Monday, July 12, 2010

Coffee not the way to go at Gloria Jean's

Posted By on Mon, Jul 12, 2010 at 9:15 AM

click to enlarge Gloria Jean's is trying for a coffee house vibe in the Independence Center Mall.
  • Gloria Jean's is trying for a coffee house vibe in the Independence Center Mall.

Mall Santa requires a suspension of disbelief. Everyone has to agree that his workshop in the North Pole has been briefly relocated to a spot just a few feet from the food court.

Mall coffee shops require the same leap of faith. You have to believe that the wood paneling and mellow lighting are what allow Gloria Jean's Coffees to transcend the Independence Center Mall.


click to enlarge gloriajeans.drinks.jpg

The trouble with that line of thinking is, you reach a certain age where you can see that Santa's beard is held on simply by a string around the back of his neck. And in the case of Gloria Jean's, it's when I realized that I couldn't get a strong cup of coffee.

The flavors are fine. The special blend is slightly nutty without being bitter. The problem is its iced coffee (pictured at right), which is almost translucent. It's the coffee equivalent of getting a fountain soda from the drive-through that is two-thirds filled with ice. 


Ultimately, I believe my approach to Gloria Jean's has been wrong. While I can't bring myself to order peanut butter coffee or a blended chiller (GJ's version of a Frappuccino), I did try one of the new flavored lemonades.

"I'd go for the raspberry. I like it and I don't even like raspberry," says the barista when I ask for a recommendation. She also tells me to take a sip after it's poured to make sure I like it -- a small but important touch of customer service that is one of the reasons I've given Gloria Jean's so many chances.

The raspberry lemonade, peach and strawberry are also available, is refreshing. It's not too sweet, a fruity version of an Arnold Palmer. The raspberry flavor blending well with the lemonade.

If you're stopping in to Gloria Jean's, think what your 8-year-old self would enjoy and order that drink.

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