A Venti Sized Void in South Africa (According to a California girl)

If there’s one defining factor amongst all the “basic California girls” back home, it’d be their signature Starbucks cup in hand.  Strolling through town in yoga pants just isn’t the same without your daily dose- and sure, it’s not the best coffee in the world and guess what?  THEY (we) KNOW THAT!

My standards for coffee have all but gone out the window after my travels- anyone been to South East Asia?- and I’m okay with that.  No matter where I’ve been, though, I find myself feeling the same old *green* void.  I miss the outrageously sized cups, the Starbucks Gold Card (YES I have one), the fattening syrupy options (even if I often did avoid them for fear of too many calories).  I miss American gluttony in all of its glory, even though I surely know (and have tasted) better.  

I’ve heard countless people around the world say to me this year: “Starbucks is gross!  I don’t understand why you ‘Americans’ like it so much.”  Do I agree with them in some way?  Yeah, sure.  It’s no Italian cappuccino or French press…but it is American efficiency and consistency at its finest.  Most importantly, you know what to expect!  And in a rushed morning, isn’t that just a priceless concept?  

After traveling throughout Europe, it’s hard to go back to the lowly likes of the americano, but you do it anyway.  And you know why?  Because it’s reliable.   coffee-1281880_1920.jpg

Starbucks is consistently AVERAGE.  And consistency, in my mind, can make the difference between an easy morning and a hard day.  Why would this type of B.S. impact my morning, let alone my entire day, you say?  Because there are few things as frustrating as running around looking for coffee (in a cafe with reliable wifi) when you’re the person really needing coffee!

I don’t know about you, but the time in the morning before coffee hits my blood stream is not my finest (or most patient) hour.  Coffee is not something I like to gamble with.  I’ve been to too many hole-in-the-wall shops around the world where I paid for and received something awful, and didn’t even have wifi to distract me from a poor ambiance.  Which leads me to another reason I love and miss my millions of Starbucks around my home country: WIFI!

WIFI should be available at every coffee shop.  Period.  At least the ones who want to be successful.  Where I come from, coffee shop culture is about coming in with your laptop or iPad and multitasking while sipping.  FYI: I am not saying they need wifi so you can sit on Facebook or Twitter, but to get work/tasks done, rather.

To me, a good cafe is a place to meet coworkers, have casual meetings, interviews, or solo study sessions.  It should have a big enough seating area to cater their clientele.  It’s a place for people who need fuel to get shit done.  Nowadays, to get almost anything done you need wifi.  Do I sound like an entitled American?  Perhaps.  And I’m sorry for that, but the fact remains: Consistent product and reliable wifi just work, and Starbucks understands that.

What can I say…I’m a California girl at heart, forever and always.

I just happen to be an expat living in Africa at the moment, with no Starbucks in sight.

Living in Cape Town has been incredible, but my journey to find the perfect cafe with reliable wifi continues on like The Neverending Story.  I’ve found decent wifi and quality coffee but not under the same roof- yet.  (Stay tuned, as I hope I can eventually report back with a list of the best spots in the city- you know, when I find them.)  

In case you’re thinking, “Why not just brew at home?”  Of course, I can!  And I do- on the weekends- but I find myself about 100x more productive when I sit at a cafe with my laptop, versus at home with Netflix on the T.V. sitting there…tempting me.  You know what I mean?

I’m willing to buy and drink a mediocre cup for a cozy and productive few hours.  

Judge me if you must…

After all my travels, here I sit at a cafe in Cape Town, South Africa, looking out at the world wonder that is Table Mountain, and yet still, I long for my venti-sized iced coffee with rapid fire wifi looming in the air.

I guess the saying is true: “You can take the girl out of California (away from her Starbucks), but you can’t take the California out of the girl.”img_4963

*** UPDATE:  Went to Starbucks a few weeks back after arriving home in the states for a visit.  Nearly kissed the sidewalk outside.  Shout out to the magical Starbucks mermaid, you made me complete again.

5 thoughts on “A Venti Sized Void in South Africa (According to a California girl)

  1. I must agree. I confess that the WIFI has caused me to buy coffee when I was not even in the mood. But I am willing to pay for the overpriced, underwhelming flavor of their uninspired blends because I know I will not be disappointed by the coffee or the internet speed.

    I also figure that I am supporting a local business (I am from Seattle, after all).


  2. Ha, there aren’t many Starbucks in my native country of Australia (country consists largely of artisan coffee snobs). I spent a lot of time working in Starbucks when I lived in London (thank you reliable Wifi!) and bought a commemorative “London” mug upon leaving. It’s funny, the things you miss when you’re overseas. For me it was cheap sushi, which Sydney does so well.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This post is hilarious! There really is nothing like Starbucks. I agree with you that I’m more productive when I’m not tempted with netflix but when I’m out working. Thanks for sharing!


  4. Preach it girl! I was so excited the first time I found a Starbucks in Australia. Way back in ’07. I was introduced to the Flat White over there and nearly lost my mind when they finally brought it over here to the States!


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