Saturday, February 20, 2010
Starbucks opened in Sweden
Lena and I.
So, the biggest news (for me) of this week was without a doubt that Starbucks finally came to Sweden. Sort of.
It's one store, and it's at Arlanda airport. It's run by SSP which is a company that also has numerous franchises in other airports and train stations. Basically, they focus on being in places where people are on the go. While I'm a huge Starbucks fan and would gladly see a lot more locations in Sweden, it's not very likely to happen. That is not because, as some of my commenters seem to think, "because the coffee sucks", but because one thing that makes Starbucks special won't go over very well in Sweden. And it's not that we already have a strong coffee culture.
See - at every Starbucks I've been in, there's a lot of staff behind the counter. Four, five, six happy baristas, ready to take your order. In Swedish coffee shops, there's one, or possibly two. (And they're usually not smiling, by the way.) Why? Salaries. And work laws. It's just not the same here, and *that* is a major reason why you'll probably never find a Starbucks in every corner.
I'm still hoping, don't get me wrong. I would gladly trade every single Wayne's Coffee, Robert's Coffee, Coffeehouse by George and all other Swedish franchises for Starbucks. But it's not likely to happen. But Sweden will probably see a new actor soon, since one of our leading chains - Espresso House - most likely will be for sale once they've opened enough locations. It's the one chain I do like quite a bit, because they also seem to train their baristas to a fairly consistent standard. As for my very favorite latte in Sweden? Da Matteo in Gothenburg. Please open in Stockholm, ok?
Anyway. For now, there's one Starbucks in Sweden, and that's in Arlanda airport. It's in terminal 5, and it's in the secure area so you have to actually travel somewhere to go there. (Boohoo!) It has the same coffee menu as everywhere else and to be honest, I didn't get a very good look at the pastries and sandwiches. We were given lots of samples though - a delicious glazed lemon cake, a chocolate chip muffin, blueberry muffins, chocolate muffins, tiger cake, sandwiches with goat's cheese & tomato and really yummy open-faced shrimp & egg sandwiches on rye bread.
My photos suck. I'm sorry. It was dark. I was excited to be there, and didn't spend a lot of time trying to snap better shots. Sorry.
We were encouraged to order as much as we wanted to but we didn't manage more than two drinks each - I had a mocha frappuccino and a caramel macchiato, Lena had a caramel frappuccino and a vanilla latte. I'd have ordered a decaf vanilla latte too, if I had had the time. We also got to join in on a coffee tasting, and try six coffees from different regions. (And got little cute coffee passports, with stickers.) I really, really enjoyed the coffee from Sumatra - will look out for something like that in my grocery store. It was really rich and with a strong aftertaste - yum!
Titus was there too, of course. He loved it, and seems to really like the smell of coffee. (I let him sniff one of the little cups with tasting coffee, and he opened his mouth, eager to try it. Um, maybe next time.) The store managed offered him a babyccino - but I think we'll wait a little while. He's a bit young to get hooked, like his mom.