Starbucks Knockoffs

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Tempting lawsuits seems like it is all a part of the game. There have cropped up some interesting Starbucks knockoffs around the world that I’d like to share.

Starlight Coffee


Where? Santiago, Chile… down the street from a real Starbucks

Decor inside is spot on as well

Via Boing Boing

This one is far more interesting unusual. Not even coffee. It’s a pet store - bugs only.

Starbugs Beetles

Where? Danshui, Taipei County Taiwan


Proprietors of Ethiopian only coffee - all in the midst of a Starbucks-like decor, green aprons, green logo, and more.

Where? Addis Abbaba, Ethiopia

Why? Partnership into Starbucks was denied. The region is filled with knockoffs that, in many cases, spring up because of a refusal of US investment. They show proof of a growing economy. The Kaldi’s shops also include waiters and ample parking for drive in service, which are a part of the new affluent society that likes to be treated well when out.

via Boing Boing and Addis Ababa Journal

She said she did not feel the least bit guilty about her imitation cafe. After all, legend has it that coffee itself originated in Ethiopia long ago when a goat herder named Kaldi noticed his goats prancing around with glee after eating some strange red berries. Yemen, just across the Red Sea, makes its own claim as the birthplace of coffee. Whatever the case may be, one thing is clear: coffee did not originate in Seattle.

Ms. Asrat has the history of Kaldi printed on the wall of her cafe, proudly promoting the Ethiopian roots of her product. But even there Starbucks was the inspiration. Ms. Asrat acknowledges that she knew nothing about the legend of Kaldi until she read about him on the Starbucks Web site.Addis Ababa Journal

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Smashing coffee mugs

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King5 had the news a while back about the Vancouver, WA mayor, Royce E. Pollard, smashing coffee mugs in an aim to get some respect. But, it’s a little more dramatic than that.

The mayor didn’t find what he wanted at one Starbucks in Oregon, so went to another. There, he purchased 2 Portland mugs for about $20 - and smashed them together. At least he did it over a garbage bin.

What’s it all about? Well, Pollard says it is all to get some more respect for Vancouver, WA - which is often overshadowed by Portland and even our own Vancouver, BC. He was offended that Portland mugs were being displayed in a city he clearly wants to differentiate from Portland.

In response, Starbucks removed the mugs from the Vancouver locations. However, they did so only after the mug smashing - Pollard had previously tried to call and email the Starbucks headquarters to get the mugs removed, to which he got unsatisfactory answers.

From Bruce Elgort’s site, here is more of the news:

Starbucks was not the only stop on Mayor Pollard’s quest to rid of anything Portland from the Downtown area. He also found other stores that had Portland artifacts and proceeded to purchase them and put them on notice as to what they should and shouldn’t be selling.

Well, if you go look at this blog you will see that the mayor is both applauded and bashed for his actions. Although it was great for him to take a stand, I also believe that the city of Vancouver, WA is quite intertwined with Portland and no mug smashing will stop that. People live and work in both cities and the tourists visit both. They are best to support each other.

Check out the commentary there too. Big discussion.

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More Puck Coffee in a Can reviews

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A consumer report came in from WFAA on Wolfgang Puck’s coffee in a can - which I have explained when it was released and also with the MAKE deconstruction.

James Andrews gives the coffee a try. Here is the review:

When testers tried it at room temperature, it worked well. In about six minutes you get a hot cup of coffee.

Unfortunately, the coffee didn’t taste all that great.

When the cans were stored in a 39-degree refrigerator, the testers ran into a problem. The coffee only got lukewarm.

“If you have them outside on a cold day—say you’re ice skating or camping and you activated it—it wouldn’t get very hot,” said Consumer Reports’ Megan Steintrager.

Testers found if the can is stored in a hot location, the results can be downright dangerous.

“When we put them in a car on a sunny day, the coffee inside reached almost 200 degrees when heated,” Steintrager said. “That’s hot enough to scald you.”

Even worse, steam and hot liquid leaked from all four drinks tested as they heated up. And says there’s yet another drawback to the coffee in a can: the packaging is bulky and is not recyclable.

Ok, so granted the market is open - even a small chunk of a $9 billion industry for specialty coffees alone is a big hunk of cash. But, please, do not spend it on this! One - torture! Two - it’s far worse than disposing of a cardboard cup. Think of all the waste in that sucker.

Oh - and why not give a shot to a good travel mug. Even less waste.

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Good coffee habits for your health

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Caffeine is a lovely thing. Don’t know how I ever did without it. But, though coffee may boost alertness and concentration for a while, it doesn’t last forever. And, like anything we crave, we need to have our limits.

Fox news reports that there is a right way to drink coffee and caffeine in general:

“The right way is to know how it affects your body and your reasoning,” says registered dietitian and epidemiologist Gail Frank. “The wrong way is to use it in an abusive way, and that means going without sleep and then drinking a lot of coffee to get the perk.”

In fact, too much caffeine may also lead to health problems like high blood pressure, brittle bones, trouble sleeping, and just plain irritability.

So, what are good coffee habits?

- Add milk to your coffee for the calcium

- Reconsider that 2nd cup and know your own limits

- 1-3 cups of coffee is ok for most people without any negative effects

- Don’t drink it when pregnant - it may not be conclusive, but is it worth it?

- Know that some brands and roasts have more caffeine than others

- Balance coffee intake with knowledge of other caffeine you are consuming: pop, tea, chocolate, some cold medications

- Withdrawal from caffeine usually only lasts 48 hours… or until the next cup

- Know if your medications interact

via Badgett’s Coffee eJournal

Coffee Review: Calhoun’s

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Calhoun’s is a cafe on Broadway oft frequented by UBC students, and with a very laid back style. Rustic is maybe a good term. It’s a large cafe, opened up by a set of barn doors and with great old wood tables scattered all over the place. I have always enjoyed the decor. I’ve never been to Calhoun’s for live music, but they do have a good series of music some nights.

I had my first coffee at Calhoun’s last week. I’ve been to the cafe many times, but I think it was always at night and I stayed to tea or steamed milk or hot chocolate. Of of these late night beverages were pretty good.

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However, coffee was not good. The machine was not so great, and the barista didn’t ask how many shots of coffee I wanted before measuring coffee - thus just running the water extra long. It really does not have much in the way of good points. It was worse than anything I could make on a bad day at home, so that was not fun.

So, go to Calhoun’s to hang out, have some good tea and a nice dessert. But don’t go for coffee.

Coffee: 40%

Service: 78%

Atmosphere: 82%

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Deconstructing the Puck self heating coffee can

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So, a while ago I wrote about Puck’s self-heating coffee, and now they’ve been deconstructed on Make.

Inside the mug is the self heating element. And, inside that, 8 oz of minerals. White powder with little rocks. Lovely.

So there it is, an exothermic reaction (gives heat off) with water and calcium oxide. You can easily remove the liquid and use it for something else. I’m not sure what- but i think there are some uses for this. It’s constructed like a tank, so I bet military and outdoors people might be using these.

One of the best uses might be to remove all the materials (before they’re heated/water added) and show how chemical reactions can be used for something tangible for students. You could also likely do some neat things with the materials for experiments that require a small amount of heat.

Educational, yes. Drinkable, no.

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