No Starbucks in Barbados But We Get By …

No Starbucks in Barbados But We Get By …

26 Responses to “No Starbucks in Barbados But We Get By …”

  1. Stephen says:

    What about the fabulous Coffee Italia shops and cafe Blue around the island – better than Starbucks any day!

    I agree the rainbow is worth the time living in Barbados.

  2. I don’t know the Cafe Italia shops – thanks, I’ll look for them! I do love the cappuccinos at Mama Mia – but that’s a whole restaurant thing. I’m talking quick – where can I get a coffee fast? Wait – is Cafe Italia the place by Carter’s Hardware? If so, they do have terrific coffee and wonderful tea, too. It’s not a place where you run in and get a cup to go, unfortunately – but it is very good coffee.

    I had a funny (not funny ha-ha) experience at Cafe Blue on the south coast: I walk in. I’m the only customer there. I stand at the counter awaiting someone to take my order. The 3 young women working there do not even approach me at the counter until I ask – twice. When one does, I ask for a tuna sandwich and a strawberry smoothie. “We don’t have strawberries,” she says. I look the menu board over again and say, “Hm, peaches.” “Nope,” says she. I figure bananas are probably grown locally … “Hmm, okay then,” I say, “I’ll take the tuna sandwich and a banana smoothie.”

    The young woman glares at me. “We have no ice,” she says.

    Grr …

    (Gosh, I’m slow, aren’t I?)

    Defeated, I say, “I’ll just take a tuna sandwich.”

    Yes, they had the sandwich. That Cafe Blue location and the other I was aware of have since closed.

  3. Sharon says:

    The Italia coffees are in Holetown, Worthing at Quayside, two on Broad Street and at The Sheraton. 50% of the staff are good, some very. You can’t just run in and get a coffee in Barbados, it’s not 5th Avenue! Chill man. You might have to move closer to one…

  4. rohan says:

    We should chat about listing your properties on my site at no cost. You would just need to provide pics and a little write-up about them.

    Let me know:

    Love your blog.

  5. Patti says:

    Jane,I can’t believe you traded your Pradas for flip flops and your starbucks for vending machine coffee! Guess Rachel can no longer refer to you as a label
    hound ( I cleaned that word up for the posting) I thought service was bad here in Santa Fe. Even more Manana there it sounds like.

  6. Yes it’s true, Patti, I’ve traded in my Prada for flip flops. But I have a fabulous hat collection 🙂

    Funny, how we change over time, isn’t it? I still love beautiful fashion, but don’t ‘need’ it like I once did. Simple things give me enormous pleasure … One is being warm. Growing up in Colorado and living in San Francisco so long, I thought being chilly was part of life. The sheer fact of being warm and comfortable – all the time, day and night – is a truly great pleasure in my life.

    Sharon, thanks for the locations of Cafe Italia. When I’m in those areas, I’ll definitely stop in. You’re right that the best thing to do is chill … good advice in so many ways.

    And thank you, Rohan, for the offer. I’ll e-mail you separately. I appreciate it.

    Wishing everyone a Happy New Year! Or, as we say here in Barbados, Happy Old Year’s Night!

  7. Jane, you seemed to have found the essence of Bajan service so swiftly. How many counter staff does it take to ignore one customer. Welcome to the Gulag.

  8. Do I hear the voice of another expat?

    Your post made me laugh. Truth is, I left that place with tears behind my sunglasses. But I never get angry .. or at least I don’t show it.

    Having visited often for one year and living here full-time for a second year, I am learning to handle this sort of thing differently.

    One day early on, I was in Abed’s to buy fabric. I had a pile of fabric cut and priced and sitting on the counter in front of the clerk, a young man. I was first in line, with about four people behind me.

    The clerk skipped right over me and helped the older lady who was second in line. I was quiet because I thought perhaps it was a Bajan courtesy to help elderly people first. But then, after her, he helped the third person in line.

    I spoke up .. “Excuse me,” I said, “I am first in line.” He growled at me, “You don’t have no ticket.” (Ouch, such contempt!)

    I point to the top of the pile where a ticket lay in obvious view.

    He grudgingly rang me up, moving as slowly as possible and mumbling the price so that I had to ask for clarification more than once.

    I left the store … yep, with tears behind my sunglasses. Out on the sidewalk, I called my daughter Rachel, who had recently returned to the States after a year traveling through Central America. I knew from her stories she would understand. (She did.)

    I’m slow, but I do learn. If that happened today, I’d speak up immediately and say to the man behind the counter, “Excuse me, sir. Perhaps you could get Mr. Abed to help me, since you seem to have no interest in doing so.”

    Stories like these are ones everyone in Barbados can tell … bad service is “equal-opportunity” and not reserved for obviously foreign women.

    People in Barbados as a whole are exceedingly kind and very, very fun-loving and helpful. But that’s people in general. It’s the service industry that needs some coaching. Maybe they could bring in that training that French waiters got in order to make them nicer to patrons!

