August 1st, 2010
I walked into Campus Market today, hoping to get a nice cup of Fair Trade Coffee from Julians as well as some fresh bakery for lunch. Nor very healthy, but I need to eat. Everything healthy on campus during the weekend is expensive. Besides, I feel like coffee today.
Then I saw red, then I saw Seattle’s Best Coffee. Coffee-flavor-wise, I like Settle Coffee, more than Starbuck (even though I know they are now under one company), but not more than Coffeebeans & Tea or Peets. Service-wise, CB&T and Seattle top over Peets and Starbuck for me. Policy-wise, I like Starbuck the best, because they really broadcast support for environmentalism, fair trade, and good employee treatment – at lease overall, as I know that corporation can’t take care every store perfectly.
Yet, I was disappointed at the switch, because I had missed Julian and the ice cream that they use to have in the Cal Poly UU, before it was replace by Starbuck. I rarely goes there now, unless I have a Green Frappuccino urge – I am very much a loyal Americano fan. A dap of half-half/whole milk, then a powder of chocolate, and no sugar. Occasionally I switch to coffee if it’s busy hour, since I know the coffee will be fresh. As a result, I don’t frequent Starbuck too much, whose trademark is really the flavored coffee, Frappuccino (AKA liquid ice cream), and sweet Americanized desert (Things like scones and biscotti was originally harder, so you can soak them in coffee. Many US stores have very sweet and soft desert, which I don’t really care for).
Besides, if I want Starbuck, I would want to go to a real Starbuck store without all the noise and the sits at the small, dark corner of the store. If I want Settle, I would want to go to Borders and buys a nice flavored coffee while reading stacks of books like Hermione from Harry Potter.
As the years went by, the Cal Poly dining is switching more to artificial corporate base sweets and coffee. I don’t mind them – I like Seattle, I like Starbuck, I like plastic packaged cookies that are fresh and don’t have flies around them.
I just don’t want to go to a grocery store at Cal Poly. I want to go to a dining store while working in delirious state from my studio. A warm, home-feel store, instead of the 24 hour grocery store that has nothing special – and in this case overprice. There were many things I like about the Campus Market that urge me to visit there in the middle of the day… the smiling old man behind the counter that says hi every time, the local fair trade coffee that I know where it is from, the old fashion glass pot that smokes when filled and gets change when empty, the times when I observe the worker rushing over to refill to the coffee pot and I say a thank you to them, the unpacked desert that changes every once in a while and almost always fresh, and changing food choices that make me pause and think about my choices with other Cal Poly students doing the same, the glass sliding door that I or another student pulled open and then leave it open for the student behind us, the way I just grab a wax paper to grab the piece of 98 cent donut I want, the time I ask the person behind the desk about what is that piece of bakery is……
Now we have Seattle Coffee in the new self-serve pumping coffee machine, where you see the coffee in a small glass window.
Now we have the standard set of coffee choice – most likely the house blend, breakfast, and decaf.
Now we have Crowboy cookies in plastic package that have the consistent flavor and choice.
We have the bagels in a glass case that holds the label of Einstein Bros.
No more surprise bakery choice. No more random flavored coffee. No more strange fair trade coffee that come from exotic locations that I can’t pronounce.
It’s efficient. It’s clean. It’s modern. It’s universal. It is a pretty decent gas station store.
There are many things that changed in the Campus Market that I do like, but then there is some that I will always miss. The coffee in each store is different. They are made with different coffee beans, made from different region, different soil and water, different equipment. The people that greet you are different, the cup you use are different, the choice you are presented are different. The atmosphere is different with each store – even under one company.
I brought my purchase to the cashier, who is standing in the new coffee station. As I made my purchase, I found it strange that I don’t smell the strong scent of coffee or sweet that I was used to.
At the end of my trip, I walked out with a Strawberry Yogurt Parfait. Somehow, I don’t feel like I want that cup of coffee anymore.