Bear with me, folks – we’re on part five of six – I PROMISE I’m wrapping this up here. Eventually.
Coffee was the subject of my last post, and I suspect will occupy the better part of this one. But because my daily cup of personality allows me to spell it “morning” instead of “mourning,” it deserves a little extra love and attention. So pour yourself a fresh cuppa joe, prop up your feet, and get comfy.
- List 10 things you LOVE
- List 10 things you HATE
- Nominate a few suckers to do the same
10 THINGS I LOVE and 10 THINGS I HATE (in unranked order)
PART 5: MORE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE
9. I love gas station coffee, and I hate Starbucks.
In my last post, I may have mentioned that I love coffee. And while this is very true, I’m totally blue-collar about it. As long as you’re drinking it black, I’m the furthest thing from a coffee snob that there is.
Confession: I actually drink – and like – coffee from the gas station.
<passes smelling salts for delicate flowers who dead-fainted>
Hey, don’t knock it ’till ya try it – if you can’t find a McDonald’s, know that Sheetz, Holiday, KwikTrip, and SuperAmerica all have decent roasts – and they sell 24oz cups to tote it in. WINNING. (Side note: Sheetz actually has some decent food, too, for a 24/7 gas station. Certainly a few notches above Taco Bell, and deny all you want, I KNOW you are totally eating that shiz on the sly. Taco Bell is the Walmart of fast food – the largest chain where <cough> “nobody” eats, EVER.)
My fave chain coffee is Dunkin’ Donuts. I’m self-aware enough to realize that it was probably because I was raised on the stuff – I’m from the East Coast, and Dunkin’ dominated; back home, this chain is everywhere. Although Tim Hortons is seriously encroaching on the terrain; once we let him out of Canada, he started to spread like some sort of mutant coffee kudzu. But if he chokes out Starbucks, I’ll consider it a symbiotic relationship and agree to peacefully coexist.
Side note: Where you’re raised definitely influences your tastes. I remember reading a study years ago (it was probably Consumer Reports, but do you think I can find it now?) with taste-test results for different brands of dark chocolate. Hershey’s makes one called Special Dark. You probably remember this as the also-ran in the bag of miniatures, left to grow stale long after the Mr. Goodbars and Krackels were gone. (Except in my house, where Mom and I fought over them. We also fought over the Brazil nuts in the Chex Mix. Ah well.) Although it tends to get mediocre ratings nationwide, Special Dark tends to be the favored brand of dark in the region surrounding Hershey, PA. Whether they actually like it, or pretend to out of unfailing loyalty, I can’t say for certain, but if you know any Steelers fans, you’ll likely lean to the latter theory. Because those people are in their own special category of uniquely nutzoid. Green Bay and Dallas fans have NOTHING on loyalty next to Steelers fans. Nada. Zip.
Usually, I brew my own coffee at home. I justify my addiction by supporting small farmers and/or local businesses while I’m getting my fix. (Shout out to Velasquez Family Coffee, who delivers my monthly
prescription subscription of beautifully delicious beans. African Cinnamon is da bomb, but they’re all excellent. Trust me.)
But if I’m on the road, and there’s no Dunkin’ available, I will happily hit the local fill station for my morning boost. No matter how questionable the store appears, the coffee there HAS to be better than what I’ll find at Starbucks.
Ah, Starbucks. The one chain coffee I canNOT stomach.
This isn’t a political statement, nor is it a protest against the overpriced blended dessert drinks made-to-order with a brutally bastardized handwritten approximation of your first name.
It’s simply because THEIR COFFEE IS TERRIBLE.
Aficionados of the swill will claim, with their noses pointed high, “it’s DARK roast…you must not like coffee that dark and robust.” I raise my pinky delicately <snort> and call BS on y’all. Folks, it’s not “dark roast” any more than charcoal is ebony wood, or broken glass looks JUST LIKE diamonds. The Emperor is naked – in the name of decency, grab a tarp to cover the floppy bits. THAT SHIZ IS BURNT YO.
The last time I voluntarily drank a cup of Starbucks coffee was in 2005. I had to make a long drive, and it was early in the morning on a holiday and I was bone-tired. I was heading into a rural area (read: nothing open, not even gas stations) and, out of desperation, made a regrettable decision – I pulled into Starbucks to grab a small cup. Just a little, to get me through the drive. I mean, it was either that or headbob my way into swerving offroad through the forest.
I did what I had to do. I knew it wouldn’t be great, but how bad could it be? I needed it, right?
I selected something called Christmas Blend. Gamely, I raised the cup to my lips. My sophisticated tasting palate has identified the composition of this brew, just in case you’d like to replicate it at home:
- Chop down a pine tree.
- Let it rot in your backyard for approximately 12 months.
- Burn it to ashes (be sure to leave the dead bugs, dog hair, and bird droppings!) Grind well.
- Pour hot water over the whole thing and drink up.
Halfway through the cup, I gave up and chucked it out the window. And probably killed an endangered turtle or something.
My aversion to Starbucks has gotten so bad that the very smell of it triggers my gag reflex. It’s like morning sickness all over again, when the smell of the fireplace, of all things, sent me on a frenzied sprint to find a bathroom. (Hmm. Fireplace = burnt wood. Coincidence? I THINK NOT, Starbucks. I. Think. Not.)
If Starbucks is the only option available, I will actually make the risky and painful decision to <gasp> FOREGO coffee, even when I desperately need it (read: mornings with boring meetings, mornings when I didn’t get much sleep, mornings in general, and mornings on days of the week ending in Y.)
I’ve attended enough local seminars to know which hotels have the hazard placard on the silver vat of caffeine:
(Dear Hilton: I used to be an HHonors Diamond member. DIAMOND. THIS IS HOW YOU THANK ME?)
Thankfully, Starbucks hasn’t ruined tea. Yet. So that’s still a relatively safe bet if you’re stuck in an endless meeting and can’t get out to bring your own. It’s a poor substitute, true, but it might be just enough caffeine to keep you on the left side of regrettable decisions that get you fired, arrested, or both.
Of course, that might be a super effective way to get banned from meetings for a while.
<raises Friendship mug and winks conspiratorially>
One more and I PROMISE we’ll be done with this.
I pass the torch to Lauren Hayley at Madness, Sparkle, and Creative Flair. She’s pretty busy but I suspect she has a lot to say, too. 🙂