Monday, July 7, 2008

Coffee Bean vs. Starbucks

Hands down, I’m a Coffee Bean gal. I love grabbing my free copy of the Star Bulletin, sitting on the long leather couch, and logging in to my free one hour internet service-- just enough time to check my email and ease into my work.

What I love about Coffee Bean:

Gourmet styled desserts: Red velvet cupcake, carrot cake, assorted pastries as well as their Hawaiian specialties: Lilikoi Mac Nut Bar, Coconut Pineapple Bread Pudding; Haupia Azuki Bean Brioche.

Art at the Bean - Here in Hawaii, each branch features rotating exhibits of paintings and photographs by local artists. I like this month’s contemporary watercolor pieces by Frances Hill. (

Free ‘Beans: Daily copies of the Star Bulletin, one hour of Wi-Fi access, and samples of three selected teas.

Tea Selection: As someone who doesn’t drink coffee, I appreciate their assortment of hot teas, Ice Blended drinks, and Fru’ Teas infusions. This summer’s special: Pina Colada Ice Blended.

Better Music & Lighting—Light pop-alternative, picture windows and numerous recessed lighting give a spacious open feel. Definitely not loud, dark and sleepy as Starbucks.

Food Selection: Broccoli quiche, pesto pasta, assorted wraps, smoked salmon on bagel and beautifully presented gourmet confections (vs. standard Starbucks sandwiches, salads and muffins and scones). My usuals: Granola and milk (oatmeal with macadamia nuts and coconut shavings), Orzo pasta and Salmon fettuccini. Favorite flavored tea is TBD.

A Feminine Touch
—Lightwood panels and furniture, curved architecture and furnishings, and dainty colors and designs of drink mugs and accessories (vs. Starbucks’ masculine bent—dark wood décor, and angular furniture and designed coffee goods). Overall, my theory is that Coffee Bean is catered to the tastes of women and Starbucks to that of men. Let me know what you think.

As a side note, Starbucks has been publicly criticized for their abuse of fair-trade policies and use of imperialistic marketing tactics (e.g. buying out local mom and pops and converting them into chain stores). On the upside, they do use recycled paper products. And in Hawaii they financial support local charities and community organizations.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Karen, nice entry to your blog. I like the free newspaper and wifi too. FYI register your starbucks gift card and you get one hour of free wifi at any and all starbucks daily. I'm soooo sleepy. Cody has been keeping us from a good nights rest.
hope you are having fun with your parents.