Thoughts on the Starbucks invasion and supporting independents

I am the first to admit that I enjoy the odd Starbucks’ Caramel Macchiato when visiting America but I have to say that I enjoy a coffee from an independent coffee shop much more and seek these out. I also enjoy the experience that independents give you, from the ambience and personality to the food and of course, the coffee. Each coffee shop I either frequent regularly or get drawn to in this city has something different about it and I love that. I have written about this before and I am not ashamed to bang home the point again and again as I find new places here or relax in an old favourite.

DSC01149Friends comment, when visiting, how much they love the cafe scene here. In fact a quote from this article in The Guardian in 2012 sums this up – “It may be a small nation but the Danes definitely have an entrepreneurial spirit. In Copenhagen they have clung on to their independent shops and cafes, with chains such as Starbucks hemmed within the confines of the airport.” 

So you can perhaps understand the surge of outrage I felt when I spotted not just one but two new openings of Starbucks here in Copenhagen, on the same day.

I couldn’t bring myself to use photos of an actual Starbucks but instead I thought I’d like to share some of this fab place we enjoyed a coffee in whilst in Århus. If you love coffee, exposed bricks and VW camper vans then this is the place for you. If you are looking for an independent coffee shop here in Copenhagen here are a few I enjoy.

One forthcoming opening is at Frederiksberg Centre, which is especially ironic as I previously observed how ‘American’ the newly renovated and expanded centre felt. Within a few minutes walk of the centre you can find a number of great independent coffee shops. Likewise the other one I saw was seconds from Torvehallerne, home to The Coffee Collective and other independents. I’d like to be charitable but I think the location of these new Starbucks is designed to attempt to corner the market and harm independents – although there are some arguments that a Starbucks can make an independent coffee house thrive, it just feels a little to aggressive and impersonal in a city that thrives on individual cafes and shops and has a culture that appears to push against the march of the chains.DSC01150

So please, no matter how much the artificial pumped in smells of coffee attract you to these impersonal places, support  local coffee shops, like the coffee shop pictured in this post, and homegrown businesses, it’s what the uniqueness of the cities, especially Copenhagen, is built on.




  1. I love the quirky little independent stores, they just have much more personality, and most of them make excellent coffee. I have to make an exception in the fall for Pumpkin Spice Latte, though. And maybe one Gingerbread Latte before Christmas! 🙂
    It’s the same with other chains. I’ve been baffled by the lines outside the new Dunkin Donuts at Hovedbanegården – while you can get much better donuts from the local Donut Shop at the 7Eleven right next to it.

  2. Can’t remember when I was last in a Starbucks. Living in London, the city with more Starbucks branches than any other city in Europe, I certainly have plenty of opportunity. I also practically take my coffee intravenously. But feeding my extremely discerning coffee habit in a Starbucks, for heaven’s sake?! It would be akin to expecting cordon bleu cuisine from a burger bar. Copenhageners take note!

  3. Just the other day, I thought about this myself. The price is heavy. However in a good coffee place I pay the same amount. So that cannot be it.
    It is definitly the quality of coffee, water and also milk! I don’t mind chains, but then they need to be good ones.

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