Photo: David Fowler
Photo: David Fowler

My coffee has aftertaste

by - Story: 38792

She says:

We talked last week about the idea of food snobs and how the youth of today might be spoiled with all the exotic fusion fare and specialty artisanal products. It seemed that perhaps we were just experiencing an evolution. That got me to thinking about the difference between hip underground discoveries and mainstream trends, and how the two often connect. But does that mean that every little cult following has to grow up to become a mass marketed item that most times loses its cool?

Perhaps the poster child of this phenomenon is Starbucks Coffee houses. First they were the Pacific Northwest star, creating a cult around coffee that although it did have a mainstream effect was very much a “club” sort of feel. Of course there are many folks who like to stick to the neighbourhood places, and if nothing else you could argue that is just good competition. In the beginning though, Starbucks still had some unique qualities too – like the music they played. They used the power of a bigger organization to develop their own label and produced CDs that had a unique feel. Born was an underground trend that created another buzz besides the coffee. However, as the popularity increased and the Starbucks locations expanded to almost every corner, the music like everything else has become more mainstream and less unique. Enter the concept of pleasing everyone all the time… or is it catering to the lowest common denominator?

I suppose that you can take solace in knowing that there are these big box concepts now in many industries and in a way, they allow the very little places to continue to exist just by being so mundane. As long as there are people like you and I who want some variety in life, who want to be excited and surprised at least once in a while, well then there will be little corner coffee shops who still play unheard-of music and have local art on the walls. Maybe the place we go to will be bought out by Starbucks but in its place around the corner a new one will spring up. It’s just like the forces of Nature that bring the swallows back to Capistrano it is the way of the world.

As we get older we tend to wax nostalgic and pine for things the way they were. Perhaps this kind of thing is a lesson to us: we shouldn’t look back but rather look forward. Don’t pine for the old coffee shop that “grew up” – look for the new one that has opened and support their efforts to be cool and unique. Maybe if we can remember not to grow old but to keep some of the youthful magic that allows us to enjoy quirky things, then some of those little places wouldn’t have to grow up… or maybe that is just too idealistic.

He says:

Living on the Westside, our favorite place is the Matterhorn Bakery. They serve a good quality cup of coffee and their pastries are very simple and very tasty.

Last year, we went to USA and happened to see one of those Super Wal-Marts like they are building on The Westside so we stopped and visited that giant store just like we would visit the ZOO. Well actually it was very much like the ZOO. We saw some big things, ugly things and even things that should be in the jungle. We came out of that store blown away by the sheer size of it but mostly by all the crap they are trying to sell us by naming it gourmet or artisan. Let’s make something absolutely clear: there is nothing gourmet or artisan about a store that mass produces food. They are a good store for toilet paper because not many small shops specialize in only selling TP.

I like progress as much as the next guy, but I am very disappointed that a Super Wal-Mart was the best thing that the city of Westbank could find! I wonder how much thought was put into how many small shops will close because of Wal-Mart opening in Westbank. Trendy or not, I will keep supporting the small local food establishments and keep Wal-Mart for TP!

Good luck to all the small shops in town, and if you run into trouble, just call your local mayor, she would love to hear from you.

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About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."


E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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