Don’t get me wrong, I adore Starbucks with its unique concept and delicious offerings. In fact, I like my green mermaid so much that I spent quite a bit of time "Starbucks hunting" all over the world these past few years.
Me & My Grande Caffè Mocha
I will always remember when I treated myself to a grande Caffè Mocha (my favorite) on an icy cold New Zealand afternoon... As I didn’t know anyone in Nelson at the time, I just pretended to be with a good girlfriend (which of course was just a comforting fantasy).
I was sitting on a plush sofa and had a chat (inside my head) about this and that, simply enjoying this moment of „being“. To actually feel this heavy burden of homesickness dissolve while in this familiar environment was an eye-opening experience.
During my trip, I gathered some inspiration from coffee shops all over the world. Now that I am back in Switzerland, I would love to see some ideas come true at my local Starbucks shops!
1. Books, Magazines & Newspapers
New Zealand taught me to put lots of books and magazines on offer for the customers. In this sleepy country, it is not very common to carry an iPad so people prefer to kick back and read a book or magazine - the old-fashioned way.
As the Swiss are a nation of Ziitigsläser (newspaper readers), I am sure that many fellow coffee lovers would welcome the idea of shareable books, magazines and newspapers!
2. It’s all about sharing
Guess what’s on the entertainment program during a 12-day South Pacific cruise? A barista course! People were crazy to learn about the different types of coffee beans, how many shots of espresso go into a cappuccino, and the secret to fluffy milk foam.
So why not do the same and offer a basic barista course, free of charge, for customers in Switzerland and share some of that Starbucks knowledge? With most Swiss boasting fully automatic coffee machines or capsule systems, they would likely be delighted to learn about coffee science or latte art...
3. Weasel-poo, anyone?
Yes, it does sound a bit odd the first time you hear about Kopi Luwak or Coffee Alamid, sometimes just referred to as Katzenkaffee.
In a nutshell: Weasel eats coffee cherries, coffee cherries work their way through weasel intestine while some kind of fermentation is going on. After that, the beans are collected, cleaned and lightly roasted. Et voilà, the most expensive coffee in the world!
I was lucky enough to try this kind of coffee in the highlands of Vietnam. I even got to pet one of the cute weasels! And yes, the coffee was indeed very tasty! Black as a crow, it looked thick like melted black chocolate and the flavor was full, dark and probably as strong as 10 normal espressi.
Now, imagine if Starbucks was the first in the world to offer "Kopi Luwak"? And since Starbucks in Switzerland has a reputation for trying new things, why not this?
4. Don’t forget the kids!
This one is easy: every Starbucks should have a nice, colorful play corner for kids. It could feature books and a few toys, or even a mini coffee bar for those future baristas!
If this were the case, I would even take my god child to Starbucks and let her have some of the milk foam from my cappuccino...
5. Starbucks Museum
Finally, how about opening up a Starbucks museum? In the meantime, have a look at JURAworld of Coffee between Bern and Zürich, which is like Disneyland for coffee... They even have a roasting plant with free public demonstrations.
I have visited Coffee World near Cairns, Australia. The most delicious part of this interesting museum was when I realized what else was included in the admission: An all-day, UNLIMITED tasting pass for as much coffee (21 kinds from all over the world), tea, homemade chocolate (12 types) and liquor as one can take. Wow!
The Swiss are enthusiastic museum goers, and Starbucks has quite a lot of connections to this tiny country. So wouldn't it be appropriate to have the world's first Starbucks museum right here in Switzerland?
Do you have some other ideas on how to pimp Starbucks? Please leave a comment!