Stars in my eyes 星巴克

Happy!

Happy!

I’m not afraid to say it: I’m a massive fan of Starbucks. I know this may not be PC, but bear with me.

I’ve known it for a while but it came all the more clear on my recent trip to Shanghai. You see I’ve been living here in Guilin for around 2 months and beautiful as Guilin and its surrounding scenary is, it is a small city and there is no Starbucks here. Or Costa. Or any international supermarket chain. Nor Subway.

For some, that may make it a dream away from the bore of Western brands and globalisation. But there is something wonderful about walking into a place, no matter where you are in the world, and it looking exactly the same, serving exactly the same coffee, and service with a smile.

The funny thing is that at home I may well choose an independent coffee shop for an afternoon coffee date, or even Costa for a nice big cup of tea (stay away from the English breakfast at Starbucks!). Or even more likely stay at home with my favourite ‘New York’ Starbucks mug (soon to be joined by my brand new shiny ‘Shanghai’ mug) and my espresso maker. But here in China, Starbucks is a little haven.

Throughout my year in Nanjing, about once every fortnight I would take a trip to Starbucks/Subway/Ikea for a little indulgence and a taste of home. Much as I would like to say I am a free spirit who can make my home anywhere and lives for the out there experiences, in fact I’m a true home girl who likes nothing more than a quiet cup of coffee. And right now, away from home for 6 months and counting, I love nothing more than pretending I’m just around the corner from home, sipping exactly the same soya latte with vanilla syrup, and having a bit of me time.

My local Starbucks in Birmingham city centre

My local Starbucks in Birmingham city centre

Another incredible discovery in Shanghai was Marks & Spencer, my favourite British department store, which even had a food hall where I bought many a pack of salt and vinegar crisps and chocolate biscuits!

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9 thoughts on “Stars in my eyes 星巴克

  1. I bought a great pair of shoes at Mark’s and Spencer in Shanghai. I know how you feel about being able to experience “the home away from home.” I’d do the same thing when I was in Xi’an!

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  2. To enjoy some good coffee when visiting China we bought for my parents in law a coffee machine and bring Everytime some coffee with us. The coffee in Starbucks just doesn’t work me for, I can’t explain why but it seems many Scandinavians dislike the taste there. But instant coffee in other stores in China is even worse 😦

    But now I found my safe heaven when it comes to coffee right in our living room, no more worries where to get my next cup

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    • Ahaa, but it’s not about the coffee, it’s about feeling at home 😛
      But each to their own, and you clearly have a more superior palette than mine!

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      • I feel home wherever i can drink some good old finnish coffee 🙂
        I doubt that I have much knowledge when it comes to coffee and good flavors but as most Finnish people (highest coffee consumption per capita in the world) I am used to a high daily dosis of self brewed coffee:)

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  3. I loathe to admit it, but I completely agree with you! I’d love to support the little guy (small businesses are great) but sometimes it’s nice to go to what’s tried and true–especially in China where you can order a 35 kuai mocha and discover you’ve been served a Nescafé.

    I can’t believe there’s no Starbucks in Guilin! there isn’t one where I live either but I usually will stop by one whenever I’m in Beijing.

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  4. I’m glad I’m not alone – it might not reflect our behaviour in the West, but away from home, small sacrifices must be made 🙂

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  5. Starbucks doesn’t do it for me when it comes to coffee, but I do get where you’re coming from! I go there in Japan for 3 reasons 1) the merch (let’s face it, they do great merchandising!) 2) it’s quiet and a good place to study 3) they are all non-smoking, which means I can study without smelling like a chimney after I leave. 🙂
    Envious of the M&S though! Haven’t had salt and vinegar crisps in yonks….

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