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In a word: God laughs.

The specs: #0610  
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at Espresso in Madison, Dane101; official web site, Starbucks on Urbanspoon

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JM ate the banana bread, a donut, a vanilla milk and a chocolate milk.
Nichole ate a banana, a tall cappuccino, and a tall decaf.
The bill was $12, or $6/person, plus tips.
JM gave Starbucks a C-; Nichole gave a C+ (see our grading rubric).

We tried to be too clever by half. Our intent was to send ourselves up and pay homage to the Catalog People in Best in Show by visiting different Starbucks locations simultaneously and writing a "live" post by chatting via the internet. But you know what they say about plans.

Nichole's gadget didn't work at the first Starbucks, so we regrouped and set up in different corners of a third Starbucks, where the wifi didn't work at all. So we went home and chatted from different rooms, pasted it here, and added some links.

So this is extra ridiculous. JM put together a "name the streets of the Madison Starbucks" quiz as a token of thanks for putting up with us; your time may be better used there, or at the indefatigable Starbucks Everywhere.


Nichole: hi!
 JonMichael: Hi
  Does this work?
 Nichole: yesss!
 JonMichael: OK
11:51 AM So attempt #17 works
  So this didn't work in Starbucks
  And it didn't work on this machine I'm using
 Nichole: nope
 JonMichael: But, we're working now
11:52 AM So, I think it is lame that you couldn't get your device to work in Starbucks
 Nichole: yes, it was
 JonMichael: I mean 2/3 of the point of Starbucks is free wi-fi
 Nichole: kinda like the toilet not working
 JonMichael: So what did you get at your first S-bucks?
 Nichole: i got a tall cap
11:53 AM you?
 JonMichael: BTW, I'm really worried about typos
 Nichole: leave em?
 JonMichael: I got a piece of banana bread, a doughnut and vanilla milk.
  At the 2nd stop i got chocolate milk.
 Nichole: i got this decaf at the 2nd one
11:54 AM $4 + $3 + $what was yours?
 JonMichael: I'm sure for consistency we should leave 'em in.
  $5 and bit
 Nichole: ok
 JonMichael: (not 12.5 cents though)
 Nichole: haha
 JonMichael: Yeah, there a poster in the bathroom at the 2nd one
11:55 AM Nichole: wait!
  "not just coffee"?
 JonMichael: Bing!
 Nichole: that's so true
 JonMichael: More like not Just Coffee
 Nichole: inaword amiright?
 JonMichael: Cap J Cap C
11:56 AM I prefer Horizons Vanilla milk to their Chocolate
  though that may be a reference to how old I've become
 Nichole: choc milk is for kids, or?
 JonMichael: Yeah
  And I prefer vanilla flavor
11:57 AM Nichole: (the guy at Sassy Cow says he doesn't consider that UHTP milk milk anymore, and it kinda is true
  there's a thing
 JonMichael: Well, the Vanilla was tasty, milk or no
 Nichole: via instant and horizons are shelf stable and useful for camping
  and now with wifi on Everest (wonder i it works better than in Madison)...
11:58 AM i don't know where i'm going with this
 JonMichael: Everest is a public commodity
 Nichole: because "you don't want to talk to me before i've had my coffee!!!"
 JonMichael: How is their coffee?
 Nichole: reliable
 JonMichael: Damning with faint praise?
 Nichole: i liked the cup the cappuccino was in (thin walls but too big, anyway)
11:59 AM ugh
  i guess
 JonMichael: Well... the things about the 'bucks
  Is that the coffee market was pretty spotty before the mid-90s
  Madison, I'm sure had a ton, of places to get tanked up on caff
12:00 PM But now, thanks to SB, that is true everywhere
  But in Madison, it seems so cynical
 Nichole: i'm grateful to see a SB when i'm traveling
12:01 PM like i said, the Via is good before-coffee-coffee while camping
  but yeah, if i had to give a grade
  which i do
 JonMichael: Heehee
 Nichole: based on how likely i am to return and NOT ON OBJECTIVE QUALITY
  i would have to say
  this is hard
 JonMichael: Well
 Nichole: it also depends who i'm with
 JonMichael: let me do the food
12:02 PM Nichole: ok
 JonMichael: And you can think on it
  Their bakery is very dry
 Nichole: i'm glad i didn't get any! it looked plastic
 JonMichael: Which, I'm sure is to them a bug and not a feature
  I mean, the other way around
  feature not bug
12:03 PM The portions are sizeable, though the costs are two. $1.50 for a piece of dry banana bread
  I'll pass next time
  They do have a large quantity of non-grit based drinks
 Nichole: hee hee
 JonMichael: but they are the foofiest version of such things
12:04 PM Not just apple juice box
 Nichole: people like juice
  we read about that
  premium juice.
 JonMichael: but organic $.95 an ounce
  Which gets back to why Starbucks seems lodged in the cultural wars as it is.
12:05 PM It is a place where people spend too much money to get exactly what they want
  Whereas, some people prefer the simplicity of just ordering a cup of coffee that is the same from place to place that requires no decisions
  Save cream and sugar
12:06 PM Nichole: huh, yeah
12:07 PM JonMichael: And of course, for me, since I neither want coffee and there is little personality to back up repeated visits
12:08 PM nor do I wish to through money at a corporate chain
  I see little reason to return
  Except for free wi-fi in foreign cities
  For that service I am willing to give them a C-
 Nichole: echt furchtbar
12:09 PM ok, i think i would probably do C+
 JonMichael: As you have coffee utility, I see that clearly
 Nichole: i mean, if a friend really likes it, i'd go there with them
 JonMichael: Though you may recommend somewhere else first
 Nichole: yep
12:10 PM but the point of coffee with friends is the latter so it's not that important
 JonMichael: Right
 Nichole: oh, the service was friendly at both
12:11 PM fast & skilled
 JonMichael: Yeah, there were costumes for Halloween at the one I went to
 Nichole: !
 JonMichael: One guy was a Chilean miner
 Nichole: how did you know?
 JonMichael: I figured he should have taken the day off
 Nichole: wah-wah
12:12 PM that gets back to the food tho! it looked like it would survive a quarter mile down a vacuum tube
 JonMichael: By publishing this, people will know the kinds of terrible jokes I put you through
 Nichole: i love you
 JonMichael: I love you too


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Loved the chat. Great concept, technical difficulties notwithstanding. :)

And I agree about the coffee, although I must admit to having a SB gold card in my wallet.

This post is exhausting. Their coffee is always bitter but they have good cupcakes. They have wifi but they strategically try to drive independent coffee houses out of business. D- from Timmy.

haha -- this was a great read. glad the typos were left in :)

Aaaaawwwwww... I love the ending! And I'm surprised there are only eight Starbucks in Madison- but is that not counting the ones in the two Barnes and Nobles? Secretly sometimes when I get a B&N gift card, I use it for coffee because lord knows I do not need another book.

Hilarious. The whole POINT of Starbucks, pretty much, is their wi-fi -- the only reason I would go is if I was stranded in Nowhere, Illinois (or maybe on the turnpike in a Midwestern state, or in an airport) and I was caffeine-starved and/or desperate for an internet connection.

And yours didn't work! Ha.

I'm like Nichole. I'm not really a coffee snob, but I always suggest somewhere else first. Especially here -- I live close enough to Just Coffee to smell the beans roasting. They smell like burning toast.

Starbucks coffee always tastes burned to me. The only time I go is if I'm on the road and there's not much else around.

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