Bill DeMarco Rates the Top 50 Starbucks in LA: This Week: #11
#11: the Starbucks at Pico and Robertson
Faithful readers. I write you from the abyss. Correct. Pico and Robertson. A sensational Starbucks with an arcing window gleams on the intersection like the smile of an oil baron. Everyone is vivid today. It looks as if scissors had cut people from the sidewalk. These machines streak the streets and strange wheels twist the arms of the people inside. I bought a magazine called Life that had an article on jazz.
I know I sound high but I assure you it’s the goldenrod aura of this coffee, found at the 11th best Starbucks in LA, found at the junction of said streets. I sip again. A quadrille of xanthines gambols in my mouth accompanied by a manic trio (Miles, Brubeck, Neil Peart). Caffeine canters in my gut as the switchboard of my nervous system lights up like Menorahs. So impressed am I by this brew, the nuancing of acid and oil, the encounter-group back-and-forth of aromatics, I master my nascent shyness and approach the barista to ask him what the secret is.
“Cedric, what accounts for the spectacular flavor of the coffee at this Starbucks?”
Cedric pushed his hat back and looked down thoughtfully, careful to choose his words. “Imagine the field of all possible coffee flavor emanating across two-dimensional space, one axis representing â€˜taste’ and the other â€˜satisfaction,’” he said.
“The Z-axis being coffee,” I interject in an attempt to clarify.
“Exactly. So imagine a coffee bean traversing this matrix. When the flavor achieves critical intensity, the taste-satisfaction continuum warps to such a degree that the coffee bean is sucked in. . .”
“. . .emerging on the other side as a Mocha Valencia,” I say completing his line of logic.
“Precisely. In years past this effect was thought to be due to variances in the propagation of taste-waves through a hypothetical substance called flavonium.”
“Which was proven in the early 70’s not to exist,” I interject again, helpfully, albeit pedantically, somewhat hastily, but not at all impertinently.
Cedric shaped his hand into a gun and made a â€˜click’ noise in the back of his mouth.
“All right Cedric, you got it,” I say emptying another bag of Equal in my to-go cup. I looked cool on the outside but a million questions raced through my mind. Was he giving me the blow-off? The existence of flavonium has never been disproven. That was a red herring with non-fat whip. And what do you mean “the flavor”? Which flavor? Bad science. Any barista worth his smock wouldn’t try to peddle that on dexadrine addicts. He was hiding something. And I intend to find out what. Probably. Great coffee. . .but secretiveness, shitty parking and high rankings do not mix.
Next Week: Bill DeMarco sneaks into the Top 10