The Push It Good Cafe

I took a survey about coffee for a marketing firm that is branding and naming a new coffee maker. The questions centered on word associations and emotions having to do with coffee. I was tested on all the old favorites: rich, bold, robust, smooth, black. One of the words to be ranked, on a scale from 1-10, was "sassy." I ranked sassy a one, one being the lowest on the scale. I don't like the word sassy and I don't want sassy coffee. Or do I?

I'm a Starbucks fanatic. Love the product, love my friendly neighborhood baristas and I'm wild about the psychology-of-a-cult-insider behavioral stuff they do to me by requiring me to use their lingo. Triple Grande Non-fat Latte, how I love to speak thy name. But I do have a big complaint about the typical Starbucks experience. I dislike the mood of their stores.

Someone decided a long time ago that the modern coffee experience should be a throw-back to some imagined coffeehouse utopia of wood paneling and slow jazz. Starbucks took that faded image and sanitized it. The stores are studies in blandness, with caramel colored walls and indistinct lighting, faux-wood laminate shelving and focus-group designed murals. The prissy-folk-meets-drippy-jazz music puts me to sleep.

It's time for Starbucks - or a competitor, if there is such a thing - to get sassy. How about a coffeehouse experience that is as energizing as a double espresso? How about some loud colors and louder dance music? Let's see some people bouncing off the fucking walls. I would totally allow myself to be indoctrinated into ordering a Tres Wham Slammin Sassilatte in such a place.

Not Stacy


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