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Stone Creek Coffee provides escape from coffee insanity


I love coffee. I have been drinking it since well before I was probably old enough to be drinking coffee and I usually put down a couple of cups a day. But for me, it's a drink that's either a very addictive vice, or a necessary evil to get me through my day.

As a rule, I try to avoid Starbucks at all costs. I've gotten over its ability to over-commercialize my daily cup of joe, but I simply can't handle the over-the-top giddiness of most of the workers and I especially loathe the repeated efforts to force me to use its special lingo. If a "tall" is actually small, and large is "venti" why can't you just say so?

Seriously, if I want the biggest cup of black coffee you have, don't try and get me to say the ridiculous word you have for it. And when I say "I just want the biggest cup of black coffee you have", that should mean -- explicitly -- that I do not, under any circumstances, want any sort of flavoring added to it.

I would go out of my way to find a George Webb's or a gas station instead of going across the street for Starbucks. Sorry, but it's a personal preference. Unfortunately, though, options are sometimes limited.

A recent stop for coffee while in Wisconsin Dells led us to Starbucks. Let's just say the boys and I were feeling somewhat sluggish that morning. One of the first rules of retail is to read your customer before serving them. Don't engage them in pointless small talk if they look to be in a hurry or otherwise disinterested in anything other than quickly purchasing whatever product you're peddling. At Starbucks, that is definitely not the case.

I was supposed to meet a friend for coffee this morning at the aforementioned national chain, and luckily, the friend canceled. Instead, I stopped at Stone Creek Coffee on my way to class. This particular location is right across from my campus and was busy, but not the least crowded. I came in, I placed my simple order and I was done. No annoying small talk, no stupid language and no suggestive-selling.

This ... this is what I am looking for when going to get my morning caffeine fix.

A cup of coffee should be one of life's simple pleasures and not some sort of culture. I'm all for being a good and friendly employee, but it is possible to go too far and take things a little too seriously. The big, bad national chain with stores on three of every four corners could learn a few lessons from Milwaukee's own Stone Creek.


Talkbacks

brunocarlson | Dec. 7, 2007 at 9:37 a.m. (report)

First, you get an extra shot of espresso at Alterra, Stone Creek, even Caribou for cheaper than Starbucks at a cheaper price. Plus, they know you don't want small, idle chit chat so early in the morning. There are times that I wanted to reach through that drive thru on a bad morning. The local stores never look at you like an idiot for not wanting flavored syrup. I support the locally owned stores for their ability to not use a machine to grind, fill and make the espresso. Also, that they are willing to be so laid back yet welcoming. I enjoy being able to sit down and enjoy the paper on the weekends without feeling like I need to be quick about it. Good for Alterra, Stonecreek, and all the other, independently owned and run coffee shops. We just need more of them to support the surrounding areas of the city, not just downtown, BV, or east side.

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brhamp | Dec. 6, 2007 at 4:17 p.m. (report)

So, does this mean you refuse to eat at McDonald's as well??? I mean after all you need to support the the home grown independent right? I love Alterra and it's Milwaukee heritage but wouldn't it be sweet to have Milwaukee's own Alterra on every street corner in the world??? Starbucks' start (and price for that matter) really doesn't vary much from that of Alterra.....not to mention there would be no US coffee craze if it wasn't for Starbucks. So you despise them because you had a run in with an overly friendly barista? I can think of worse experiences. I say embrace the convenience of good coffee regardless. Support the locals but don't bash the multinationals just because they are successful.

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CarolV | Dec. 6, 2007 at 2:47 p.m. (report)

IMHO the Starbucks Drive through is evil on top of evil. So convenient in cold weather...so expensive...yet so tasty....unfortunately I, as many other BV parents after morning drop off, swing through that sucka to pay way too much for our quick fix. I hang my head in shame. I don't even want to know how many calories are in that Chai. (or is it Chai Tea Latte? Or is it a skim Chai or was it nonfat Chai? don't even get me started on the S,M,L aka tall, grande and what's the big one again?...ah yes...Venti) NY Resolution #1: get my morning fix at any other smaller coffee shop in BV and support local business while getting a few more steps of exercise in my day.

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arks00 | Dec. 6, 2007 at 2:01 p.m. (report)

I've puckered up and hit the drive thru starbucks a few times lately..... I prefer the locals too, but every so often, you dont have time. Anyway, I think its hilarious that they have a "tip" box at the drive-thru window...Like I want to give you a tip for being overtly giddy after paying $4.00 for a coffee. ha.

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belle123 | Dec. 6, 2007 at 1:41 p.m. (report)

Caffiend - I think your confused. Alterra has a yellow 8oz cup for small drinks...so the other three sizes make complete sense. And 20oz of coffee should be called extra large; don't you think?

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