The Summer Starbucks Teavana Review

I have always been a big coffee drinker.  I also enjoy a good cuppa green tea — even though I’m an infamous bagger and not a loose leaf sort of fellow.  That all changed across the last week as I discovered Teavana — the Tea Heaven place now owned by Starbucks.  Lately, Starbucks have been making a big tea push.  They purchased Tazo tea and now Teavana are deep in the mermaid fold.  Starbucks seems to know their future is read in tea leaves and not coffee beans.

The key to making a great cuppa loose leaf tea is in the tea maker and Teavana makes a perfect one.  You just steep and let gravity do the rest.  Cleaning up tea leaves is a much simpler and crisper job than having to clean up coffee grounds from a French press.

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When Your Third Place Does Not Want You: Elderly Entitlement and Fighting the New Old Korean Queens Gang

I’ve been following an ongoing saga in the New York Times concerning a local McDonald’s restaurant in Queens and how elderly Koreans in the neighborhood have taken over the place as their community hub.

This new, “old,” gang doesn’t really buy anything and they stay all day long taking up space and not making any money for the business.  There’s a Senior Citizen Community Center nearby, with van service for those who cannot walk that far, but the retired don’t want to go there because it’s in a Church basement.

The one thing you take away from reading about this ongoing conflict between elder entitlement and the business needs of McDonald’s is that the old people — like the Millennials behind them — believe they have the freedom and the right to sit wherever they want, and linger as long as they wish, with no repercussion whatsoever. Asking them to leave to make room for others is a cultural slap in the face that will not be tolerated.

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I am Now Starry Starbucks Gold!

Today, the mailman brought me something I’ve been waiting exactly six weeks to arrive:  My Starbucks Gold Card!  Yes, it’s crass, and indulgent, and unnecessary, and gaudy — but oh, do I love it so!

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The Whatever Starbucks Experience

For a long time I had a problem getting a certain drink made just right every week when I went to Starbucks on Fridays to get a drink for Elizabeth in lieu of getting her flowers in honor of the holy Sabbath. That problem seems to be mostly over now, as I have repeated myself enough times that the baristas at the store know the drink well. It has been especially easier since we have started ordering the drink “affogato style.”

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What Makes a Neighborhood? Who Creates a City?

Way back in 2001, I interviewed Tass Michos — Director of Photography for the “Death to Smoochy” movie starring Edward Norton and Robin Williams — for eyepiece magazine, the official publication of the Guild of British Camera Technicians; and while the interview didn’t start off well, we did meet at the fancied Union Square Cafe for our power lunch, and the best part of the meeting was that the Guild was picking up the tab for what turned out to be a discomforting meal in more ways than one.

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My Weekly Friday "Flowers" Struggle At Starbucks

A number of months ago, it came to light at my office that I do not bring flowers home to my wife Elizabeth every Friday afternoon as many Jewish men do, in honor of the Sabbath. One of my coworkers gave me a hard time about this, saying that it was important that I honor the Sabbath this way, as well as doing something nice for the person who was spending so much time getting ready for this holy twenty-five hour period.

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How Do You Pay It Forward?

“Paying it forward” is one of those feel good buzz phrases, which has been hijacked and commercialised by some large corporations — Starbucks for one with their backing of the “suspended coffee scheme.” The same has happened with the whole industry that used to be individual random acts of kindness, which spawned a book and several reality television shows.

Do not let this taint your view of the people who “pay it forward” every day in small and large ways.

In retrospect, I was brought up, paying it forward. Each advent we would clear out clothes that were too small and toys we had grown out of, which would then be washed and pressed or cleaned in the case of toys and then gifted to local children’s homes so the less fortunate than ourselves would at least have something for Christmas.

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