Tag Archives: Starbucks

The Paper Cup Demise

-Tamara Feingold

There’s something about holding that venti-sized paper cup with a cardboard sleeve that I just can’t get enough of.

I’m not going to lie, I texted about five friends in panic when Starbucks updated its cup design last March without warning me. Needless to say, I’m a drip coffee with a little bit of half-and-half and Splenda connoisseur and there’s nothing that says “I’m ready for class” like a good strong cup o’ joe. It’s the last dirty little un-environmentally-friendly habit I’ve hung on to. I ride my bike, don’t use paper towels, and carry reusable grocery bags. I judge people with Hummers.

But when I walked into The Buzz coffeehouse on campus a couple of weeks ago, my usual twenty-ounce drip coffee was $2.75. A little steep for a black cup of java, right? Right. That’s because The Fishbowl, The Buzz, and Union Market have all adopted a new pricing plan:

Use a disposable paper cup: You pay the beverage price plus 50 cents

Use a reusable mug: You pay the beverage price minus 50 cents

As attached as I am to that status symbol of steaming joy, this new payment plan is irresistibly sensible. The concept, which is the result of a recent contest hosted in the EMU called Fifty for Five Thousand, includes all profits from the paper cup tax returning to future sustainability projects.

For those of you hoping to save some money without carting a travel mug around campus all day, fear not. There’s an Adopt-a-Mug program allowing students to use a mug stocked by the coffee shop.

What’s so wrong with an occasional paper cup of coffee, you ask? Usually, the coffee cups aren’t made from recycled paper and the plastic coating that keeps your beverage warm also means it ends up in a landfill. According to the Environment Action Association, Americans consume about 400 million cups of coffee per day, which is disturbingly comedic.

If nothing else can get to poor college students, it’s a raise in prices. Especially in coffee, which I consider to be vital to the finals/no sleep/early classes experience that is the University of Oregon.

For that reason, as I sit in The Buzz listening to The Black Keys I’m sipping out of my brand new, twelve ounce, stainless steel with a screw lid and mug full of piping hot coffee. And if I, a diehard daily paper cup fiend, can switch over, so can the rest of Eugene.

NOTE: 12 OZ coffee mug not recommended for true coffee drinkers. What was I thinking? Someone get me a 20 OZ for my birthday.

The Anti-Starbucks

-Jamie Hershman

On almost every corner of every street in the bustling city of Seattle, Washington, you will most likely find a coffee shop. And among the many coffee shops that inhabit Seattle, one of the most ubiquitous is Starbucks.

Starbucks is one of the best-known coffee shops nationwide. As a large corporation, I don’t associate the company as being a homey, community-oriented coffee shop. But the Starbucks corporation begs to differ:

  • “From the beginning, Starbucks set out to be a different kind of company. One that not only celebrated coffee and the rich tradition, but that also brought a feeling of connection.”

I don’t know how much of the “connection” I feel, though. When I walk into my neighborhood Starbucks, the baristas don’t know my name or my order, and because there are so many locations, I know that I can get my usual drink in whatever town, city, or state I’m in.

However, Starbucks does want to go back to its roots of being that unique and cozy coffee shop that it first set out to be when it opened in Seattle in 1971. To accomplish this, they set out on their mission to open secret locations in Seattle, known as “un-Starbucks

In an attempt to shy away from the corporate monster that Starbucks has transformed into, these anti-Starbucks are brand-free in everything, from the classic paper coffee cup to the well-known sign that hangs above every location. While all the coffee beans are solely Starbucks, there is no indication that it is a Starbucks corporation creation.

There is an “un-Starbucks” on Capitol Hill in Seattle named “Roy Street Coffee and Tea,” which is their second location so far. To make this location more original, the store is decorated with furniture from vintage and antique stores throughout Seattle and offers alternative baked goods from Essential Baking. There is also a drop-down screen for showing films.

But, do all these factors truly make “Roy Street Coffee and Tea” original? The secret has been revealed and was even being investigated before this location opened. So many Seattle citizens know about these secret Starbucks shops, that it isn’t such a big secret anymore.

This project does not hide the Starbucks brand, it simply puts on a show for the customers’ sake. The Starbucks corporation wants to prove that it cares about its customers’ love for coffee more than the brand. Yet, if people know they are walking into a secret Starbucks location, then there is an obvious brand name association.

No doubt, it was a smart business move to regain title of comfortable coffee house, but it also just shows how willing they are to trick customers who are looking for a one-of-a-kind coffee experience.