Life, Culture and Travels from the perspective of a Cuban
Starbucks in Toronto
Categories: TorontoNTERO

Starbucks Coffee is the place to hate or to love. For many North Americans, Starbucks is an evil company which chokes small businesses, takes over every single popular city corner, sells overpriced coffee and attracts the rich and non – adventurous customer. People like to make fun of tourists who do not feel comfortable trying the coffee at  local shops in foreign countries and are loyal to Starbucks, no matter where.

The truth is that I rarely went to Starbucks while living in Toronto, from 2006 until 2011. I always used to buy my double double or cafe mocha at Tim Hortons as it was the cheaper option and coffee for me it is not an “every once in a while” occasion. Also, it was not a habit for me to go and sit at a cafe until I changed my house for the backpack and later switched the PC for a laptop.

In the last couple of weeks I have been visiting the Starbucks along College St. with my laptop. I am in the process of looking for a contract job and doing some studying on the side so I sometimes find that getting out the house increases my concentration and therefore, my productivity. I have always been a fan of the library but with these cold temperatures I need to be in a louder place to observe, to mingle with the crowd, to be more human. I seriously need people in order to survive winters.

The funny part is that because now I am more of an observer I have had the chance to truly see the Starbucks clientele who is no more than a mix of the people of Toronto. I see the students catching up with their assignments, the homeless looking for a warm place to sit for a few minutes, the funky artist waiting to meet someone for a work interview and the mother buying a juice for her thirsty kid. From time to time, you hear a loud Torontonian dramatically talking about “horrible” first world problems but you do not need to be at Starbucks for that one.

More than once I have shared my table with some random person staying for a while. I have seen how people leave their laptops to grab something to eat, go out for a smoke break or to reach the bathroom. I am amazed at how they trust that no one is going to grab their belongings. I would not leave my laptop for more than a minute.

Starbucks has a reliable Wi-Fi, plugs to feed your computer and comfy chairs. Other famous coffee places in Toronto, like Manic Coffee, do not provide Wi-Fi so right there, the summer tourist in Toronto who is looking for an internet connection, will probably choose Starbucks over Manic.





Also published on Medium.

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