Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Food Show 08

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  • Jono Baddiley,

    It's funny cos it's true

    My wife (a woman in her own right, obviously) felt very vindicated when the starbucks that opened next to the fuel coffee cart on the terrace in welly shut down several months later.

    Wellington may miss many things, but one thing it doesn't have a lack of is coffee snobs

    Wellytron • Since Mar 2008 • 11 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    I digress into seriousness for a moment, I also try not to buy factory farmed pork. Compared to the free range ones we have they are nothing when it comes to flavour, and pigs are not meant to be kept in little cages. I love watching over the fence as our happy and friendly pigs go about their tasty business.

    I also no longer buy chicken that has not been been free-range farmed - it seems to have shot up in fat content in recent years and now its all fat. Might as well eat a duck.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2213 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    Crickey Che, S&M and a Lamington! What higher homage to our English heritage could you pay?

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2213 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    When Starbucks launched in Australia and New Zealand, glaringly absent from their basic coffee menu were the Australasian cafe staples: the long black and flat white.

    Eventually they relented and added them. But why weren't they there from the start? Did they not research the market? Did they assume that antipodean cafe dwellers just needed to be introduced to the pleasures of a thin, frothy Starbucks latte?

    No wonder they're having trouble down under.

    ¡Scorchio! A Fast Show reference from Ms Gallagher.

    Yay! Someone noticed!

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    What's the real reaon behind the hatred of Starbucks? ... What it's really about is old-fashioned coffee snobbism.

    Not that there's anything wrong with that, though, right? I mean, so long as you're bothering to have a coffee, it ought to be good coffee. (the unimpeachable logic of the Lavazza slogan in the old country: Il caffè è un piacere / Se non è buono, che piacere è?)

    But really, what's there to like about Starbucks? We are blessed with excellent local cafès and eateries; why choose to patronise a foreign-owned chain which is not good at making the only thing it ought to make well? I wouldn't call that hatred myself.

    Besides, if it fails here will shall be spared the sinister phase two of the operation.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    Hey, this is sort of cruel and unusual punishment for those of us who haven't had lunch yet!

    I agree with the comments about coffee snobbery--the assumption that drinking coffee somehow makes you a more interesting sort of person. Give me a decent cup of tea any day!

    There is an interesting story in Yarrows. My old dad used to own a little bakery in the South Taranaki town of Hawera (I still remember the crusty pies he made), until he was bought out by Yarrows, on their way to something bigger (Manaia is a short drive from Hawera).

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2539 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    What's the real reaon behind the hatred of Starbucks? I suggest that its democratization of coffee opened access to gourmet coffee for the rabble, not the shitty coffee itself.

    But that didn't happen here at all. There were flat whites being served the length of SH1 by the time Starbucks arrived, and a lot of local roasting going on. People were genuinely shocked by the quality of the coffee when Starbucks turned up.

    Remember when the Starbucks president came here and dissed the local coffee as "green and a little bitter"?

    People weren't impressed.

    I've resorted to Starbucks in several countries, and it's varied from acceptable (Singapore) to vile (London). But it clearly fills a different role in the US -- I was the odd one out amongst my travelling companions in actually drinking coffee, rather than those weird concoctions of semi-solid fat they sell.

    As if the boycotters of SB really care about exposing another evil brand. What it's really about is old-fashioned coffee snobbism.

    Er, well, yeah. If you mean preferring better coffee ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22758 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    why choose to patronise a foreign-owned chain which is not good at making the only thing it ought to make well?

    patronise them if what you want is "a coffee-flavoured beverage".

    on the subject of snobbery though, i think 'snobbery' is prefering something because you think it's better than other alternatives.

    the thing is though, we don't merely think our coffee is better, we think it's normal. starbucks have in effect introduced an inferior product to a market that has established a minimal benchmark.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • Hamboy,

    Starbucks has never been cool in New Zealand, except perhaps to kids who should really still have been drinking milkshakes. It might play its role in more meagre coffee markets, but here it's strictly for dorks and tourists.

    Exactly, that's why here in CHCH their cafes are only in the square, where the tourists hang out and in the malls where the kids hang out.

    Last year, when I was working in town and stopped off at the coffee stand, the barrista was talking about an interview she had just given to an american tv crew, making a tourist programme.
    She was complaining because the interviewer was trying to get her to say that Starbucks created our coffee culture. She kept trying to correct him, but he just didn't wanna know.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 162 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    as for oil, for cooking, use anything

    Sort of. Virgin oil lacks much of the nutritional goodness of extra virgin, and olive pomace oil is muck that actually no one should eat.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22758 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    What's the real reaon behind the hatred of Starbucks? I suggest that its democratization of coffee opened access to gourmet coffee for the rabble, not the shitty coffee itself

    Except that in NZ, good coffee was already democratised. The facts just don't support your smear.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1713 posts Report Reply

  • dyan campbell,

    Coffee snobbery, slightly sillier but four times more tedious than wine snobbery (at least wine gets you drunk) but neither are anywhere near as bad as olive oil snobbery.Its oil. From olives. I get it.

