If you know 16ozDays, you know how we feel about Starbucks. If you don’t, we’ll lay it out for you: we aren’t fans. Forget honoring traditional coffee, Starbucks has changed everything about the intricate rituals. Shifting when we drink coffee, how we drink coffee, and taking away some of the most beautiful aspects of community is just a glimpse of what has been lost. Take a caffè macchiato for example, traditionally espresso with a fine dollop of milk froth. Alternatively, as said in a post by Cafe Sense, “The Starbucks macchiato is over-the-top and usually involves a lot of milk and sugar. On top of that, it adds a generous drizzle of caramel or hazelnut on the top. Starbucks’ creation is really just a latte with added foam and flavoring”. Take into account the excessive sugar intake in this single drink as well, a 16oz Starbucks macchiato totals at 250 calories with 33 grams of added sugar. Although this may be normal for a delicious dessert, think about the decision to purchase one of these drinks every day. That’s 12,045 grams of sugar a year costing $1,624.25. This isn’t an isolated event. With the growth of chain coffee and addicting, sugar filled drinks, shops like Starbucks are changing how the world sees coffee.
This doesn’t have to be your world though, it sure isn’t ours. By making the conscious choice about not only where you buy your weekend coffee with the pals, but where you spend your time, shops you follow on social media, and where you buy your beans for home brews from can all make a huge difference for small local brands. Making these kinds of changes can be scary, so we’ve come up with some ways to help.
1. Find cafes in your area that sell fair trade coffee.
(Bags of Coffee)
Over time, this has become more common. Baristas at most cafes will be able to tell you where their beans originated from and if it’s fair trade. If in doubt, check the shop’s website for information on their beans. Check out this post by MistoBox about local twin cities shops, Spyhouse, for more about how they buy their beans.
2. Look for locally roasted beans.
(Sam from S.K. Coffee educating us about the roasting process)
A tell tale sign of a truly passionate shop is if they roast their own beans. A labor of love, roasting is an art that is cultivated by a roasting master or head roaster and every single roast is different. It’s an extremely interesting process and for coffee lovers, we highly recommend learning more about how the beans you are choosing are roasted. One of our favorite shops, SK Coffee, hosts roasting events by the highly knowledgeable Sam Kjellberg. Seeing how Sam roasts and all of the small decisions he makes along the way is absolutely intriguing. If you unfortunately can’t make it to one of SKs events, this youtube video by Insider is extremely informative.
3. Simply shop local.
(16ozDays x Vitality Roasting advertising their new coffee bag designs)
There are hundreds of small shops anywhere you look on the map. Here alone in the Twin Cities there are at least 70 local places to grab a cup of joe or a bag of beans. If you’re in need of ideas, check out our instagram, @16ozdays, for plenty of ideas. Our latest blog post includes our ten favorite shops of 2021, so it’s fair to say those are all great recommendations.
In the end, the most important thing, the thing that we can’t stress enough, is that where you spend your money and who you chose to support really does make a difference. Chat with a barista in a Starbucks about their coffee and then go to your favorite local shops and ask the same questions, you’ll notice the difference right away. The passion and community that is found at a small cafe is unmatched and something you will never find inside a Starbucks lobby. Every dollar you spend affects a shop and it’s up to you who you give that support to. Don’t forget to tip your barista, stay warm out there, and shop local.
-Written by Grace McDonald