I'm a Johnny come lately when it comes to Starbucks.  The concept of $5 coffee just seemed kind of weird.  But now I'm a convert:  Those guys behind Starbucks are geniuses.

     Last summer, my wife introduced me to the "Frappuchino."  It was entirely inadvertent.  We made a stop in Beaumont on our way to one of our "dark sky" astronomy trips.  I went to the Subway to buy our dinner.  She excused herself to go next door to the Starbucks, to "get a cup of coffee."

     She came back with this iced, creamy, topped-with-whipped-cream-and-chocolate-chips contraption that did not meet any normal definition of "coffee."  But, man, on a hot day, that drink sure did go down smooth.

     Flash forward to today. . . .

     Earlier today, as I was falling asleep in the heat of summer, I decided I needed a pick-me-up, so I drove on down to the nearest Starbucks (near Marshall and Rosemead) and ordered a "light-blended" Frappuchino.  (The light-blended part means it packs "only" about 410 calories instead of 600 or so).  As I walked in the store, a young man (probably junior high school; possibly high school) walked out with two Frappuchinos).  Another young man (same age) was in front of me in line, and he also walked out with two Frappuchinos).

     That's the genius of Starbucks.  When I was in high school, I never drank coffee.  I definitely never drank coffee in junior high school.  But now Starbucks has managed to hook 12-14 year olds on cold and creamy caffeinated beverages.  Sort of like it is alleged that the tobacco companies or the fast food purveyors or the alcoholic beverage industry with their "alco-pop" offerings have done, Starbucks is building their future clientele.  They're getting teenagers to plop down $3-$4 or more on their daily fix of caffeine now, and they'll presumably have them hooked for the rest of their lives.

     That's genius.  I would not go so far as to call this evil genius.  Just genius, for now.

The Mocha Frapp

So far, the best mocha frapp I've tasted was on Valley in that mall with the Big 5 and Lucky's. It was unusually good, smooth, and had a good balance of richness and sweetness. It was a real work of art.

I like Rosemead's Starbucks even though I generally don't like them elsewhere.  They're different.  Especially when 60-something Vietnamese men show up with bags of goldfishes, and chain-smoke their cigarettes like it doesn't matter.  The one at Atlantic Square is also cool.  At night, it's an ELAC nerd party there.