I’m a coffee drinker; always have been. I probably starting
drinking it regularly around thirteen years old and never looked back. But my
coffee drinking habits have certainly changed over the years.
My first taste of coffee was by mistake. My dear
grandmother, Budgie, having lived through the Depression, hated to see anything
go to waste. She would pour the cold, leftover coffee from the percolator over
ice and enjoy a glass of iced coffee – and this was long before it became the
popular Starbucks beverage it is today.
She drank it black, so it looked just
like a glass of Coca Cola. If one of us grandchildren happened by, she’d
sweetly offer, “Would you like a swig of my Coke?” Of course, we’d gulp it down
and it was bitter and horrible and she’d just laugh and laugh. All six of us grandchildren
have fun memories of Budgie’s “coke joke.”
Do any of you remember the little glass cream servers that
restaurants used many years ago?
They accompanied every cup of coffee for
years. My parents drank their coffee black, so my younger brother and I just
loved to gulp down that tiny glass of milk when we were kids. Best. Milk. Ever.
By age thirteen, I was hooked on coffee, so Budgie would
kindly include a cup of coffee with my breakfast every morning. Having
remembered the horrible bitter stuff, I’ve always preferred my coffee with a
little milk and sugar.
Coffee was my friend all through college; from late-night
studying to after-hours breakfasts when the discos closed at 2 a.m.
I love a dark, strong brew. Before French and Italian dark
roasts were available everywhere, I favored the French Market coffee with
chicory. I still keep it on hand for a bit of nostalgia.
I really have an aversion to these flavored coffees, like
hazelnut or vanilla. I like coffee. If I want hazelnut or vanilla-flavored
stuff, I’ll get ice cream, thank you.
Then, Starbucks entered our lives. Holy Mother of God,
nothing else will do now.
I lived in Toronto when Starbucks came onto the coffee
scene. At every subway station in downtown Toronto, there’s a Starbucks. You
come out of the station, boom, there’s your ‘Bucks. That’s brilliant marketing.
Have you noticed that we’ve easily become a bilingual nation
now that Starbucks is here? Just listen to the customers in line giving their
requests to the baristas.
It’s pretty amazing:
“I’ll have a venti red-eye soy
no-whip half-caf skinny frappè macchiato,
Soon, immigrants will have to pass a Starbuckese proficiency
exam in order gain citizenship.
I really feel sorry for the elderly folks who just want a
cup of coffee. It’s so sad:
“I’ll have a medium coffee, please.”
“What size? Tall, Grandè
, or Venti?”
that’s Grandè. Do
you want blonde, Pike Place or bold roast?”
medium one. Extra medium.”
“Oh. That's Pike Place. Do you
milk. Do you want room?”
well up in their eyes.
“I just want a cup of coffee. Please.”
always have an urge to step in as a translator for our elderly friends. I feel
sorry for them.
learned to rattle off my order in fluent Starbuckese, though.
“I’ll have a Grandè bold with a little room.”
baristas almost seem disappointed with such a simple order.