Recently at STC

Some recent posts from Smelling the Coffee:

More evidence that smoking bans are unnecessary. The French are abandoning their famous cafés and staying home. Cigarettes and high prices are the reason.

Wal-Mart is getting into the Fair Trade coffee business. Good thing? Bad thing? Tacit admission of evil?

And… latte porn! With animals!


8 thoughts on “Recently at STC”

  1. The current CEO of Wal-Mart is clueless when it comes to the free market principles that Sam Walton embodied.

  2. Thanks, Jeff. I just finished an article summarizing many of the health effects of caffeine. This would have been nice to include. Perhaps I’ll see if I can have it added in.

    Joel, are you talking about other things Wal-Mart is doing, or just the Fair Trade/organic stuff? If the latter, it seems like a good way to bring in customers who demand that sort of thing. Even if the company is capitalist, they have to appeal to customers who sometimes aren’t. Or are you thinking of something else? Unfortunately, Wal-Marts are so hard to get to from where I live now that I don’t even remember the last time I was in one.

  3. I’m talking about capitulation to politicians and activists that want to use government force to compel Wal-Mart to change its business practices. See their response with regard to Maryland forcing them to provide employee health benefits.

    I find it hard to believe that there is a profittable demand for marked up, “Fair Trade” coffee. It just seems like a capitulation to anti-capitalist sentiment to keep the regulators and lawyers off their backs.

  4. If there was no profitable demand for marked up, “Fair Trade” coffee, half the pretentious, over priced coffee shops in America would go bankrupt, but they don’t cause we love them.

    Jacob I have a question about “barista” I thought only you could answer. The term is an Italian term meaning bartender, but the term bar is an American word adopted by the Italians . . . ironic huh! In Italy a bartender (a server of alcohol, food and coffee) is referred to as either a “baristo” or a “barista” depending on gender. Why did America adopt only the feminine version of the word?

    Second, a caffe latte in Italy (be careful to never order a “latte”, for you will get a glass of milk) is usually served in a glass. Yes, true, there are two versions of a latte in Italy; either a caffe latte of a cafe macchiato, but besided the point, they are both usually served in a slender glass (I have had hundreds). How did we [America] start serving HUGE lattes in cappuccino mugs?

    Oh and there is a Wal-Mart out on 66, Fairoaks exit.

  5. I always get lost in Fair Oaks. The place might as well be an extra hour away for the time I’ll spend trying to find what I want and to get back on 66 East. That Wal-Mart might as well not exist 🙂

    I used to know a good site explaining the acceptance of the word “barista” in English, but I can’t find it now. As far as I know, “barista” is accurate for males and females in Italy, “baristi” being the plural. See, for example, here. The Italian dictionary also lists “barista” as neutral and returns no results for “baristo.”

    In The Coffee House, historian Markman Ellis credits Seattle with expanding the volume of lattes and cappuccinos. The reason given by Howard Schultz, now the leader of Starbucks, was that the strongly flavored Italian drinks had to be “translated” for American tastes less accustomed to espresso.

  6. Huh, the neutral version is feminine? That’s unusual for a country like Italy, most neutrals are the masculine form, maybe it has to do with the origin of the word being foreign. Oh well.

    Also, I find Shultz’s comments a bit ironic (at this time) because I found Italian coffee to be less strong/bitter, or perhaps a better term is “smoother” than any American version (even at Murky).

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