Ohhh… the coffee shop. The month of July has had me in this little box of a drive-thru, most refer to it as “cute”, a lot… too much for my own good I believe. I loved coffee before I started working here; the taste, the variety, it’s ability to keep my nerves even and energy up, but now I have officially turned into a coffee snob. It was bound to happen, and I really can’t say I tried to stop it all that much, more like I embraced it with open arms. It’s the one cliché I have allowed myself to have in life… maybe it’s the fact that coffee just belongs in a writer’s hand, or that it gives the appearance of intellect if you pair it with glasses, I’m not sure, but it’s a habit I’m not breaking anytime soon.
How did I know I was officially swept into the ranks of coffee gurus you ask? Or maybe you didn’t, but this is my blog so I’m going to answer my own question. Today a man pulled up to the window, big, brawny, goatee, flashy smile (and car), his classic rock blaring out the window. I think to myself, “He’s going to order a house coffee, totally black, or maybe just a simple mocha.” I like to think I have most people pegged when it comes to their choice of brew, but he threw me for a loop when he asked for a, “Single shot, skinny, sugar-free vanilla latte, iced please… light ice if you can!” Uh, what?? For you non-coffee drinkers you may not see how ridiculous this order is. Let me explain. In a normal 16 oz (or medium for you number-illiterate people) there are normally two shots of espresso (the coffee), when someone orders just one I immediately write them off as a pansy when it comes to caffeine. But this guy didn’t just stop there, no he has to strip down his latte of any calories or fat, to apparently keep those muscles slim. In layman’s terms: he ordered like a woman, a sissy, a tool. Before I rile up any feminists that might be reading my blog (let me add a “go women, we rock!” here) there are plenty females who come through my drive-thru and order much more impressive coffees than this guy. But let’s face it, even I have cut the sugar out of my delightful legal drug because of the magazine cover that stares at me from the shelf.
I judged. Yes, I know, it was terrible of me, and I repented afterward, but it happened. I looked at the man, and I judged him. And that people is when it really hit me that I have become a “coffee snob.” Well… that and I have become sensitive to texture and taste of different brews.
How does the story end? I made him his “iced, skinny, sugar-free vanilla latte, light ice” (with cinnamon sprinkled on top – he piped this in at the end) and handed it to him with a smile on my face, made some comment about his car, and watched him greedily suck down his “coffee” while I made him his change. He did tip though, which regained some of the respect he lost with me.
So for you who are confused with how this coffee biz works let me explain some basics for you:
- The difference between a mocha and a latte – This has a lot of people confused out of their poor minds. Let me make it simple, mocha = chocolate. A latte will not use chocolate as one of its ingredients. A latte is simply steamed milk, espresso, and whatever flavor you choose to add (almond is my personal favorite!).
- Espresso vs. Brew – Brewed coffee (or what you’ll hear be called ‘house coffee’) is brewed longer, and at a lower temperature than espresso. The espresso shots have a more fine ground to the beans, and use less hot water, it’s forced through quicker so you get a more intense coffee flavor. (These take forever to learn to perfect!)
- Americano – This is what I drink! It’s hot water and espresso. I like mine strong, with no cream, but I add some flavoring to it. You can also ice these!
- Cappuccino – Wet or dry? Most people have no clue what this even means. Well let me set you straight – a dry capp has espresso shots and foam (what we make off the steamed milk) the wet capp will have some of that steamed milk added to it. I think customers order a cappuccino when they aren’t sure what to get, you’re better off getting a latte my friends!