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IMO a decent coffee shouldn't be more than about £2.50 (US$3.20; €2.80). That you paid US$5 (£3.92; €4.39) for a coffee is a bit ridiculous. I don't think it's four quid even on a plane!
I like Starbucks for consistency in flavor. You know what you order is what you are going to get.

Yep, I'll give them that...

I’ve ended up with naturally occurring flavor in the beans in independents that were off putting

I usually like that. "Essential oils" sounds like such foodie BS, but I can really taste the difference!

What I really find off-putting is the burnt flavor of Starbucks coffee. It's not subtle, it just tastes like burning. It's like the stuff from the Bunn-O-Matic we had at work 15 years ago, only packaged in a nice paper cup with a weird green mermaid on it.

Then i’m displeased I paid three to five dollars for something I can’t stand to drink.

That's why I just get black coffee. No frills, no milk, no cream, just coffee, black, high-test. I know what I expect, and I don't have to pay $5 getting one of those fancy Starbucks drinks that tastes like a diabetic squirrel's stool sample.

However, if i’m looking for company to avoid loneliness the independents are best for strike up conversations. The servers and atmosphere is usually more funky and less homogenized. There you’ll find a server with a tatto or piercing and not everyone is catching up on work from the office on a lap top or with their head in a book. A great independent with a large list of options made to perfection is a diamond and they will be marked in my mind with a permanent marker.

All of this.

Local coffee shops are the reasons why I drink coffee outside my own kitchen.

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