This is Not a Starbucks

The Cup o’Mud in Bodega, California is tucked between a surf shop that’s been there since surfing was invented and an antique shop that’s open on Thursdays “if the weather’s nice.” Across the way is a biker bar and the church where Alfred Hitchcock filmed part of The Birds.

The sign above the coffee bar at the Cup O’Mud warns, This is not a Starbucks. Please do not ask for a frappe, crappe, tall, grande, vente. It’s a medium or large. Up in the rafters above this sign are some artistically arranged coffee bean sacks. Smack in the middle of them is a button that says, I could shit a better president.

I can’t think of a better way to put it.

Coffee served by woman with bleached white hair. Multiple piercings. Tattoos. Edge of the continent attitude. Good latte. I had a large.

Daffodils everywhere. Bikers too. Everyone we come across — bikers, surfers, women from L.A. carrying Louis Vuitton bags and driving SUVs — seems to be having a restorative weekend. I certainly did.


26 thoughts on “This is Not a Starbucks

  1. This sounds like a great place not to take a laptop or sip Mocha frappucinos while listening to the jazz sampler of the month. The photos convey such a refreshing place after the banality of Starbucks. Not that I don’t enjoy a Grande Chai Latte now and then, but you gotta love the sort of place where you can just soak in the atmosphere of individuality. Now if I could only find one near me…

  2. TBM, Mine too! As I said, it was a really good latte.

    Oh Sue, tornado warnings — at least you might end up in Oz at the end of your natural disaster. We just end up in the bay.

    Hello and welcome Niki — I like those chai lattes myself! There was a lot of individuality about in Bodega yesterday. I’m guessing most people are back home sipping ventes today.

  3. What a thing to come across right as I’m drinking a starbucks coffee – in my defense, though, it’s the only place to get coffee in my office building.

    S. is launching a national job search for an a job in environmental law next year and your posts make California seem…not that bad an idea at all!

  4. Why can’t this place move into my little town? We need something to fight the Starbucks stationed every 1.2 miles all over CT (not that I don’t frequent Starbucks. It’s the most conveniently located to my house).

  5. After reading this post, a PIL song started to run through my head, with a slight change in the lyrics….

    This is not a StarBucks…..”

    I’m dating myself for those familiar with the band.

    I have to say — I’m inspired to go and buy some transfers so I can have that little phrase on a t-shirt (the bit about the president).

    Anyway, hiya! Long time, no comments on your site.

  6. God I hate Starbucks! Love the slogan! Want coffee!
    I love the baffled expression ‘barristas’ get when you ask them for a large cup, as if they’ve completely lost the capacity to to deal with everyday sizes.

  7. Where I live, there’s only one Starbucks so it is a bit of novelty … yes, this is the hinterland.

    Sounds as if you had a wonderful weekend. It’s good to see places that aren’t snow covered … thanks for sharing this slice of life.

  8. This place looks wonderful. My husband was reading this over my shoulder and we both fell about when we read that remark about the President. Too funny. I think you really deserved a relaxing weekend after your previous week. So glad it was good. Lxx

  9. Sounds like my kind of coffee shop. Up here in Canada Tim Horton’s rules the coffee roast. They have small, medium, large and extra-large. “double-double” has become an expression (that’s 2 sugar, 2 cream). They make their coffee in Bunn’s, but the secret to it’s goodness is they throw out what’s left after 20 minutes, so it’s never stale.

    More truckers than bikers tho….


  10. No Starbucks here; the closest one is 45 miles away. Best coffee in this town comes right out of my kitchen. We buy green organic fair trade beans and roast them right before we use them. No lattes, although I suppose we could fake it.

  11. wow, that’s someplace I might actually get to visit someday! I have to go to a wedding in Sonoma in August and will (hopefully) get a few days to bum around the countryside. Of course, I’ve never been to this part of world so my ability to judge distance on a map might not be so good, so maybe I won’t be able to visit. Either way, the country looks gorgeous!

  12. I so want to go there, even though I don’t drink coffee any more.
    On your earthquake post, my mildly paranoid boyfriend is assembling a bird flu kit, which sometimes I find funny and sometimes don’t.

  13. Courtney — There’s lots of environment in California to be fought over by lawyers. I hope S gets a job here!

    Eoin, You’ll be happy to know that Bodega seems to be a place where the pub is not dead, and people know how to hang out.

    Emily, your comment made me think about how sometimes, when a place is everywhere, that’s a good thing. Look at the carnegie library, for example. Nothing wrong with the proliferation of those! As for Starbucks, here in the Bay Area, the attitude among hip coffee drinkers is that Starbucks represents “starter” coffee — and that’s a good thing for those who’ll then graduate to Peet’s (where the truly good coffee is, apparently). I’m a tea drinker most of the time, so this is mostly lost on me.

    Ms. OP — I had a great time too!

    Hello dear Mick, Nice to hear from you. A baby’s about to arrive in your house — I can see why you’re not spending a lot of time writing comments!

    I’ll admit, U-Dad, that, while in Starbucks, seeking tea, I refer to the size of tea I want by the terms I know and love — large, medium, small.

    Kate, Your hinterland sounds lovely — I love snow, and snowy landscapes. I guess we all long for that kind of coziness, but around about now, it’s time for bulbs to be issuing forth some signs of spring, don’t you think?!

    Kristen, Me too. Why that’s so funny, I can’t quite say, but it’s a very succinct statement of outrage and condemnation.

    I didn’t dare ask for tea, Melanie, worried I might be infringing on some code about which I was unaware. (Actually, I’m pretty sure tea is cool — there was chai on offer, after all.)

    Litlove, You’ve enriched my day greatly with the expression we “fell about laughing.” I’m going to use that the moment I get home today.

    Hello Doug — a double double! It sounds like a good hand in cards. Here’s to Bunns and those truckers and throwing things out before they’re past their prime.

    HMH — I KNEW you’d be roasting organic fair trade coffee over at your house. That sounds so delicious and just right. xo

    Polaris, Not that far, right??

    Dear Ann, How fun. I love it when people get married in places that offer vacationing possibilities. I’d highly recommend this part of the coast.

    Lucette, I’d assemble a bird flu kit if I knew what to put in it. But I’m afraid it involves hoarding antibiotics or some other such thing, and I don’t know how to do that!

  14. This is hysterical. Must VISIT.

    BlogLily, fyi, if you get a chance, do see To The Lighthouse at the Berkeley Rep. It is sooooo fabulous.

  15. Heh heh, I’ll have a crappe, please!

    I don’t much like Starbucks. Once I went there and the woman behind the counter asked me what size I wanted, tall, grande, or vente. I said: “Er, grand, please.” There was a short pause then she said: “You mean grand-AY.” I wish I’d said: “No, I mean GRAND!” Grande?! What kind of word is grande?!

  16. Helen, Like you, I’m embarrassed to use made up Italian sounding words to describe the size of drink I want.

    Oh Ella, California is missing you.

    Hello my dear Q — That’s me. All I need to do now is adopt a way of speaking in which every exhalation issues forth the word “like.” (“It was, like, wonderful, like, because they had, like, huge lattes.”)

    Green and sunshine — that is what all of us need. NOW. I hope that happens soon, Danielle.

    Yes indeed, you have to visit LK. I liked To the Lighthouse, the first part more than the second. I am a sort of conservative theater-goer, and people singing as they rowed to the lighthouse was not my cup of tea. Still, the set was beautiful and the dinner party scene very moving.

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