Saturday, September 27, 2008

'Bucks vs. 'Bou

If you are like me, you have your favorites when it comes to the big chains of coffee shops.

I tend to gravitate to Starbucks for the fun seasonal treats like the ultra-popular "grande" Pumpkin Spice / Gingerbread Latte but when it comes to the everyday coffee I can't pass up a "medium" from Caribou Coffee.

Starbucks is dark and super strong, Caribou is a bit smoother and less acidic. At Caribou you are welcomed by the warm glow of the rustic interiors, including complimentary fireplace while at Starbucks you can be wowed by the gorgeous promotional signage. Caribou sells the best dark-chocolate covered Graham crackers (in case you forgot to grab breakfast) while Starbucks offers adorable flaky petite vanilla scones (sold in 3's, one for you and two to share).

Unlike some of the independent coffee "peers" consistency is key; buy a double shot- skim- extra hot - americano with a shot of almond in Cleveland and in theory, it will taste the same in Boston, Chicago, LA and Paris! Like it or not, it's a formula, a small addition, a drug.

Both mega caffeine-pushers open early, stay open late and even have some morning holiday hours. They have local events, special tastings and more. Although I truly adore the Northeast Ohio Coffee Entrepreneurs, a cup of coffee from Starbucks and Caribou fits the bill any day with me.

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