Friday, August 11, 2006

I Am a Coffee Ninny

Let me preface all of this by saying; I never have been much of a coffee drinker. I went through a number of years of education in advertising art without learning the (apparently) fine art of smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee. And now, after many sleepless or short-on-sleep nights with my children, I only partake in the occasional absolutely necessary cup of joe. Even then, it has to be milked and sugared up like it was melted ice cream. I am a coffee ninny.

So, we had a pot luck breakfast (that I forgot to bring anything to) at work one day. I did the obligatory “I-didn’t-bring-anything-so-I’ll-stay-out-of-line-till-nobody-wants-any-more” routine. There were cheese and sausage kolaches, glazed and chocolate glazed donuts, fruit salad, venison sausage, potato and egg tacos, apple juice, orange juice, fruit punch juice, and a 3 quart cardboard barrel of steaming hot Starbuck’s Yukon Bold black-as-night coffee.

Even the most backward, coffee-averse bumpkin is aware that Starbuck’s coffee is the supreme treat of the roasted bean food group. Celebrated the world over, appearing on every third street corner and strip center, Starbuck’s is the shining example of what advertising can accomplish. Building recognition, an appetite, a craving culminating in a total all-out mania for a product.

That said, I felt drawn by the preponderance of “evidence” that Starbucks coffee surpasses every other form of heated liquid consumable on the planet. I succumbed to the notion that I should pour a cup for myself. Deep, dark, rich, fragrant elixir flowed from the barrel into the custom cup imprinted with the revered logo. I sugared it up as I knew I would need to, just to make it drinkable. I didn’t put any cream in, not at first. Although it seems I recalled hearing that they roast their beans a little dark…

Now, I usually need to apply the sugar in a secure location, to avoid the inevitable catcalls remarking on the volume of the granulated demon. So after sequestering my dark cup of java and pouring (did I say “pouring”? I meant to say “spooning”) the requisite amount of sweetness, I tasted the tonic.

My tongue reflexively tried to escape the caustic liquid I had ingested. My face contorted unconsciously, like a baby’s the first time it tries spinach. What torture did those tiny beans endure in the custody of Starbuck’s? When the rich flavor was wrested from their little bodies, what other horrors did they suffer before they arrived in my cup? I couldn’t take another sip without creaming the entire shipment down to a tawny beige in hopes of cutting the bitterness. It was as if the innocent beans had been reduced to charcoal in their final throes.

I politely carried the cup back to my cubicle where it sat indignantly until I mustered the fortitude to down the rest of it. After all, it was the effect of the caffeine that I desired rather than the flavor.

And caffeine it did provide! In sufficient quantities to snap me from my torpor and propel me into my daily tasks. Later in the day, I wished that I had the same jolt, but dared not brave the harsh taste of the brew.

“Wow, Starbuck’s, how cool. I really appreciated the coffee…”

No comments: