what we need is a platinum cupper’s card

June 10, 2008 – 7:53 pm

CI conspiracy theorizes so you don’t have to: is there some clued-in coffee person on the new york times staff — someone, say, with very close third-wave relations — behind the paper’s curious recent tandem of quality coffee coverage with snarky, skeptical starbucks riffs? or is it just deeply american to root for the indie coffee shops and resent the indie-turned-juggernaut?

alas, the coffee juggernaut in this case is showing a creepy propensity to buy your favor with cheap status tricks! the times’ ron lieber cheerfully shows us coffee-drinker status-seeking at its most egregious:

“…the goal is to keep buyers from straying, by offering, say, an elite status with special perks that they must qualify for each year.”

because, you know, it’s just so hard to compete with taste.

“It’s amazing this stuff works so well,” Mr. Lipp said. “What we’ve found is that people can be bought for a cookie.”

including, apparently, the author of this piece:

“Rewards are nice, but recognition is better. So if I’m one of Starbucks’s best customers, I want to have elite status, as I do on American Airlines. I want shorter lines, better freebies, special seating (Aeron chairs, preferably) and electrical outlets reserved just for me and my laptop.”

points for brutal self-effacement! alas, cue the painfully familiar CI screed about why a taste revolution IS granular — slow and painstaking, not easily turned into a mass movement.

these status-inflators create waves, but sort of, you know, obscure the point, eh? true taste trickles in your mouth a little bit like a droplet of coffee surprise. or something.