The Cultural Impact of Starbucks

Academic Studies Starbucks Cultural Impact:

A cup of coffee is just a drink. But a frappuccino is an experience. So believes Bryant Simon, a historian who is searching for the meaning of modern life amid the round tables and comfy sofas of Starbucks coffee shops.

Simon, who teaches at Philadelphia’s Temple University, thinks that by spending time at Starbucks — observing the teenage couples and solitary laptop-users, the hurried office workers and busy baristas — he can learn what it means to live and consume in the age of globalization.

“What are we drinking, and what does it say about who we are?” Simon asked during a recent research trip to London.

In London, I kid you not, there’s a Starbucks on every block. There was one block that had three. I swear I’m not making that up.

Still, I’m not sure Starbucks is the best subject for this study. They try their best not to, but the shops still have that corporate feel to them – and just can’t compare to real, independently owned coffee shops in terms of atmospher (though they’re tougher and tougher to find these days.)

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