For our latest instalment of ‘An American in Dublin’ Emma discusses coffee culture, her love for grande nonfat vanilla lattes and how Starbucks are promoting up and coming Irish musicians:
For the true Starbucks fan, it’s not just about the coffee. It’s a lifestyle.
Okay, bold statement. But it’s true: Starbucks has a vibe. Unlike Dunkin’ Donuts, Starbucks encourages customer to sit, relax, chat, and have another blueberry muffin. They’re not rushing you out the door; they want you to stay and enjoy the free wifi. (If you are a Dunkin’ person, well, everyone’s entitled to his own opinion, but if we’re friends and grabbing coffee together we’re going to Starbucks. Now, I realize that you don’t have Dunkin’ Donuts in Ireland, and I’m not sure what the equivalent is. I think that’s a good thing. You don’t need Dunkin’.)
This distinction is perhaps less true in Dublin than it is in America. (I definitely think Dublin has a better coffee culture than New York. Which is a topic for another blog post.) Yet even in a city full of quirky little cafes and coffee shops, Starbucks will always hold a special place in my heart. It is my Breakfast at Tiffany’s place. Wherever I travel, my grande nonfat vanilla latte will taste the same, and wherever I go, the wifi will be free and reliable. I have a lot of brand loyalty; Starbucks has been good to me and I will support them.
It’s possible that my friends’ and family’s constant mockery has made me feel a smidge defensive about my Starbucks obsession.
I’m done raving now, so I’ll get to what I was actually meant to blog about: Starbucks Session at Starbucks College Green.
The idea behind Starbucks Session is to promote up and coming Irish musicians, and in the process, raise a bit of money for worthy causes. Last night’s event was free, with the idea that people who come could instead make a small donation to Heart Children Ireland. Heart Children Ireland is a support group for children with Congenital Heart Defect and their families and is based in Carmichael Centre on North Brunswick Street.
It’s a lovely idea, and a Starbucks Session is a pleasant way to spend an evening. You can sip your grande nonfat vanilla latte, or your tall light-ice unsweetened green-tea lemonade (seasonally inappropriate but delicious) and listen to talented musicians. It’s a nice alternative to the pub scene; equally laid-back and chatty, but without alcohol. (Though if you want, the session’s over by around 9:30, so that still leaves you plenty of time to hit the pub. And then everyone there will be impressed by how musically knowledgeable and cultured you are, listening to hip young singers at coffee shops.)
Last night, there were two acts: Sean Riddick and Fiona Dunkin. (Hilarious, right? Dunkin at Starbucks? Not hilarious? Maybe mildly amusing? Maybe only I thought this was funny? K.) Sean Riddick is sort of rock-y, with clever lyrics, which I appreciate. A student here in Dublin, Fiona Dunkin is classically trained and has a bluesy, folk-y sound. Both are quite talented.
The next Starbucks Session will be on Thursday, May 2nd, at 7:30pm. The acts haven’t been announced yet, but I’m sure they’ll be as strong as last night’s; watching videos of other Starbucks Sessions, the musicians seem pretty consistently good. Why not swing by the next session? It’s pleasant, cultural, supportive, and—best of all—free. We’ll be there.