Sometimes they are. Sometimes not.
In the world of the Gor novels, coffee is black wine.
Both these photos are of pubs I recently passed. Most pubs now sell very good coffee.
What can independent coffee shops do for us?
Independent coffee shops can preserve a sense of place. Brands like Starbucks tend to make all places resemble an airport terminal. Sleek but bland.
Local merchants also keep money in the local community. They help the world's poor- a good coffee shop will buy single estate coffee. This benefits the grower far more than Fairtrade. Independent coffee shops sometimes treat employees with more respect than the chains.