Starbucks – the ultimate ‘Americanism’


Starbucks was founded in 1971, a single store in Seattle’s historic Pike Place Market. Its name was derived from the famous novel Moby Dick – echoing the romance of the high seas and the seafaring tradition of the early coffee traders

But to me, this world-dominating coffee chain resonates ‘all-things-American.’

I don’t know if it’s due to pop culture – all my favourite movie characters enjoying that classic cup of Joe, sipping at the iconic Starbucks takeaway cup – but to me, this cafe is where to drink to feel closer to Hollywood. One example that springs to mind is in the movie I am Sam, Sean Penn’s character working a wait staff in Starbucks.

However, I always felt let down with the Starbucks coffee shops back in New Zealand. I never felt that classic all-American feeling. I don’t know if it was because of the lack of beautiful artwork international outlets display, or the fact that the Kiwi’s tried too hard to put their own character into the stores – but my Hollywood-experience expectations were never fulfilled (plus I never thought the coffee was that good either!)

Then I moved to London, and my presumption about Starbucks has completely changed. Coming into Christmas, walking into a Starbucks is like walking onto a movie set. The decorations, season-branded merchandise and the cute take away cups make the experience heart-warming! Not to mention the Christmas-flavoured drinks; Gingerbread, Eggnog, Toffee Nut and Praline lattes – all tested, all delicious.


While I am more one to opt for the hidden away, unknown, one-link-chain cafes, I no longer avoid Starbucks with a 10 ft pole. In fact, I have embraced it, and look forward to many more catch up’s with my girls, grasping our snowmen cups while relaxing to classy Christmas tunes – what a way to put me in the spirit!


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