I have a love-hate relationship with Starbucks. On the one hand, Starbucks has given me a taste for better coffee. On the other hand, there is often even better coffee to be found. But sometimes, the familiar calls. Such was the case on a Saturday morning after a short hike up the stairs at the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook. We stopped in at what is probably one of my favorite Starbucks in LA — in downtown Culver City. It’s in the historic Washington Building, and has an amazing pie-shaped building with a wonderful outdoor patio.
Aside from the great location, one of the features that sets this Starbucks apart is their Clover machine. These machines brew one-cup-at-a-time using specially selected roasts from around the world. On this day, they had the famous Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee, and I couldn’t pass it up. According to Wikipedia, Blue Mountain coffee is among “the most expensive and sought after in the world.” Considering that Starbucks sells this coffee for $60 a pound, I had to try a cup. I ordered just a tall coffee, black and in a mug.
On Ceramic Mugs: A Digression
Speaking of mugs, one of my pet peeves is that everyone goes into Starbucks and gets a paper cup. Sure, a few people bring their own travel mug, but for the most part, you get a paper cup that gets wasted. When we’ve had coffee in Europe, it’s quite the opposite. You sit down, and are served in a ceramic cup. It’s earth-friendly and a much more pleasant experience.
What most people don’t realize is that Starbucks offers ceramic “for here” mugs. Just ask for one. The problem they face is that they run low on supplies. We spoke with the barista at the Culver City Starbucks who said that people routinely steal them, so they are constantly running out. Really? You have to steal a mug from Starbucks? That’s low.
At any rate, next time you’re in Starbucks and plan to drink your coffee there, ask for a ceramic mug. But leave it there when you’re done.
So how was the Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee? It was wonderful. The aroma is rich and complex. The coffee sweet and smooth. You won’t need to add cream or sugar to this beautiful, black nectar. It’s perfect as is.
And it complemented that chocolate croissant we shared perfectly.
Starbucks Culver City
9718 W Washington Blvd
- Beautiful location
- Lots of outlets (if you’re into the working from a coffee shop thing)
- Great patio space
- Starbucks Reserve (the Clover machine)
- Metered parking, or a nearby public garage
- It’s Starbucks, the “fast food” of the coffee world