There is one company doing more than any other to fuel the national craving for caffeine. Its name is Starbucks
Everyone must know by now how the coffee craze got started. How two homesick Americans living in London launched the Seattle Coffee Company and introduced us to the coffee they couldn't get by without. And how Starbucks, the US coffee shop chain on which they had modelled theirs, liked them so much it bought them out for millions of pounds and converted all their shops in Britain to Starbucks.

All Starbucks have their corporate identity, of course. The coffee's the same everywhere - with choices for every time of day or year (this summer its ice-cold Frappuccino is going down a storm). But some Starbucks are more equal than others, and of those outside London, Bath has one of the best. Located in a Georgian listed building, there's space to sit behind the pumping espresso bar on the ground floor and there's also an elegant upstairs room with sofas to slump in and windows to sit beside, while looking down on the pedestrians below. This is one of the best places in Bath to while away time over a hot or cold drink. It's certainly one of the best places for coffee. A second Starbucks is opening shortly in Bath. Many more are opening elsewhere.

Starbucks drinks


Until Starbucks starts selling the secret mix that makes the Frap taste the way it does, it's entirely in the hands of the baristas who make each iced coffee to order. A cold coffee concentrate is blended with ice cubes and skimmed milk into a thick, deceptively creamy but low-fat drink.

Caffe latte

For a grande latte, two shots of espresso are topped up with steamed milk heated to between 150F and 170F. Only about 1/4in of foamed milk is added to the top in an airy peak to give the drink a lift. It's the perfect long, milky breakfast coffee. Have it with skimmed milk, if calories count.

Caffe Mocha

A swirl of chocolate syrup, two shots of espresso, and then the cup is filled almost to the top with steamed milk. Whipped cream dusted with cocoa powder forms the pinnacle. n

Starbucks, 13 Old Bond Street, Bath (01225 318616) Mon-Thur 7.30am-8pm, Fri 7.30am-9pm, Sat 8am-9pm, Sun 10am-7pm.