04 October 2009

Coffee, by country

Asia is not a coffee-drinking continent, at all. The prevalence and success of coffee shops in the region is more a bandwagon do-the-Western-thing fuel trend than a genuine growth of coffee drinkers. My breakdown of my coffee drinking

- Bangkok:
- Never had I imagine Dunkin' Donuts can be butchered up. I'm mortified.
- Starbucks actually tastes like Starbucks, even with the crazy soy-substitute, half-this, dab-o-that concoction you want.
- Chiang Mai:
- Coffeeshops are the center of social life in this city.
- But it all tastes like cream and sugar with a drop of coffee.

All American influences bedamned. They drink powered sugar drinks for coffee. It even puts the International Coffee tins to shame. For what it's worth, those powder packets are addictive. I think it's the sugar high that does it for me.

The exception to the rule. After all Sumatra and Java carry meanings to coffee drinkers. Also, this home to the Kopi Luwak. Herein lies the new meaning to drinking "crap coffee," available in standard supermarkets all over the country, albeit expensively. The regular brewed coffee, it's enough for me. Strong, fresh, and fragrant, a good cuppa is a sure guarantee here.

You're kidding, right?

Home of many teas. Good fresh whole beans are impossible to find, despite the prevalence of $200 espresso and coffee makers and grinders. Coffee is seriously yuppy-tised to the point of making me cringe. However, in all fairness, the huge percentage of middle and uper class citizens being educated in Western universities has brought back a class of coffee drinkers who may not know how to get good coffee but do drink a cup in the morning at home and recognise a well-brewed cup when they encounter one.

They don't know what brewed coffee is. Coffee comes in some espresso combination- latte, cappuccino, mocha, frappe... oh, wait, that's the Starbucks menu.

All in all, we're seeing the Starbucks education of Asia. Personally, I dislike Starbucks. As a corporation, they impress me. Their coffee to me, though, is foul. Overroasted to the point of tasing like charcoal, the coffee is not worth the price the store charges. I love their cafe concept, with tables and chairs to lounge in, allowing a customer the choice of lingering over a cup like the Italians, or rushing with a tall cup to go like an American and I'm glad many companies have picked up that model.

But, what's a girl gotta do to get a nice cuppa joe around here?

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