The Starbucks Coffee House

In my writing class we had an assignment to write an essay about some place in Iowa City with cultural or historic significance. This is the essay I wrote:

The Starbucks Coffee House

During my first visit to Iowa City, after a day full of walking tours and departmental presentations, my mom and I stumbled across a café at the edge of downtown. At the corner of Clinton and Burlington, where close-knit brick edifices give way to expansive parking lots and construction projects, sat the Starbucks coffee house. Since this is a rather obscure café, I’ll explain that it isn’t owned by a person named Starbuck, but rather the name refers to a character in Moby Dick. We entered the handsome little square building, and were embraced by an aura of inspiration and nurture. Of handcraftedness and innovation. Of intimacy and charm. It was the spirit of the Starbucks coffee house. I ordered a cappuccino and my mom ordered a chai tea latte, and I new I’d found a home away from home.

Half a year later, I return to the café regularly, knowing that there I can find tradition, hospitality, and a good cup of joe. The whole building is permeated with these qualities, from the dark woodgrain countertops (and tabletops and paneling and flooring and bathroom doors), to the news stand with chalked-on prices, to the burlap sacks displaying POP! Gourmet Popcorn—almost as if the Lite Salt popcorn bags had come fresh from the harvest just minutes ago. Sepia-tone photographs on the walls display Iowa’s rich agrarian heritage in various images, such as fields, a man putting wheat into a machine, and other fields.Read More »