  9. Stephen says:

    Services varies across the island, as it does in most corners of the world. At least we don’t have the false smiles and false words which cause us to pay a 15-17% tax (called tipping) in the land (north of Mexico)that trains it’s staff to sell and give great (false) service; but you know they don’t mean it. We must get service standards higher and it’s much better than it was ten years ago, but not at the cost of that tipping tax that’s compulsory over there, please! Things cost too much here already.

  10. Stephen says:

    Whoops, I must add that if you go to Italia Coffe in Worthing you’ll be met by Pauline who smiles, pouts customers first, remembers their orders and expects just her salary in return. To those who are now rolling their eyes, I don’t know here, have no bonus (of family relationship!) by mentioning her; she just enjoys her work.

  11. Stephen says:

    She ‘puts’ not ‘pouts’!

    Please edit for me Mrs onelovebarbados!

  12. Haha, I like “pouts” .. made me laugh. You’re so right that when service is great it’s SUCH a pleasure! I have some of my favorites as well:

    Karin, owner of Walkers World (lovely goods for the home), is fabulous. (Located in St Lawrence Gap and worth visiting.)

    Tiami catamaran cruise folks are first-rate.

    Very, very high-end restaurants such as the The Tides, The Cliff, <a href=””=South Seas offer the service you’d expect. Same with the Hilton’s wait staff – it’s evident they’ve undergone good service training.

    Some restaurants that are less high-end (although very good) with great service (imo):

    The whole staff at the beautiful seaside Aqua restaurant, though sometimes food comes out of the kitchen a bit slowly.

    Josef’s Restaurant in St Lawrence Gap – and it’s one of the most romantic dining spots on the island to eat, too – ask for a seaside table.

    Champers is a perennial fave; lovely service, beautiful seaside setting.

    39 Steps, a casual restaurant, has really friendly service – again, though, sometimes a slow kitchen.

    Cafe Sol’s waitresses are friendly and efficient (I love this casual, fun place – Happy Hour they offer two-for-one drinks, too).

    The paradox is that people in Barbados are so, so friendly overall .. It’s just that too often, when they’re in a service position, they tend to scowl.

    (Full disclosure: Aqua restaurant is owned by my future brother-in-law.)

  13. Penny says:

    Jane, next time you get ignored in line, you just need to do what we Bajans do: say “B’wait doh! How many people at de backa de line you gin serve before you serve de front?” Trust me – works like a charm! another great place to eat – The Ackee Tree – serves good Caribbean curry. And you should visit Lemon Arbour in St. John for a real taste of our culture – they serve Pudding & Souse there every Saturday, but get there by 12:00 noon if you want a table, the place is popular! Love your blog, by the way 🙂

  14. I like it .. I’ll have to practice because clearly you can’t just say it .. you gotta put your hands on your hips and put some attitude behind it!

    Thanks! Love it.

  15. Eve says:


    This seems to be one advertfest for Barbados. From a Bajan who no longer lives there — trust me. It’s no place that you want to live.

  16. Sharon says:

    I disagree with Eve, it’s a great place to live. Great on weather, great on friends, great for kids, low on crime and drugs and so much more like British football on television!

  17. Black-burn says:

    Eve = Hater much?

    ..Anyways I do believe if you search good you would find a lot of places that are on par with star-bucks but like I’m about to say (and this video proved), a coffee shop isn’t everything it isn’t like you an take a vacation there but Barbados is everlasting fun.

  18. Dionna says:

    I just moved here from Florida last month & was without internet for a few days. To run my business, I had to get online, so I went to The Surfers Cafe in Oistins. They serve awesome cappucino’s & a great frittata. The coolest part is the small & cozy deck where my corner table literally is on the water. Service is mad slow (I thought I was going to die of starvation..maybe that’s why the food was so great!?…hmmm). Anyways, it’s a much check. Been to Cafe Sol this past Friday for 2 for 1 drinks & dinner (almost died there too). Tons of food (took half of it home) & I tasted the alcohol in my coconut margarita (my eyes crossed a little bit), so overall great except for the wait 😛

  19. Dionna says:

    I’ve gotten a pretty good iced coffee at Sheridan Mall in the food court. The service was surprisingly fast & way cheaper than Starbucks!

  20. Dionna, your comment tickled me … as I was reading I kept saying, “Yes, yes, that’s my experience, too!” Great food … mind-blowing setting … and service so slow you get faint before it arrives! Ha! And every eatery you find the same dance … a slow dance.

    I’m definitely going to try Surfers Cafe in Oistins; your description makes me think I’ll like it. However, I think I’ll eat before I go so that when I get served it’ll be time for the next meal anyway!

    I’ve been in Barbados full-time nearly two years now and my clock has definitely changed … I no longer sit with ants in my pants waiting for stuff. I’m just glad it gets to me at all.

    Thx for writing.

  21. Yeah, what’s with Starbucks’ prices? When I go to the States, I inevitably find myself in a Starbucks .. I mean, it’s unAmerican not to go there, right? The prices, though …. ! Egad, I can’t believe what they charge. And the sizes! When I order a cup of tea, I automatically say “medium” when they ask the size I want (I’m not cool enough for vente and all that lingo). Do you know how huge a “medium” is in the US? It’s so big I could use my tea as a hot tub if I wanted to!

    Sheridan Mall … oh, you brave girl.

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