Starbucks: Here’s What We Think

Starbucks opens 25th November 2017 at the first Durban location – Florida Road.

Cue Facebook status Number One –
“Starbucks F*@K OFF, Durban has actually got a good coffee culture.”
Cue Facebook status Number two –
“Starbucks is the McDonalds of coffee”

So the Facebook statuses continue.

YOH! Durban wake the F*@K up!

The fact that you think Starbucks is the McDonalds of coffee is pathetic & clearly shows you know absolutely nothing about coffee let alone coffee culture.

Big statement, right? Yes, we are entitled to tell you to wake up because WE are the small independent coffee shop competing against this global giant on the same damn road.

The difference is we welcome Starbucks.

Why you ask? How dare this local independent Durban coffee shop support Starbucks? What are they thinking?

Here is our view:

We dig them – they do what they do and we do what we do. They appeal to a completely different target market to us. They are a second wave coffee shop where as we are a third wave specialty coffee shop.

For those of you who don’t know – second wave coffee shops are the likes of Mugg & Bean, Wimpy, Seattle Coffee co. Now if we asked you if you would rather go to a Mugg & Bean or a Starbucks what would your answer be?

We welcome them because unlike the stale ass coffee shops we have in this city, (like Mugg & Bean & Seattle) they are actually doing their part and educating the majority of us on coffee through their Reserve Bar and the various coffees they have to offer.

Have you ever seen a Single Origin Ethiopian coffee that has been sourced straight from the farm being brewed using a Siphon Filter at a Mugg & Bean? Hell no. How many Seattle Coffee Co’s have information on where their beans come from, the taste notes, how they are roasted etc. We haven’t seen any, have you?

Yes people will go to Starbucks for their Pumpkin Spiced Latte & Strawberries & Cream Frappuccino’s and will most likely never order a single origin Ethiopian siphon filter, but at least the option is there. So next time that same customer walks into Counter Culture, sees the siphon filter on the counter and says – “hey, I saw that at Starbucks – what is that? ” We say thank you Starbucks for breaking the ice on alternative brew methods that we can now further educate the customer on.

To all the local café owners & Durbanites who have sworn at Starbucks and used the slogan “SUPPORT LOCAL ONLY”, stop being so short sighted!

We are privileged to have our coffee shop in the same road as Starbucks.

Why you ask? Well hmmm let us think – Starbucks is the BIGGEST coffee company in the world. Their annual revenue is upwards of 19 Billion dollars and they have 23,768 stores worldwide. Their former CEO Howard Shultz is not only worth a shit ton of money but he is a business icon and personality that many a CEO looks up to.

Why the hell would we not want to share the same customer with them? They are an incredible global company that any small independent coffee shop owner should be looking up to, not hating on.

Apart from the above big money statement – they will also increase the footfall to Florida Road, which benefits all of us. Not to forget that they have just created 30+ jobs which is fantastic.

We are happy to let them serve you their flavored Frappuccino’s & Spiced drinks, we’ll keep serving you specialty coffee at its best.

Please, next time you start throwing big statements on Facebook and where ever else, just have your facts straight because you probably know shit about shit.

Starbucks, welcome to Florida road! We wish you all the best.

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  1. Well said, you beautiful open-minded people. I absolutely love your style and thinking. No point in going up against the giants, rather support them and you too will see a return. I think what you had to say was so relative and spot on. WEll done Counter Culture, you have a number one fan flying your flag!

  2. CafeAdict says:

    I don’t agree and you probably are not as well versed as you believe. Seattle Coffee Co are not part of the 2nd wave, they are, through their roasting company Union Hand Roasted, pushing the third wave from the front. Seattle are a successful company built on solid growth through sustainable sources. Their coffee is Direct Trade as opposed to fair trade (more fair by far) as Fair Trade is no longer fair. Seattle were the driving force of modern coffee in London in the early 90’s before coming to SA and changing the way we view coffee.

    Enjoy the increased traffic, once people drink Starbucks then try local, they’ll be in your cafe… for those without taste or sugar addiction will continue to flock to that shitty place known as Starbucks.

    • Luke Van Der Merwe says:

      They might be the driving force in London but are defining not driving any coffee culture here. Thank you for your insight though.

  3. Haseena says:

    Whew. Finally- a balanced and open approach.
    It was getting tired; the automatic diss whenever something popular arrives in SA. Why is that even a thing? Knee-jerk taunts over brands with a cult following. Every puritan (purist? I forget) patting themselves on the back for being original and ordering v60 coffee using the lightest roast single origin and despising Starbucks because- only basic bitches like Starbucks and they should feel stupid about ordering pumpkin spice anything. (Omg- the Coffee purist is a troll. I have trolled people for instant and decaf coffee so I’m no better).
    Personally, Starbucks reminds me of my teenage years- when I used to dream I’d study in New York, walk around Central Park with a Starbucks in hand (I had read one too many books about New York)- so when I went to Hong Kong and walked past a Starbucks I was obsessed. That was 15 years ago! My tastes have definitely improved- aeropress, fresh ground beans before brewing, local roasters- but Starbucks is a jolt of nostalgia and I’ll occasionally order something there. And the seating and decor is great.

  4. I completely agree. But read up on Seattle Coffee Co. They are partnered in SA by their sister company, Union Hand-Roasted (a UK based company with one of the world’s best direct trade models and coffee quality green and roasted that trumps most in Europe…and definitely most in SA with most buying green from local green brokers) in the Union Roastery in Cape Town. (Side note: very few of the top 30 “beloved” roasters in SA actually buy green that youd see on the international scene like London). Their award-winning Union Direct Trade purchasing model is worth researching. Having run their roastery for 2 and a half years before moving to work for Union in the UK for the last 18 months, and knowing the owners and managers and trainers of Seattle personally, I can say that they are not trying to be hipster cool but approachable with amazing ingredients with each year revising how to improve on quality and ingredients. You may prefer lighter roast developments to the Seattle Signature blend. 4 out of 5 times I do as well but objectively speaking, that has to be in the top 5 medium-dark developed blends in the world.

  5. Chadsbestfriend says:

    This article is phenomenal.

  6. Jake says:


    The guys at Seattle have been doung amazing things with speciality coffee for a long time. As a coffee pro person I think they’re getting the wrong end of the deal…but its your opinion.

    As for Starbucks…good luck to them.


  7. Lee says:

    Only had the chance to try the Gateway Starbucks and having had the chance to smash grande cappuccinos in a number of “stores” was dissapointed with the poor quality.

    To note while it is a good franchise, it is just that. The reliability of product is normally very good with the 1st reflex action in the US to look for a local starbucks to fill the need.

    Once you have been to one and tried the menu spread that is it. They are normally not a place to hangout at and random into a new conversations with strangers that may become friends, get into a discussion about new beans with the barista or find a quiet slow corner.

    I agree with the response, although a definite hurt on cups across your counter,once the initial exposure calms down people in the area will swing to local familiarity and culture.

    Drivers by and visitors looking for the in and out processing Starbucks are normally brilliant at will get their fix up the road.

    If you think about it, in my opinion, most people serving at the counter are there for the job first, bar a few Starbucks and coffee fanatics. They do not get an opportunity to be creative or innovate which is the love and art in the cup.

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