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Expat Confession! ‘I Love Swiss Starbucks’


What is your favorite coffee spot? After living in Switzerland nearly three years, I find myself visiting Starbucks almost daily when I’m out and about or meeting friends. ‘This is so lame I’m going to Starbucks again,’ I thought yesterday. Yet, I made a beeline for the Seattle based chain passing by charming Swiss cafes with outdoor seating complete with faux fur seat covers and cozy blankets.

But there are reasons why Starbucks has an addicting quality that has nothing to do with its coffee. It has that ‘Cheers’ (as in the TV show starring Frasier and Kirstie Alley) feeling for me when I walk inside. Not in a ‘Where Everybody Knows Your Name‘ sort of way, because none of the baristas know my name. It’s been spelled, ‘Gel,’ ‘Dell,’ and ‘Thea,’ in the past year, but I don’t care. Here’s why I love Starbucks, especially as an expat…


I can wear leggings and UGGs and not feel judged. It’s totally normal in the US to grab coffee in workout clothes (the Kardashians do it on a daily basis), but in Europe, people don’t generally wear yoga pants unless they’re actually in the fitness center. Yet, I never feel judged when I go super-casual with my baby in her PJ’s to Starbucks in Switzerland.


Starbucks has become a ‘Sunday’ tradition. Restaurants and stores are closed in Switzerland on Sundays, which was tough to get used to at first. But Starbucks is open on Sunday! Rain or shine this fall, we’ve made it a ‘special’ Sunday activity taking a family walk to Starbucks in the afternoon. We even make a pit stop at the neighborhood petting zoo when someone has a crying fit in her stroller.


From melt-down mode to perfect little angel thanks to some fresh air and a little attention from her friends…


Okay, bye donkeys. Off to Starbucks…


Of course when we arrived on this rainy day, it was PACKED inside. Luckily a couple left outside, so we snagged their seats. And here’s what they left behind…


Ugh! The only downside to outdoor seating in Europe is you are literally surrounded by smokers, which is why many people choose to sit outside, even when it’s FREEZING. But it’s these simple reasons that keep me coming back…


Swiss Starbucks are baby-friendly with moms everywhere, plus the menu is universal so the Caramel Frappuccinos taste just like those in SF. As she dozed off in my lap last Sunday, we sipped our coffee and I quickly checked my email. I don’t take ‘Wifi’ (pronounced ‘wee-fee’ in German) for granted in Europe. But I can usually count on it at Starbucks!


They Never Make You Feel Unwelcome – This is the #1 reason why I love Starbucks! The baristas never gave me a dirty look or made me feel like I needed order more than an Americano yesterday as I worked on my laptop and Wilhelmina napped on the couch.

(PS Random Sidenote on the pic above – Although I would never do this, I just wanted to share how safe and trusting Zurich is compared to any city I’ve been to before. Two women sitting near me left together for at least 10 minutes (either to the bathroom or outside for a smoke) leaving their Louis Vuitton handbags on the couch completely alone to hold their seats. Can you imagine doing that?!?)



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  1. You’re not going to believe this Dale…I don’t drink coffee…. I know strange. I’m glad you have a place you can go where you feel comfortable and where you are treated good ♡ xox

  2. Love this post Dale. Unbelievable re the bags – I would be too nervous since mine was stolen in Barcelona last year… Like you I really love Starbucks here too – my favourite is the one on the corner of Bahnhofstr just opposite the main railway station- have you been to that one yet?

    Yvonne XO

  3. I feel the same way! It’s not just about the coffee, it’s about the whole experience 🙂

  4. I heard about none of the stores being open Dale! I bet that took getting use to. However, there are so many perks to living there! Your baby girl is so cute! I love the way you dress her and she has the most perfect ice blue eyes! Gorgeous! The Starbucks in Switzerland sounds super nice. There’s no way they could leave their purses like that here. Awesome post! FYI, try Biotin! It really works.

  5. There is no shame in loving Starbucks. I think you have a pretty good list of reasons for your Starbucks habit. Your little one is adorable.

    P.S. I hope you stop by and join our Christmas card exchange. The post is up today but all you need to do is email me your mailing address letting me know you want to join.

  6. Greetings from a Swiss living in the US. I like your description of Switzerland, true and kind, thank you. You made my day!

  7. Hi Dale! Wish we had one also here where I live but still, there isnt, could you imagine? Is one of my fave place where drink coffee when I am abroad as well for many reasons but definitely the “cheers” and friendly mood is the main, plus their menu is very delish. Btw, awww ur sweet angel is gorgeous, love the pic of her with the donkeys, made my day <3 Hugs to u both! xo

  8. Thanks for your share . I like your article.

  9. Donkeys and babies!! gotta love the combo. She is getting so big. They grow so fast..

  10. I’m with you ! Love Starbucks. I live in France but Starbucks shops are only in Paris and a few other large cities, nowhere near me. So when I do make a trip to Paris, you KNOW I’ll hit up a Starbucks within an hour of arriving. 😉 Can’t help myself. Feels like home!

  11. Dale, What sweet photos. Your little Whilemina (sp?) is so beautiful. We had little traditions like that on the weekends when my guys were small. I looked forward to getting out of the house on days like that. It’s nice too as a mommy you can get over there and have a time and she can nap on the couch. Perfect! You need those breaks as a new mom. I always like Starbucks in Europe too. The drinks are made with better milk and it’s yummy. xo Kim

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