To the editors:
Paula Mathieu's "Coffee Talk" was right on concerning Starbucks' absurd terminological barrier to customers getting what they want [Our Town, August 20]. One solution is to pick a single Starbucks location, teach one barista how to make your drink the way you like it (and let you call it whatever you want), then hope that person stays around for a while (not likely).
Another, better solution is to take your coffee business elsewhere. There are dozens of friendly, comfortable espresso shops all over town (but alas, not enough downtown) that draw good coffee drinks and offer far more amenities. On top of that, unlike Starbucks, most are locally owned.
In contrast to Starbucks, these cafes often put out tables and chairs, have free newspapers and magazines available, provide a place to hang your jacket, serve hot food, and generally encourage you to sit around and relax. Typically, their drinks have bigger portions of espresso and are cheaper on top of it.
I hope more coffee lovers will patronize these customer-friendly establishments and send Starbucks a message. There is one lesson other cafes could learn from Starbucks, though--offer speedy take-out service.