Coffee, Starbucks, Lebanese Restaurant

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I am impressed by Starbucks, not because of how good their coffee is, but in the way they package the whole experience. It starts with walking in Starbucks and being greeted by the Barrista. The warm colors and comfortable relaxing sofas tempt you to sink in them. The different Coffee selections have foreign names like Machiato, Latte, Frapuccino, cup sizes are in Italian. Ordering your coffee makes you feel like you are buying something exotic like a Lamborghini sports car or Bulgari jewellry.

You pay 1 KD (around $3) for your Latte and sit down to sip it, listening to the smooth jazz music being piped all over the Coffee shop.

Effectively, what you just bought was hot milk with coffee, which you could prepare at home by heating some milk and adding two spoons of Nescafe instant coffee, costing you around 100 fils (30 cents) or less.

I am not complaining, I still drink Starbucks and other coffees and happily pay the 1 KD or more for the experience. I am simply in awe by how they are able to sell me and others and we gladly come back for more. I thought no one else could beat those smart people at Starbucks.

Well, I had a heavy dinner at a Lebanese restaurant yesterday, after the dinner was over, the Lebanese waiter offered some sweets and white coffee (ahwa bayda). I never tried white coffee before. I thought it would be some light colored coffee beans from the green hills of Lebanon. The waiter came back with cups and a kettle. I poured the white coffee and what I got was flower scented hot water.

I thought no one could beat Starbucks in packaging and selling overpriced coffee, well I was wrong. Those ancient Phoenicians traders did. My hat off (or rather ghutra) to all the Lebanese. I will go again to that same Lebanese restaurant just to order white coffee.


  1. does it taste like coffee at all? i hate coffee but this sounds interesting...

  2. Mark: That's the point, it isn't coffee, it is hot water with rose water added, you need to add your own sugar, but it is called white coffee. Still, it is very pleasant.

  3. I love ahwa Bayda... puts me in a far more relaxed mood than any other coffee... simply coz I CAN'T HANDLE REAL COFFEE... makes my fuses pop and I become crazier than the usual...

    and it makes you feel like your having a taste of the past... so calming so cultured.. ever so ever so good... I'm heading off to Fairuz tonight ;P

    of and Bil3afya :)

  4. in addtion to the coffe, Sturbucks creates an atmosphere of a Diwania. People love to socialize, and most of the older generations still go to Diwanias to socialize, communicate and get away from their "busy" lives. The new generation is moving into malls to gather, and talk.

    Like you said, it's a package. Now people also want to have Wi-Fi to access the Internet and enjoy other forms of communications in addition to bluetooth file transfer with other people they don't even know.

    So it's all that. It's the coffee, atmosphere, digital and non-digital communications, and being away.

    Mohamed Qasem

  5. i love lOvE LOVE starbucks... sometimes I go for the atmosphere but more often than not I pick up my coffee and leave... I've been to a lot of coffee places and I honestly think Starbucks has the best coffee...

  6. Ahwa Bayda? Now that sounds exotic! Although it's not even coffee at all, nice marketing ploy by the ancient Phoenician traders :P

    I know it's currently the "in" thing to hate starbucks but honestly they serve good coffee (even if it's overpriced) and they have a nice atmosphere (even if it's always crowded), and you generally have a good time when you go there. So yeah I agree with you. Totally worth it :)

  7. i luv ahwa bayda! the rose water helps digest food, ppl usually have it after a heavy meal ;)

  8. diigmaa: don't just go there for the white coffee, the food is excellent also.

    MQ: exactly my point, it is the full package.

    Krispy: I like my coffee with a strong fresh smell, Costa's coffee smells better, but that's just my opinion.

    DG: It is always fun to go to starbucks and it is everywhere so you don't need to wait hours in traffic to get there. Have you tried the Koot Mall starbucks? the sea view there is amazing and just right for coffee early in the morning.

    tinker: Ahwa Bayda is pleasant but it will never replace my triple shot coffee.

  9. Nope haven't been there yet. I have this problem with directions y'see, I get lost easily. If you recommend it though, I could gather a few friends and they could drive me there :P