Well, I'm delighted to see that my blunt remarks about Starbucks coffee elicted such lively responses, both pro & con, from all you chowhounders. A few observations: First off, I never meant to imply that Dunkin'Donuts is the standard by which coffee should be judged. It too, is a chain store, and not all store managers brew the coffee properly. I've had terrible cups of DD coffee, but when they do it right, and it's really fresh, it's fragrant and wonderful, with a "bouquet" as distinct as any fine wine.
For those of you who "only drink it black"(do I detect a slight whiff of coffee elitism in some of you guys, hmmn?) or who generally prefer espresso roasts over regularly brewed coffee, I suppose Starbucks is as good as any. I also totally agree--as a former Inwood/Washington Heights resident, that nothing beats the Cuban or Dominican "cafe con leche" when you're in the mood for a darker brew. As for Starbuck's raising "coffee consciousness" in NYC, I must admit that--prior to the Starbucks invasion, much of what New Yorkers called "coffee" was that pathetic swill served in those ubiquitous blue cardboard cups with the pictures of Greek Gods on them. Finally--there is no doubt that when it comes to sheer marketing prowess, Starbucks totally RULES. After all, they've even put out their own line of CD's haven't they!!!
By the way, I usually brew my own coffee at home--the most "comfortable" place I know. I think the Fairway Market on the upper West Side has excellent coffee, and, for those of you willing to travel to Westchester, both Trader Joe's and Stew Leonard's have some pretty dynamite coffee (especially Stew's, which roasts it on the premises--the aroma alone will get you high!)