Judging Java: Pike’s Place

Written By Jake Dabkowski

2 ½ Globes out of 5


Most college-aged kids seem to be under the impression that all cups of coffee are the same, but in reality, not all coffee is created equal. In this column I will be reviewing the various coffee shops near Point Park University, all as part of my search to find the perfect cup of coffee.

Starbucks, it’s one of the most popular coffee shops in the world with over 30,000 stores worldwide. They may be the biggest name in coffee, but are they the best?

To answer that question in simple terms: absolutely not. Starbucks’ “Pikes Place Roast,” a darker blend with hints of cocoa and roasted nuts, is one of the most boring coffees I have had in my entire life. Everything about the cup was so plain and down the middle, so mind-numbingly mediocre, that it makes me wonder why so many people are so brand loyal to Starbucks.

My cup was brewed to a temperature of 200 degrees Fahrenheit, which is far too high for a cup of coffee to be brewed at. At that temperature, the beans get burnt and the flavor profile is ruined. I actually believe that the Pikes Place would be a good, no, a phenomenal cup of coffee, if it were being brewed by a company that valued quality over quantity.

From an aromatic standpoint, it smelled like a burnt sock. Most coffees, even cheap K-Cups you brew before an 8 a.m. class, have an inviting aroma to them. The smell, which would usually build your anticipation for the first sip, instead made me question whether or not this was even going to be worth drinking.

While I must admit that the drink “got the job done” in the sense that it was coffee, it is still an extremely bland cup, and is not something that I would recommend.

Furthermore, I believe that we, as a society, have lost our soul. We’ve sold out to these massive corporations, because we believe that it will give us some sort of identity. You should never buy a drink because of it’s branding, you should buy it because you genuinely like it. As Super Hans would say, “what you’re doing there is you’re drinking an advert.”

Unfortunately, most people eat the advertising up. Most people genuinely believe that a Starbucks coffee is the creme de la creme of coffees, peak of pour overs, the definitive decafs, the magnum opus of macchiatos, but it’s just so mediocre.

Starbucks coffee, ultimately, feels empty. Their drinks at one point had genuinely emotion put into them, but now, from the second you walk into the store to the last sip, it’s a branded experience. I’m not saying that Starbucks is bad, or that they make bad coffee. What I am saying is that they are the middle ground of coffee. Not bad enough that I have legitimate gripes with the cup, but at the same time featuring nothing to write home about.