Cat Pee at Starbucks?

I was driving through McLean last night and needed to stop to pick up some groceries. By the way, McLean is in Virginia, for those of you who don’t like to cross water.

I went into the Giant supermarket on Old Dominion Blvd. and was immediately smacked in the face by the very pungent smell of what I at first thought was cat pee. I quickly moved away, into the produce section, which had the wonderful smell of fruits grown to be as large and/or colorful as possible. What a relief.

As soon as I edged out of the produce area I was again hit by the wall of urine odor. That’s when I noticed that the smell and concentration of odor was directly related to the proximity to the Starbucks kiosk.

Was it something in their coffee or simply an ammonia-based cleaning agent? Was it, in fact, cat pee? I honestly did not care. If I had not been turned off simply by their disgusting, bitter coffee, I now have a new reason to not go there. Thank goodness for Murky Coffee and its wonderful bounty of delicious brew.

12 Comments so far

  1. sa-ra (unregistered) on April 14th, 2007 @ 8:45 pm

    they don’t have other alternative to starbucks in mclean. panera bread or cozy there exists. but the taste of their coffee is no better, and the packaging is worse. [ if you bring your own coffee in a mug – it’s great, but then you have to wash the mug, which is not a problem. but the water here really destroys hands. ]

  2. fedward (unregistered) on April 14th, 2007 @ 8:57 pm

    Stale coffee that’s been left on the burner too long smells a lot like cat pee, as my college roommate would complain if I forgot to turn off the coffee maker. That particular Starbucks must not sell much coffee, if it was in the pot long enough to start smelling like that.

  3. Mike (unregistered) on April 14th, 2007 @ 10:41 pm

    I love that Giant. It’s one of the few things I cross the river for. It’s like 5 acres big and it has self-checkout which helps me avoid interaction with other humans.

  4. Wayan (unregistered) on April 15th, 2007 @ 5:31 pm

    Cat Pee Coffee in NoVA – Reason #738 Not to Cross the Potomac

  5. Ross Karchner (unregistered) on April 15th, 2007 @ 9:32 pm

    Do you mean the Giant at Old Dominion and Chain Bridge, or is there one further down the road?

    I never noticed anything particularly impressive about it.

    Then again, I’ve been to Das UberWegmans in upstate NY, so maybe I’m just not easily impressed ;)

  6. Carl Weaver (unregistered) on April 15th, 2007 @ 10:19 pm

    Yeah, that’s the one, Ross. Just a big ass supermarket. Nothing special about it in my eyes either.

    I have heard people rave about Wegmans but don’t know where one is in the area. I guess I just don’t get excited about supermarkets anymore. Show me a head of lettuce and a bottle of OE 800 and I will be set.

  7. Tom Bridge (unregistered) on April 16th, 2007 @ 8:24 am


    There are two Wegman’s, one on Route 50 in Fairfax, one off Route 28 in Sterling. Both are amaaaaazing.

  8. dan (unregistered) on April 16th, 2007 @ 11:34 am

    The one if Fairfax is on Route 29 and Monument Drive, not Route 50.

  9. aes (unregistered) on April 16th, 2007 @ 1:09 pm

    Not to defend Starbucks, but it’s possible that you were smelling the detergent used to clean the espresso equipment… it’s made of food grade citric acid, but smells absolutely foul.

  10. Carl Weaver (unregistered) on April 16th, 2007 @ 1:26 pm

    AES – Unless they clean their espresso machines with cat pee, I don’t think so. I know the cleaner you are talking about. It wasn’t that. I think it was a new ingredient (cat pee) or possibly a new type of cleaner (cat pee).

    Seriously – probably just old coffee, but boy was it ever powerful!

  11. Hy Hy (unregistered) on April 16th, 2007 @ 2:39 pm

    A friend of mine got food poisoning at a Wegman’s (Syracuse) after eating some samples. I have to say, when it comes to iconic ubersupermarkets, nobody even comes close to Publix. I usually scoff at any and all “South will rise again” sentiment, but thanks to the ‘lix, that claim may not be far off…

  12. sa-ra (unregistered) on April 18th, 2007 @ 12:26 am

    poor cat.

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