Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Utah papers' foreign correspondents

(Photo Credit: [British] Royal Geographic Society)

I love reading locally-written articles in Utah newspapers about coffee. The articles read like a journal entry of some 19th century British colonialist explaining some "lost tribe" in Africa or the Pacific Islands. To be clear, I am not mocking Utahns (or anyone else) who have never tried coffee. I am mocking the tone of these articles.

Here's one from the Deseret Morning News last October:
Barlow and Gerber, a legal secretary and receptionist for Eisenberg Gilchrist & Morton, are not alone. It's a morning ritual for millions of Americans, who can choose from the more than 24,000 coffeehouses across the country.

Whether grabbing a quick cup and a bite to eat on the way into the office or taking a morning break with colleagues, downtown Salt Lake City has plenty to offer when the time comes for a caffeinated pick-me-up.

In its unscientific survey of area coffeehouses, the Deseret Morning News found 13 locations between First Avenue and 600 South and 500 East and West Temple. The shops vary in size and style, and their prices and selection vary. Of the coffee shops visited by the Morning News, the price for a 20-ounce cup of drip coffee ranged from $1.75 to $2.50.
The locations appeal to different types of customers, usually based on where they work and live and how they want to receive their morning brew. Folks looking to grab it and go often visit drive-through locations such as Raw Bean Coffee House on the southwestern edge of downtown or Java Jo's in the Avenues.
The article fills up space by explaining statistically speaking, coffee is a very common and popular beverage nationally.

Today's article in the Salt Lake Tribune piggie backs on an AP wire story about Starbuck's Coffee's struggles--and ideas--to maintain its growth and profit margins due to increased competition. This article doesn't sound as ethnographic as the previous one, but still has its gems.
As industry king Starbucks teeters ever so slightly on its throne, other retailers, big and small, are moving in to offer coffee options of their own, even in brew-eschewing Utah.
...competition in the coffee business splashes over a state where more than half the population does not drink the beverage, mostly on religious grounds.
"Utah wasn't a natural market for iced coffee," said McDonald's public-relations spokeswoman Barbara Schmiett, of Salt Lake City. "That's why we tested it here in a handful of restaurants first, and we found that people loved it."
"[The new Pike's Place Roast is] fresh, but so is coffee at 7-Eleven," said Kyle Power, who had to wait for his freebie Tuesday as Starbucks baristas served paying customers first at The Gateway Mall in Salt Lake City.
For whatever reason, I have never read articles like this about alcohol or tea. Maybe coffee is just somehow more intriguing. If you do feel like having a cup, it seems Beans & Brews offers the cheapest one mentioned in the article--$1. And you get a nice little biscutt with it too. Cheerio!

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