JLR's mom is definitely what one would call a coffee drinker, and while she was staying with us once, she and I were having coffee in identical mugs. We set them down on the counter, and then we couldn't remember who put which mug down where. She drinks her coffee with a little cream. I drink my coffee with more than a little cream and more than a little sugar. She picked up one cup, I picked up the other, and we chose the wrong cups. To put it mildly, I'm not sure who was more disappointed, and I think I remember her saying something like, "Blech! You want some coffee with your sugar??"
While I still love a good Starbuck's pumpkin spice latte or caramel brulee latte or cinnamon dolce latte or caramel frappucino, I have cut back on the sweetness of coffee I make for myself. When I have a cup at work, I use one pod of breakfast blend (whatever that means) and 2-3 vanilla creamers. No sugar.
*Fade into this evening.*
JLR and I thought it would be a nice night to go have a cup of coffee downtown, so we bundled up and headed to Starbuck's, which is located in what used to be a corner drug store on Main Street. Pretty cool. We don't go very often b/c it seems absurd to spend close to $10 on two medium (pardon me, grande) coffees...well, that, and like I said, we're not really coffee people.
(We are wine people, but I was going to have to put on makeup and refix my hair to go to the wine bar, and I really wasn't up for that. I was only at a coffee level of presentability.)
(Yes, we've been married a while.)
(Why do you ask?)
Anyway, JLR's sister is a coffee person and used to work at the aforementioned establishment (not here, in California). She has cut way back on what she spends on her drinks b/c she figured out how to work the system. Instead of going in and ordering a $5 latte, she orders a double espresso and adds milk and flavored syrup. It costs $1.95.
I'm all for saving a few dollars and still enjoying my coffee beverage, so I walked up to the register very confidently and said, "I would like a double espresso with soy milk and vanilla syrup, please. And he would like a tall cinnamon dolce latte." It's even possible that I looked a little smug as I backed away from the counter and waited for the drinks to be ready.
Let me just tell you, I think the fact that I am not a coffee person means I am most definitely not an espresso person. They handed us the tall cinnamon dolce latte (Oh, who am I kidding? The guys working there wouldn't hand anyone anything; it's a wonder we even realized the drinks were ready with the level of service they were providing.), and then a moment later they set my drink down. I went to pick the cup up and nearly threw it over my shoulder b/c it was so light. I swirled it around and gave JLR a puzzled look.
"I don't think there's much in here," I said.
"Well, a double shot of espresso isn't much liquid," he said.
I took off the lid and peeked inside. "Hunh. The cup is only half full. It's not a bargain to pay half the price for half the drink. Dollar for dollar, I'm getting the same amount of drink for my money. That was not the plan."
We left to walk down Main Street, and I still hadn't tried my drink about halfway down the block. I had swirled and sniffed it a few times, and I wasn't eager to consume it based on my findings.
JLR asked if I was going to take a sip, and I said, "Probably. Later." He gave me a look of exasperation, so we stopped walking and I took a small drink.
That was some strong stuff.
I couldn't tell you whether the milk and vanilla syrup were even in the cup. All I could taste was the bitterness of the two shots of espresso. It was so potent that I was certain the flavor was forever embedded on my tongue.
And really, let's be honest. It doesn't taste good. You people who drink straight espresso are kidding yourselves.
JLR tried to make the best of it. "You want to go back and get a hot chocolate and mix them?" he asked.
"No," I said.
"You want to have them add more milk?"
I'm nothing if not adaptable.
"You want to just go home and see what we can make of it there?"
"Yes," I said.
We hung a left at the end of the block to go back to the parking lot so that we could come home and doctor my drink. JLR added almond milk and a little agave nectar, heated it, and brought it to me to try.
I sniffed it. (B/c I share blood with the Flinchum family and this is what we do.)
"It smells like cardboard," I said.
Do I even need to tell you that I got JLR's exasperated look again?
I took a sip.
JLR asked how it tasted.
"It tastes kind of like cardboard also," I said.
He sighed, said something or other, and then added some hot chocolate shavings, reheated it, and brought it to me to try.
"I think this one's got legs," he said.
"You mean it grew something?" I asked.
"I don't know what it means for my drink to have legs," I said.
"You know, it's got legs, it could go somewhere," he explained.
"Hey, I like that!" I exclaimed.
And then I sniffed the drink.
"It smells less like cardboard," I declared.
You can only imagine how his chest puffed out at that kind of praise. It's a wonder it didn't go to his head.
To make an already long story slightly shorter, I'll end by telling you that I took a few more drinks and then poured the entire blessed concoction down the sink drain. With JLR's blessing, of course.
From now on, I'm sticking with my $5 latte. No funny business for this Starbuck's customer.
Dad always said I had champagne taste on a beer budget. Apparently I've got latte taste on an espresso budget as well.
(Except I don't think that saying actually has any legs (see? see what I did there?) since the really cool espresso machine we saw at Williams-Sonoma yesterday runs you about two grand.)
The moral of this story? I guess I'm still not a coffee drinker.