Mikaela Judd at Starbucks Lake Union

Yep, I’m a Starbucks Fan

I get it. Starbucks is a big-box chain. There’s one on every corner. They aren’t ‘unique.’ Howard Shultz let the Sonics leave Seattle.

I understand all the arguments against Starbucks. And, I love me some mom-and-pop local shopping. But here’s the deal — I also really like Starbucks. And while I’m not going get some ultra-inspiring experience at the green mermaid, it offers a few things that make it invaluable in my world.

7 Reasons I Love Starbucks

1. Free Internet

As a freelancer, my job relies heavily on the internet. Checking email. Doing research. Publishing pieces. Monitoring social media. It all requires access to the interwebs. And while I can broadcast a hot spot and work from my car — there are times when my connection just doesn’t cut it. Or when I’m traveling internationally and I don’t want to use data.

2. Consistency

I’m not great with change — which means I like having familiar things in my life. Sure you can get an epic latte at your favorite, locally-owned cafe down on the corner. But when you’re out and about in a new part of town — you can’t always count on that espresso pull to be all that you wanted. Starbucks offers a consistent drink each and every time.

3. Holiday Panini

Like the drinks, Starbucks food is consistent. It’s not gonna knock your socks off. But it is going to satisfy. The one exception for me is the Holiday Panini. The classic combo of cranberry, turkey, and stuffing is perfect on-the-go comfort food when I’m out and about for work.

4. Mobile Office

More than just internet, Starbucks offers space to work. Generally speaking, the tables are well proportioned with a good height to chair ratio. You typically can find an electrical outlet. And no one makes you feel like you need to rush out the door.

5. Free (or Cheap) Refills

I’m a gold card member, which comes with a few perks. The best is by far the free refill program. You can get free refills on drip coffee, ice tea, and cold brew. And if you don’t have a gold card, refills are a whopping $.50!

6. Rewards Program

The rewards program has changed over the years, but one things consistent — pay with your card (or app) and you’ll earn some freebies.

7. Dog-Friendly

Most Starbucks have patio seating where you can hang with your pup. There’s also typically a water bowl, which is great for hot days.

Favorite Starbucks: 1200 Westlake Ave., Seattle

Only once have I had a particularly terrible experience at a Starbucks. And it was in the St. Louis airport, so I’ve always considered it a fluke. Even the most recent run-in with a man who warned me against drinking coffee in my ‘current condiction’ (7.5 months pregnant) feels more chuckle-worthy than anything — and FAR from Starbucks’ fault.

But the Lake Union Starbucks always feels like a breath of fresh air. Every time I visited the staff is genuinely kind and upbeat — even the one time the two poor girls behind the counter were clearly short-staffed and frazzled because co-workers had called in sick. AND, they offer several free parking spots and a drive-through, which in downtown Seattle is like gold.

I’m sure, like any place, this Starbucks has its drama. But for this mobile-worker — it’s like a treat to be surrounded by such positive vibes.