Thursday, February 10, 2011
Gone are the days when one simply asked, Â“May I have a coffee please,Â” or Â“A spot of tea would be nice.Â” Today there is a world of double-doubles, single-triples, four & two, half-caff. Half caff? You see, up until September of this year, my beverage drink of choice had been fountain pop - McDonaldÂ’s fountain pop nonetheless. However, the time had come for me to move on and I was using good old black coffee as its replacement, which was not doing the job; then one day a friend of mine bought me a latté. I admit, I had my suspicions about this fancy-sounding drink.
This vanilla latté was delicious and I was hooked. There was just one problemÂ… how on earth was I going to order one myself? I asked my friend to more specifically explain what I was drinking, to which she replied, a Â“Vanilla Latté.Â” Certainly it wasnÂ’t as simple as that. Was that all I had to say when ordering? A simple, vanilla latté please. That's no so hard, I thought. Then she drops the bomb.
"Well, you can have it with 1% milk or skim milk, decaf or half-calf, then sugar- free syrup or not, foam or no foamÂ…"
My brain had stopped all efforts to retain the words coming out of her mouth. Gibberish would have made more sense.
Seven weeks passed with several failed attempts at ordering my finely tuned latté. Yet, I persevered and finally felt confident that I had not only manufactured that perfect latté order, but would make my request via drive-thru!
I sat tall in my seat as I rounded the bend to the speaker, Â“Hi! What can I get started for you today?Â” I collected my thoughts then politely asked for a venti, non-fat, sugar free, vanilla café latté. Then came the response. Â“Alright then, thatÂ’s a venti, skinny vanilla latté?Â”
Â“WHAT?" I blurted out, feeling defeated and slightly panicked. I babbled on, "Skinny? DidnÂ’t I ask for a sugar free, non-fat latté thingy?Â”
Where did this skinny stuff come from? I continued to mumble my confusion, loud enough for the Â“voice in the boxÂ” to hear as his entertained chuckle caught my ear. I was mortified and now extremely confused. As I approached the window to collect my latté, the barista's smirk was just enough to add severe embarrassment to the menu. Still, I had to ask, Â”What's skinny?Â”
Today, five months later, I am as equally as muddled as ever. I have, however, mastered my request for a Â“venti, skinny vanilla latté. Sadly though, my latté repertoire ends there. It's the only thing I order because it's the only think I can order.
And the buck doesn't stop with "skinny." There's also "extra foam," or "no foam" - even "extra hot. Intimidated and bewildered, I ask you, where did the simplicity go?
But I vow to broaden my horizons allowing my tastebuds to be tingled by the Caramel Macchiato, to savour the cocoa of a Mocha delicately topped with whipped cream. Now, if only I knew exactly what any of this was...
So, I'm challenging you to challenge me. Share your favourite beverage of choice. Email email@example.com, or simply post a comment here on my blog, then I will pick one of your suggestions to try for the week. IÂ’ve got my Starbucks card loaded and IÂ’m ready to start sampling!