I love coffee year-round. I love the taste of coffee, and I’ve gotten a little picky about it (ack – am I a coffee snob?!). If it tastes good, I’ll drink decaf. I like a little caffeine in the mornings, but I mostly just like the taste of it. Coffee = good.
The exception to this is during the first trimester of pregnancy. For me, this has been a recurring aversion for all three pregnancies. Once I pass the first few months, I start wanting coffee again. This aversion has made me realize something else about my coffee consumption: I like the experience of it. There are other foods that I wouldn’t go near (peanut butter – gag), and I didn’t miss them. But for some reason, I missed coffee. I kept trying to get back into it. I’d go to pour a cup. “Maybe it’s passed! Maybe this will be wonderful!” A few feet from the coffee maker the smell would stop me in my tracks. No dice. Starbucks has spent its money well. They’ve created an experience. Granted, I don’t miss being in the physical location of a Starbucks. But I do miss having that warm cup in my hands and sitting on my desk beside my water bottle. I’m such a consumer.
Another thing Starbucks does well, in my opinion, is brew a cup of strong, dark/bold coffee. I want my coffee to taste almost ashy – super dark and bold – punch me in the face. A few months ago they came out with a light (Blonde) roast. I tasted the free sample and thought, “There’s something wrong with this water. And why is it light brown and hot?” Please. That’s not coffee. Even my two-year-old would scoff at Blonde roast.
Beyond it being very dark, (and from certain parts of the world – but that’s another rabbit hole) I like to prepare it a certain way. My husband always wants to go through the drive-through when we’re just grabbing coffee to go on a trip or something. That’s fine if you’re getting a venti, non-fat, with whip mocha. They make it identically every time (in theory – but don’t get him started on that). I, on the other hand, always want to go in so that I can be sure that the correct amount of half ‘n half and sugar are added. (And mixed well! Otherwise, kind Barista, the first half is bitter and the second half tastes like syrup, FYI.) Sometimes I’ll say, “Why don’t you drive through, and I’ll run in and fix my coffee. I’ll meet you on the other side of the building!” He, understandably, give me a look that says, “I think she’s serious. But that’s kind of crazy… so maybe she’s kidding?”
I’ve learned to let go a little. I’ve been driving through and ordering my coffee. It usually tastes great and everything is fine. There’s just one final detail that complicates this: I like to get a tall coffee, in a grande-sized cup. There are several benefits. First, you have room for cream without having to pouring some of it into the trash can first. (I’m very sorry, Starbucks trashcan-emptying-employee. This must be awful. But there’s NOT ENOUGH ROOM!) Second, after the cream, there’s still extra space at the top. That way, I don’t have to worry about it spilling. Third (and this is NOT the reason I do it, but it’s a factual observation that I’ve made), you get more coffee for the same price about 70% of the time. They’re eye-balling it. You get more coffee in the bigger cup, even though they leave lots of space at the top. (Again, this is a benefit, but not the reason I order this way.) Now, who cares about the size thing. Why am I writing about this? Here’s why: When you order a “tall half-calf dark roast in a grande cup with cream and two sugars,” in the drive through, one of two things will happen.
1. You get the cup of coffee you’ve been thinking about all morning. It’s $1.68 well spent. There’s a little room at the top so it doesn’t spill in the new Swagger Wagon.
2. You get a cup of coffee that is off-white, because the size thing makes them think you want extra space for tons of cream. It tastes like warm-ish milk.
It’s good to let go sometimes. I will continue to push myself to purchase my fancy ridiculous coffee via the drive-through. It’s a process.