Home Travel Sorry, We Like Starbucks. Where Do You Get Coffee When Traveling?

Sorry, We Like Starbucks. Where Do You Get Coffee When Traveling?

by joeheg

When I posted a simple article about where we like to go eat when in Key West, I included that we usually start the morning by grabbing a coffee at the Starbucks near Mallory Square. I figured this might explain why I had a lack of places known for great breakfasts on my list. We’re just not breakfast people. Either we’re out late the night before and want to sleep in or we’re sitting in the hotel room working, or sometimes both.

I never said Starbucks is great. It’s just where we go because hotel coffee is not to be trusted, even if they “Proudly serve Starbucks Coffee,” and most restaurant coffee isn’t very good either.

OMG, did people lose it. The post set a record for the number of people who felt the need to comment and tell me I didn’t know what I was talking about.

It seemed that no one even wanted to look at the list once I dared mention the horrible, corporate Starbucks name. When they managed to look at the list, I was just wrong.


First were the ones just calling me stupid for my coffee choice

What A Stupid Review to Place a Starbucks On Your List! They are On Every Street Corner. You guys Dont Deserve to Give this Report

or lame

Since you started with a Starbucks. I can’t take this seriously at all. The list is fully lame

and lacking credibility because of the brand of coffee I drink.

Starbucks???? You have ZERO cred.

Oh, and the one who called me an idiot.

Oh boy, I’m getting on a plane in Boston tomorrow just to try that place called Starbucks in Key West. It sounds so original and definitely worth a 1700 mile trip. Idiots!!!

By this time, I was enjoying reading the comments, even though I know the first rule of the internet.


OK, I’m a tourist. Where do the locals get coffee?

Anyone that lists Starbucks as a top choice in Key West should probably vacation in Miami and keep your chain joints away from us. Starbucks iant even the best coffee in KW as there are at least 3 locally owned coffee stops that have a true welcoming KW feel and great coffee.

Oh, now you’re just being rude. Three good places and you don’t name any of them. Another commenter went even further about all of the great places to go on Key West

Really do omit Starbucks. If u can’t see the forest for the trees (eg, all the delicious spots noted by commenters) maybe go to Orlando instead. And pls don’t make generalizations! U just don’t get Key West. In fact in 30 years I can’t recall a bad meal. I’m not going to list them bc now they are private to the appreciaters!

Way to be friendly. In Orlando, we don’t judge people because they like Starbucks. Sorry, but is it true that I don’t get Key West because of my coffee choice? Finally, is it friendly to keep all the nice places for yourself?

To end things, I found out now I have this to worry about

Really have to agree with the protesters!. This piece is such a huge disservice to sweet KW’s multitudes of delicious eating spots

Protesters? Really, it was just about coffee.

Final Thoughts

I do read the comments and while I’m joking about them here, a thought came to me. We don’t go out of our way to find a local coffee shop when we travel. I’d imagine that many people are like us and will go with Dunkin or Starbs (or maybe Tim Hortons) because it’s consistent; they know what they’re going to get. We did go to Costa Coffee when in the UK but I know that’s not much better because it’s a chain, just a different one for us.

Now I’m curious. What is morning coffee to you when traveling? Is it a beverage to guzzle down your throat to wake you up or are you looking for a local, unique vibe with your latte? If so, how do you find a good place? What if it’s bad? Personally, I can’t stand bad coffee because then I’m double grumpy from getting BAD coffee as well as still not having coffee. I might not have time to get a replacement.

I’d rather just go to a Starbucks, put in my normal order and get exactly what I expect. I guess you could argue that’s the same as people going to get McDonald’s when traveling and I see the comparison. If I’m traveling, I’m missing out on the local vibe. Maybe I’ll put a little more effort into finding my morning coffee next time, but it’s more likely I’ll grumble my way to the familiar surroundings of the nearby Starbucks and get my usual Blonde Roast.

Sorry, not sorry.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


ourlifeonthego September 23, 2019 - 12:13 pm

I’m afraid I missed the original article, but were you REVIEWING the coffee scene in Key West? If not, then who’s the idiot for misreading the point of the article? I guess that would be all the “protesters.” I personally like to try out new places and will talk to locals to get their favorites, but I take my own tea (I don’t/can’t drink coffee) so I know I’ll have good tea no matter what!

