Today’s Charlotte Observer compared the merits of four major coffee shop chains in town: Charlotte Observer | 03/26/2006 | Coffee Shop Perks. Included in the comparison were Minneapolis, MN-based Caribou Coffee, local coffee roaster Dilworth Coffeehouse, recent Starbucks acquisition and newcomer to the area Seattle’s Best Coffee, and Starbucks Coffee itself.

The article reveals what this writer considers the classic shortcomings of café critiques: it’s all about the atmosphere, the muffins, and the retail opportunities — and not nearly enough about the coffee. Of what passes for coffee reviews, they pretty much say that they all taste great — even if what they review could be better categorized as coffee milkshakes. But that’s undoubtedly what the locals primarily order and expect from their espresso bars.