On Starbucks in Penang, 2013 – mid-March update

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Starbucks, Straits Quays – but on a rather overcast day

Having bought a Starbucks card and a tumbler, now I tend to drink coffee there, as it works out cheaper for me.  Using a tumbler gives a RM2 discount, (is more environmentally friendly than paper cups), and every 10 cups you buy entitles you to a free cup.  If you buy two tumblers, buy one Venti size coffee (the largest) every time, and share with your wife with half the Venti in each tumbler, after you have amortised the quite high cost of the coffee tumblers – being 15 cups for Americano, then the coffee price is only slightly higher than a cup at Mc Donalds. I can’t take credit for this idea, but it works. Doesn’t work if you’re by yourself, though.  I guess it works out well for Starbucks too, as I used to take it in turns going to different coffee shops, and now they get my business.

I have been to perhaps half of the Starbucks on the island: Straits Quays, Gurney Plaza, Gurney Tower (near Gurney Hotel), First Avenue, E-Gate, Queensbay Mall and Penang Airport.  I tried to have a coffee at the new drive through Tanjong Tokong Starbucks, but there are very few parking places, and all were taken, so I gave up. The coffee is pretty standard at Starbucks, and the staff vary a lot, so the atmosphere and the speed of the Wi-Fi are how I would judge them.

So, my favourite turns out to be Straits Quays, as it has a nice view of the ocean, and the Wi-Fi speed is quite good.  Gurney Plaza is closest to my home, and thus I frequent it more, and if you sit outside it has a nice view, but the Wi-Fi  speed is quite patchy.  But some of the staff now remember me, as I am often there, so that’s nice. The others are all OK, but the atmosphere doesn’t match the aforementioned.


Although… I have been to E-Gate a couple of times recently, and the Starbucks there has a nice open aspect, with two glass walls facing outside, and at present, a view of the ocean.

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view from Starbucks, E-Gate, towards the sea.

Now, in mid-March, I was told in Starbucks, Straits Quays, that they will no longer pour half a drink each into two tumblers.  And I am only one coffee away from breaking even on my tumbler purchase!  But it’s a bit silly, really, as it is easy to work around this – and the easiest work around decreases Starbucks’ income.

The next morning, in my usual spot in Starbucks Gurney Plaza, there was no problem with my usual procedure.  Hooray, I have broken even with my tumbler purchases!! Perhaps the silliness is restricted to the Straits Quays franchise. So, later I was at Straits Quays for lunch, and I didn’t stop by after lunch to Starbucks there for a coffee.


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