However, perhaps partially inspired by Winter's 'Starbucks Everywhere' project, I have taken to hitting up Starbucks wherever I go. It really wasn't intentional at first, and honestly, I haven't tracked or written down each and every Starbucks I've been to. However, I love seeing how and where Starbucks has fit into foreign cultures, and honestly, if you're feeling a little homesick, there is no surer destination for Americans abroad than Starbucks. (You also get coffee diehards from all over the world, so it's actually quite fun to pop into Starbucks wherever you are.)
It's also interesting to see how Starbucks "culture" has translated into other parts of the world. For example, my drink of choice - as I've written about before - is a grande Java Chip Frap, no chocolate syrup, add a shot of espresso. Not a difficult drink, but it is genuinely baffling how many ways barristas around the U.S. have gotten this wrong (the most common is to leave the syrup out of the drink, but then still spritz it over the whipped cream. No syrup means no syrup. It's too sweet for my tastes.)
I have yet to get my drink wrong in a foreign Starbucks. And in some places, notably the Chinese and Japanese Starbucks I went into, they really take tremendous pride in what they're doing for their job. It's awesome.
So far, aside from various airport Starbucks (as well as those in New England, Florida, NYC, Chicago/Midwest and California), I have been to Starbucks in:
- Zurich, Switzerland
- Yu-Yuan Gardens, Shanghai, China
- Central Xi'an by the Bell Tower, Xi'an, China
- Bei Hai park, Beijing, China
- Actually, multiple locations in Beijing... I was on a serious coffee craving three weeks into my China trip
- Somewhere in Tokyo, Japan (Shinjuku, I think)
- Bangkok, Thailand
And now, I can add Nassau, Bahamas, to that list. There's several around Nassau/Paradise Island, apparently, but a need for a big Frappucino led to me checking out the Starbucks on Woodes Rodgers, the street that faces the docks where all the cruise ships come in. It's a nice-looking store, with great balcony seating (perfect for watching the tourist parade below while you soak up the sun). Sadly, their drink and food menus are a bit more limited than they are at home (no Java Chip Frap! No vanilla bean scones!), but I was able to get my caffiene fix.
Starbucks, Woodes Rodgers, Nassau, Bahamas
The store was messy - I've worked enough coffee shops over the years to recognize that the store employees were a bit swamped. But the drink came out fast, and correct, and I happily got my Sbux buzz for the afternoon. Mmm, coffee....