very good selection right here in the Triangle. I haven't even tried ALL the possibilities that I could but I will share the knowledge that I have.

Remember, there are enough people who are superficially aware of Starbucks and have their "I am cool. I drink Starbucks. See? My recyclable paper coffee cup says so." These are the MAJORITY. And Starbucks will live, without me drinking there. But these local places? They have pride in their fare. And they barely survive. At least two of these places have gone through different owners. I'm thankful that there are other folks who share a passion to support local coffee houses. But they won't survive if we don't support them.

New World Coffee House, 4112-124 Pleasant Valley Rd., Raleigh
This was $Bill's place because for years, he lived right by it. He often mentioned the White Lightning's he would purchase from here and occasionally, we'd meet here after a run. And while I won't take away his ownership, it has now become my place, since I now live right by it.

It's a small, eclectic place. Brightly painted, with local artwork on display. It serves food that is quite tasty, free wifi, smoothies that my girls love, and some pastries. They sell and use Larry's Beans, which not only promotes Fair Trade Coffee but is also right here in Raleigh. Local supporting local. Who could ask for anything more?

BTW, I highly recommend the White Lightning.

Java Jive
, 919 North Harrison Avenue and 2425 Kildaire Farm Road, Cary
I have gone only to the Harrison Avenue location. At one time, this was *the* place to go to after a Saturday morning run. There are not enough seats to house the tired butts of several runners, but we huddled around as best as we could, sipping on either a White Chocolate Mocha or Liquid Brownie.

The Harrison Avenue location has a drive-thru too. When I want a coffee while at work (one of few times I'll be in Cary), I drive the extra mile to grab one from here than the Starbucks across the street.

Royal Bean Coffee House, 3801-137 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh
This is where my book club meets. I couldn't have asked for a better meeting place. Think of the TV show Friends, but a more open, wider space. Royal Bean has big chairs and sofas, where they don't frown upon us book club attendees moving them around to get us all together, to intimately discuss our book for about 15 minutes than on to other topics!

Free wifi, board games to borrow, TVs, pastries, sandwiches, are also offered. There is a frequent coffee program that houses your card right there at the register.

I have also enjoyed a great mocha at The Cary Cafe. Abdul may not be your typical barista, but he can make it fast and yummy. It is worth a stop for a Saturday breakfast or brunch to have him whip up one of his coffee drinks for you.

None of these taste like Starbucks. And none of these coffee houses taste the same. They all have a version of white chocolate mochas and they all taste superb in their own way.

Remember, I am your friend and "Friends don't let friends drink Starbucks".


  1. This post was for me, wasn't it? :) I do love Royal Bean, and I'll have to try Java Jive. I'll try to branch out a bit, K? BTW, McDonald's hamburgers SOOOO don't taste the same everywhere. They are AWFUL in London! ;)

  2. HI Ann,

    You are right, it's not the same everywhere. I was trying to be more metaphoric. McDonald's in the Philippines (Manila, circa 1981) was HEAVENLY. I don't want to know what was in their hamburger meat.