Today I stopped off for a little coffee and browsing in downtown Ottawa at Starbucks (47 Rideau Street, Ottawa). Browsing? This Starbucks is located within a large Chapters bookstore. Thus, an added bonus to this location is after obtaining your favourite Starbucks beverage of choice is to browse the literary (and non literary) offerings of Chapters.
Today I entered the location via the bookstore entrance to find a moderate line in length. A short wait and I was up to the cashier. I have been to this location a couple of times over the past week to sometimes find a moderate line or no line at all. One time I found a moderate line and one of the Baristas adjusting the products on the shelves on the customer side of the counter pretending not to notice the line. Like really? There is a line here, why not help your coworkers work the line and then adjust the product. It is maddening at coffee shops really when this happens.
The line up today though moved at a steady pace with the usual 3 Baristas behind the counter. 1 taking the order and your payment, 1 doing the runaround to gather the quick poured coffees and baked goods while the last one prepares the drinks that require a little more preparing (e.g. lattes, etc.). Thus the service is pretty friendly yet decent in speed.
The Order: 1 Medium Sized Medium Blend Black Coffee.
The payment made, the pour was quick and I was off to the races to browse at Chapters. For some reason the Medium blend on tap at Starbucks lately is a "Pike" coffee. The blend is supposedly their "smoothest coffee ever". It is better than their regular coffee which is quite strong, so it is a nice adjustement. But I'm still not feeling the blend and prefer the nearby Bridgehead for freshness and taste or the old stand by Tim Hortons for a taste all Canadians have come to enjoy. Thus, I'm not really sold on the Medium blend Starbucks and wouldn't make it "I need Starbucks in morning" type of place for coffee.
Overall the Starbucks does provide a unique atmosphere, the ability to purchase a hot or cold beverage of choice while visiting Chapters to peruse a book. The coffee is decent but not a "go to" local for high in demand medium roast coffee. Most of the people at this location that I've seen in line are those that just want to be seen drinking Starbucks (e.g. reporter, student with high fashion, etc.). The baked goods are overpriced ($2.50 for a muffin) but regular drinks are fairly priced. If your looking for a decent drink to warm up while downtown with some paperback eye candy, this place is for you, otherwise, keep on trucking.