    Dude, have you no palate??!??

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 595 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    I also no longer buy chicken that has not been been free-range farmed - it seems to have shot up in fat content in recent years and now its all fat. Might as well eat a duck.

    Except a duck would have more flavour.

    Most chicken now has the same flavour as tofu.

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 830 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    Tom - some of us are on the same wave length.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    i should add that i don't hate starbucks, but neither do i buy their product.

    actually, this chain makes me think of some of my first coffee experiences. back in 92 i was working at a place called 'expresso love' on ponsonby road. there the trick was not to pull a perfect crema, but instead to froth the milk stiffly, with many small bubbles.

    the cappacino could then have a *pile* of froth on it, like a little cinnamon-dusted pyramid.

    now there's a retro something i'm looking forward to rolling around again.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • Jim Cathcart,

    Think about people. You get decent coffee in Whangarei for chrissakes. Don't go telling me that Whangarei's rich food culture is whooly based on homegrown creativity and shininess. Outside influences are largely responsible, and SB has played its part by at least making it accessible (unlike the duanting "face control" of Auckland and Wellington cafe culture). The whole coffee clique is immature NZ cosmopolitanism gone wrong, like BMWs with personalized number plates.

    Since Nov 2006 • 228 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Sort of. Virgin oil lacks much of the nutritional goodness of extra virgin, and olive pomace oil is muck that actually no one should eat.

    I assumed that the meaning was any extra virgin olive oil, you'd be mad to consume any other kind (and the difference in price among a budget pure olive oils and a budget extra virgin is risible - less than pure, you might as well use car oil).

    My GP back home, who was both 30 years behind and ahead of his time, it seems, was a proponent of using dripping for deep frying, and he claimed that it was healthier. I forget his explanation now, but whenever I make apple pancakes or chiacchiere I follow the advice to the letter, on account of the fact that he was always right about everything else.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Darlington,

    What's the real reason behind the hatred of Starbucks?

    Those creepy huge mugs that they serve coffee in. That sh*t just ain't right.

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 948 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    You get decent coffee in Whangarei for chrissakes.

    I've had perfectly good coffee in a ton of NZ towns way smaller than Whangarei. If you tell that it was a wasteland before SB, I'll take your word for it. Hopefully yours will stay open then.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    Hang on. Done right its pretty damn good.

    It might be. But our food culture didn't used to be about doing it right - it was about serving up meat and three veg because that was the food culture we had imported from Britain, and we didn't know any better. Now we have choice, and a food culture which recognises quality and which is unashamed to steal and synthesise. And those are very good things compared to the culinary desert we used to live in.

    (I should also throw some snark at false contrast between British cuisine (if you can call it that) and "imported foreign muck". To point out the obvious, British food is just as imported and nowdays just as foreign. Despite the pretensions of monarchists and the Wizard of Christchurch/Oamaru, we ain't "British" anymore...)

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1713 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    What's the real reaon behind the hatred of Starbucks? I suggest that its democratization of coffee opened access to gourmet coffee for the rabble, not the shitty coffee itself. As if the boycotters of SB really care about exposing another evil brand. What it's really about is old-fashioned coffee snobbism.

    I think most coffee lovers would probably be ecstatic if Starbucks really did deliver gourmet coffee to the "rabble". Imagine that river of quality beans flowing into the country, bringing decent java to every shopping mall and block of shops in the nation. The sheer power of that market demand! And there'd still be independent places dealing in more exotic varieties, as the bar for 'connoisseur' status rose over time.

    Of course, what Starbucks actually delivers is the shitty coffee you mentioned about six words later, so any argument about snobbism versus true coffee-loving is pretty academic. And hey, it seems the filthy proles are finding that they can get a slightly more drinkable cup of coffee at far lower prices at McCafe, rather than paying outrageous amounts for product even they know is hugely inferior. Who woulda thunk it?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1609 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Darlington,

    Outside influences are largely responsible, and SB has played its part by at least making it accessible (unlike the duanting "face control" of Auckland and Wellington cafe culture).

    I don't see how SB has made coffee 'accessible' any more than I can understand how terrifying it is for ordinary people to go in to cafe?

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 948 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    You get decent coffee in Whangarei for chrissakes.

    i had a damn good coffee in dargaville during the summer before last.

    and not a starbucks within 100km.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    The whole coffee clique is immature NZ cosmopolitanism gone wrong

    Not wishing to disappoint Jim, there was a kilo of Eden beans in my letterbox when I got up this morning. Nyah nyah nyah.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    I don't see how SB has made coffee 'accessible' any more than I can understand how terrifying it is for ordinary people to go in to cafe?

    In much the same way as McDonalds democratised our local burger market, freeing those poor souls who trembled at the snobbish fascism of lunch bars and fish and chipperies.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1609 posts Report Reply

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