Johnny Starbucks September 23, 2019 - 12:32 pm

Friggin’ Starbucks haters are real. Funny that people will hate over a cup of good coffee. lmao

Rob September 23, 2019 - 12:41 pm

I missed the original brouhaha and think the comments you’ve highlighted were certainly overreactions. This forum is yours and you can use it how you please. When you’re posting a culinary review of a destination, however, I do think that including a place that basically anyone can access is not terribly helpful information for someone considering or planning a trip to said destination (and recognize that the title of your post was where WE like to eat in KW). For me, it would be tantamount to recommending going to Olive Garden. Basically, if we were to convert the post into a conversation with a friend asking for recommendations on where to eat, I’d have probably left that off or, if asked, simply said that I’d just taken breakfast at Starbucks.

Personally, Starbucks is coffee of last resort because (1) I’d rather give my business to a local place and (2) I think that the coffee quality there is meh. To answer the question, I usually put in 10 minutes on Google Maps and Yelp in advance of a trip to see what might be available coffee-wise. I take my coffee black, so coffee quality very much matters to me since there are no other ingredients there to mask the taste of poorly-roasted or prepared coffee. My faith in those platforms has led me to some really nice places over my travels, and I’ll often grab a bag of beans to bring home as a souvenir.

joeheg September 23, 2019 - 12:50 pm

Point taken. When we were in New Orleans we went to PJ’s coffee which while a chain is still a local chain. We liked the coffee so much, I purchased a few bags for Sharon as a present.

Rob September 23, 2019 - 2:14 pm

I’ll check that out next time I’m there. I would offer the caveat that hitting local chains is not the same to me. Like if someone from the east coast hits up In N Out when they’re in LA, I consider that to be eating like a local just like whatever the hot new Korean fusion, farm to table place with artisanal ingredients would be. And when I am in Canada, I will unabashedly get some Tim Hortons since I can’t get that at home.

Christian September 23, 2019 - 1:35 pm

Wow. I don’t particularly like Starbucks for a number of reasons, but who’d have thought that mentioning them in the list would bring out so much venom?

As to “never read the comments”, how can you respond if you don’t read them? Otherwise, you’re kind of talking at people rather than communicating. That’s my opinion, for what little it’s worth anyway.

joeheg September 23, 2019 - 10:15 pm

The “Never read the comments” is an internet thing. I have to because we approve all the comments for appropriate content.

Steven Hochfelsen September 23, 2019 - 1:59 pm

Personally, I hate Starbucks. It tastes burnt and almost any other coffee place serves better coffee (excluding hotels and donut shops). But you certainly have a right to your choice. I personally prefer Lion Coffee, but that’s hard to find outside of Hawaii (or having it shipped to you, which I do), so I’ve got no problem taking a chance with an unknown place in a new location. I think that the last time I tried a Starbucks was about 2 or 3 years ago, though my wife goes regularly.

Tom September 23, 2019 - 10:33 pm

I’m curious where to get a great meal in Key West. Mostly what we found were bars & grills, aka burgers and beer. The Hyatt timeshare served complimentary Starbucks Breakfast Blend in the lobby and it was quite good so it worked for us.

C. Mullican September 24, 2019 - 4:43 am

Sometimes I do local, sometimes I do convenient. If I can do both, awesome.

I find local spots on Yelp, as a rule. Yelp reviews are generally by locals for locals, and it has rarely led me far astray.

I don’t love Starbucks, but they’re predictable and often convenient, so if I don’t have time to find a hidden gem, or if I’m on a road trip and need a quick stop, I go there.

jvtripioauthor February 12, 2020 - 8:56 pm

While I missed the original post but I have enjoyed the reading the above. You have no reason to apologize for liking Starbucks. Anyone’s taste in coffee is preference anyway. No right or wrong, no better or worse, no “best”,no ‘worst”. I have to laugh at all the vitriol over coffee choice these days. The only reason there was such a reaction to your original article was that Starbucks was mentioned in the first place. I’ve worked at both Starbucks and indie coffee houses, roasted, cupped, packed, shipped coffee. I’ve even unloaded 132 pound bags of green coffee off the back of semi-trucks using baling hooks. The reality learned from all that experience is that there isn’t all that much difference in the coffee at Starbucks and those of the indie coffee houses. To rephrase, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.


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