I look at my coffee drinking habits, and I’ve come to the conclusion that the key factor in where I go for coffee boils down to one thing: convenience. On my way to work, I can usually be found getting coffee at one of three places: Sharrif’s at the Rose Quarter Transit Center, Coffee Max at the Gateway Transit Center, or Starbucks in the US Bank Tower. All three coffee places have excellent service. They’re all expedient. As far as coffee goes, Sharrif’s leaves a little to be desired, Starbucks is, well, Starbucks. and Coffee Max is excellent. The deciding factor in where I get my coffee is always about where am I transferring buses and/or trains. If I’m transferring downtown, its Starbucks. If its at the Rose Quarter, its Sharrif’s. If its at Gateway, its Coffee Max. Simple enough, considering I really don’t have any choice. But then again, I do have choices.
As I mentioned, the coffee at Sharrif’s is the worst of the three and Coffee Max is the best. If I’m going to Sharrif’s, I’m usually riding a blue line, and nine times out of ten, I can just as easily catch a red or green line to Gateway, get better coffee, and still make it to work on time – and yet I don’t. I don’t want to take the extra train, I don’t want to get off and get back on, I don’t want to find another seat. It wouldn’t even cost me any more time – but it is still more convenient for me to get my coffee at Sharrif’s.
I consider myself a coffee snob. If you put a cup of single origin coffee in front of me, I could probably tell you what part of the globe said coffee comes from. I’ve actually imported coffee from Indonesia (though only a small amount and only for my own use). I’m determined to, when I have the time, roast my own beans. And yet so much of my coffee intake is based on convenience, not taste. Even in the times when I seemingly have no other options, there are options. Like I said before – I could hop a second train to get to Coffee Max. If I left my house a little beforehand, I could walk the four blocks to Albina Press and get coffee there! Heck, there’s several options – all better than either Sharrif’s or Starbucks. And yet, these two options are at times the most convenient and thus what I go for. My reputation as a coffee snob is at stake here!
But its more than my coffee snobbery at stake – there’s also the fact that I believe in fair trade coffees. When I go for second rate coffee, its usually not fair trade. So, when I go to Starbucks – I am a hypocrite! Sure, they offer some fair trade blends, but not too many. In all likelihood what they have as their bold coffee of the day (which is what I order) is not one of their fair trade offerings. Its starting to become a matter of conscience to me. If I truly believe in buying fair trade coffees, then I need to start looking past the convenience factor!
Today is Friday. On Fridays after work, I usually go grab a bowl of curry, and then go to a certain Starbucks and watch last night’s “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation” viaHulu . Today, I am going to alter that course of action. Just across the street is a coffee shop that serves fair trade coffees. I can watch my shows there instead, adn my pallete will no doubt thank me for my decision.