I’m devastated. Borders in Honolulu is converting their in-store cafes into little Starbucks. I like the Borders cafes. I go there all the time. They actually have half-decent food there. Plus, it’s not Starbucks. I would flee to Barnes & Nobles except they converted to Starbucks a few years ago too. I’m not jumping on the anti-Starbucks bandwagon either. I used to work for a very good coffee house. In truth, the coffee at Borders isn’t that great either, but IMHO it still tastes better than the sugar bombs they sell at Starbucks. There are very few good coffee houses left in Honolulu. Many of them attempt to do coffee the Starbucks way, which bums me out. I think it has to do with the way espresso drinks are marketed now. It’s all about caffeine and temporary energy to go than flavor and presentation. You see it all the time – espresso drinks made with ultra expensive “premium beans” masked by massive amounts of sugar, milk and various flavors like chocolate and caramel. Come on. Premium beans? Espresso has traditionally been the reject beans. You can take just about anything and roast it to death and you get espresso. You can’t taste the difference, and that was the whole point. It’s not a gourmet bean, but it’s the starting point for a great drink. Don’t pay more for gourmet expresso beans! However, you can make great coffee from espresso, but a large part of it used to be the presentation. How else could you justify charging $3 for a cup of coffee? That used to be considered outrageous. I had to work to sell espresso because no one could understand why they should pay so much. But the whole idea was to provide something of an experience, not just coffee and streamed milk. For instance, I used to be very into latte art. If you got coffee from me, you got something just a little bit cooler than you might have expected. To see a triple cappuccino unceremoniously dumped into a paper cup then given to me over the counter as someone shouts my name makes me hate coffee just a little bit more every day. Ugh. I hate you Starbucks.