Tag: Starbucks

A Starbucks Dilemma

I’ve decided to venti a little bit about what’s going on at my local Starbucks. It’s starting to drive me crazy and I’m beginning to think that there’s some sort of grande conspiracy to make it that way. I swear, only in americano can a company get away with such silliness.

Consider this: I go into my local Starbucks every morning around 5:30 am. I am one of the first customers of the day so when I go in, there is usually no one else around and I’m able to go right to the register and order my usual.

After handing the Barista my Starbucks Gold Card (still not sure why I have to call the person who pours me plain old Gold Coast coffee a “Barista”), I spend the next fifteen seconds or so watching them pushing buttons in a futile attempt to log onto their cash register.

I swear, there is more security to get into a Starbucks cash register than there is to crack the code at the Federal Reserve Bank. Every time you place an order, they have to enter a 22 digit combination just to get the damn thing to open. I think part of the new employee orientation must include having to memorize the line: “Sorry, it’s a little slow this morning”. Ya think?

Then there’s the little issue with the vanilla powder. For those not familiar with it, vanilla powder is one of the many items you can use to decorate your coffee with (nutmeg, cinnamon and chocolate are also additives you can use). I prefer to use the vanilla because, (using coffee vernacular) it makes it taste smoother. The problem is, 99% of the time I go to reach for it, the container is EMPTY.

Now, wouldn’t you think that since this product is being used so often, it just MIGHT be popular and they’d have a latte of it?

Don’t get me wrong though, my addiction to a good cup of Joe espresso-ly forbids me from going a day without,  so I’ll suffer through.

Besides, there’s no way I’m going to settle for the coffee at work.

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Coffee

I was trying to think of a witty title for this entry. “Ode to Coffee”, “Java-Licious” and “Joe Momma” all came to mind. But in the end I simply decided that the single word speaks for itself and should not be tampered with.

I’m talking about coffee. That wonderful dark brewed beverage with a slightly acidic flavor that’s prepared from the roasted seeds of the coffee plant, colloquially called coffee beans. The drink that starts every morning off for me (and one that goes great along side a bowl of Count Chocula if you really want to know).

I can just imagine the joy the early Ethiopian settlers must have had when they brewed their first pot over an open flame. As the sun rose over the African terrain and they took that first sip I’m sure it was probably equivalent to that of when man first discovered fire and invented bacon. And centuries later we’re still giving thanks.

Having been around for such a long time might make one take the glory of coffee for granted. But not me. I don’t just blindly pour a cup from a pot in the office kitchen. For me, coffee is much more than just a drink. Coffee is an experience. Half of the fun of drinking coffee is in the camaraderie of getting into a car with a bunch of your friends and making the excursion to obtain the nectar of the Gods.

I know that there are some heathens out there who like to ruin the coffee experience by putting things like whipped cream and sprinkles into their cup of joe. These folks should have their java card taken away. Sweetness is necessary but not at the expense of turning coffee into ice-cream.

But how do you make a perfect cup of coffee? I’m glad you asked. There are actually only four steps needed to obtain the proper cup of coffee from any reputable coffee establishment:

1. Order a 20 oz (or Venti) sized coffee. Always go for the big size. If you are going to enjoy coffee it’s best to not go too small where you’ll be wanting more when your finished. Upon your last sip you should be completely satisfied with your coffee consumption. Not too little. Not too much. Just right. You know, like Goldilocks.

2. Under no circumstances should you allow a barista to place sugars/cream into your coffee. Always take it black and prepare it yourself.

3. Pour in the equivalent of two creamers. Coffee should have a slight milky consistency. Not too dark. Never allow a Dunkin Donuts barista to add cream. Their “2” creams are more equivalent to “30”. I want to drink coffee, not milk.

4. Add six packets of Equal to taste. Add half packet extra if necessary.

I know. You’re probably thinking “What kind of man puts Equal in his coffee?” And all I can say to that is “Don’t Hate”. As I’ve said before, a little sweetness is very much necessary and encouraged.

So the next time you’re standing in line at Starbucks, in the Mickey Dees drive-thru or putting a K-Cup into your Keurig remember to give thanks to those tribesmen who made it possible all those centuries ago. There’s is a gift we never will be able to repay.

And last and most importantly: always enjoy responsibly.

Sunday in Seattle

Today is my last day in the Pacific Northwest and truth be told although I’m excited to see the Seattle Seahawks play today ( the main reason I made the 2,500 mile three time zone trek), I am also missing home.

I’ve spent most of the past few days exploring the Emerald City and catching up with some old friends. I made a promise to myself to do two mandatory things on this trip in an effort to save money: not rent a car and stay in a hostel. Once the plane landed I was able to make good on the first promise. I bypassed the car rental counters and passed through the garage to the Light Link Rail.

There is a new train line that takes you from the SeaTac airport to pretty much anywhere you want to go in Seattle. For $2.75 a trip you just can’t beat it. I quickly hopped aboard with my backpack and made my way to University Street.

I then walked the last few blocks to Pike Place and checked in at The Green Tortoise Hostel (which is directly across from the world-famous market).

Hostels are quaint, little rooms with little more than a common area, a bunch of bunk beds in each room and a bathroom. I thought of it as a college dormitory. Since I planned to explore the sights most of my stay and not be stuck in the room watching HBO or uh, some of those “other channels” it sure beat paying four times the price for a room in a hotel. Ironically, some of my roomies turned out to be from Canada and were also in town for the game so it worked out ok.

Since the sun was shining upon my arrival, I quickly made my way to the Space Needle and took the ride 605 feet to the top where I admired the panoramic view of the downtown region and beyond. The weather in the distance was a tad bit cloudy but I was still able to make out Mount Rainier off in the distance.

 Someone once told me that on the clearest of days in addition to the wonderful views of the Rainier volcano you can also see Alaska and Canada. (I got a Sarah Palin sort of chuckle out of that comment).

I also wandered around Pioneer Square, perused the freshness of Pike Place Market (yes, I saw them throw the fish) and drank enough Starbucks and Tully’s to last a lifetime.

 

The Seattle waterfront really is a sight to behold. From pretty much any vantage point you can see the Cascade mountains on the horizon. I watched the sun set beyond the range and heard the roar of the traffic on the highway as people busily get to wherever people need to get to be. I took in a deep breath and wondered how with all of this hustle and bustle, people could possibly just drive on and ignore something so beautiful? Stop and smell the roses couldn’t be any more truer than now.

Yesterday I took a bus to nearby Tacoma to visit a friend I hadn’t seen in a few years. Skies were gray and as the bus rolled along I-5  I watched the rain droplets roll down my window. At that point I realized that maybe I was now officially experiencing the Seattle everyone was telling me about.

And I love it.