Fantastic Design, Bad Coffee Wednesday June 16, 2010

One of the unique chains in The District (and the US in general) is the curiously named Caribou Coffee House. One of the jokes that we’ve been bouncing around revolves around Caribou Coffee.

Like come on, Caribou? In 95% humidity? In Virginia? It’s a good name, but it’s a wee bit geographically challenged. .

Anyways since arriving, it’s been on my hit list of places to check out. So on Tuesday when were looking for a place to stop and it happened to be nearby, I had to check it out. To see how ‘caribou’ this coffee really is.

And while the design is exceptional. (I’m a hack designer, so the blue and the brown colour scheme and stellar font logo is going to attract me anyways) Caribou Coffee was one of the most disappointing coffee house experiences I’ve ever had.

I don’t usually use the overdrive to air grievances, but when it comes to disappointing experiences for coffee, this took the cake. Not even all the attention to brand design and the atmospheric banff-rustic-lodge experience could save their overall product. Whether it was being adamantly told that they only serve Dark Roast brewed coffee (while a full pot of Light Roast sat on the table behind the server) to a stale and crumbling Chicken Caesar Sandwich (which is a 1,000 times worse than the prepackaged monstrosity of Starbucks) to arguing with the cashier about proper change for a $20, the whole experience was soo awful that I felt personally let down. I was eager to experience the Caribou Coffee House and find a cool little alternative to Starbucks. Something with a little feeling of home.

Hell, I’d even settle for a little bit of the Good Earth Franchise vibe in Caribou Coffee. But it was not mean to be. First impressions, like in any business, are a big thing and Caribou dropped the ball.

Which was a shame, as I was a already hoping to become a huge champion of the brand before even walking in. I guess it just goes to show that not even exceptional design can hid a horrible product.

Categories: the-dc, The-Soapbox,

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