Starbucks announced that it will test two new types of stores in Seattle and New York, in an aim to boost its cachet in America’s coffee capitals. In Seattle, the chain will open a “small-batch reserve roastery” in Capitol Hill, the Williamsburg of the West, and in Manhattan, they’ll try out an “express” coffee store, with a limited menu, mobile ordering, and digital payment, NBC News reports. So like Seamless, but for coffee, and you still have to go there, and everyone in line is the type of person who pays for things by waving their iPhone at the person behind the register without ever making eye contact.
If there’s one thing New Yorkers don’t need, it’s more coffee options. If there’s a second thing, it’s a reason to complain about having to wait for any length of time because some place claims it’s “express” and they’re still standing there waiting for a quadruple venti skinny iced macchiato and don’t you know they have places to be? And anyway, was Starbucks not fast in the first place? Have we been drinking coffee at Middle America speeds without even knowing it?
In my experience, Starbucks doesn’t feel any faster or slower than any other coffee chain in the city. I mean, no one can beat the coffee carts for efficiency (and price), but it’s not like Starbucks is prohibitively slow. If Manhattan’s forthcoming “express” Starbucks is after speed above all else, they might consider a coffee walk-through, or temporary-tattoo QR codes for customers’ foreheads so they can be rapidly herded, scanned, and spit back out onto the sidewalk—all in a New York minute!
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