It’s difficult to imagine a time in history before the cultivation of the mighty coffee bean. It was most likely bleak and everyone was cranky. Thankfully, we live in a civilized time where our biggest problem is choosing our favorite bean and brew that gets us through our day. Doing this through bleary eyes is a challenge but Jason is up to it.
You knew we would eventually do this, right? After all, they’re the top coffee chain in the country, and quite possibly the world. And I have spent OH SO MUCH time avoiding the business like the plague, Cameron Diaz films, decaf coffee, or billable work throughout the day. But not too long ago my wife gave birth to our second child, and one of our friends happened to place a Starbucks gift card in amongst the girly pink outfits and bows bigger than her head. And since my wife does not indulge in the savory, bold taste explosion that is my favorite bean, she gave the card to me.
Let me just start off by saying I fully intended to write an article about Starbucks by simply eviscerating them. After all, a half-caff no-whip soy venti macchiato is NOT COFFEE, at least by my standards. In fact, I’m not sure it’s even a drink. It’s probably more like disgusting pudding. And the company itself is a litigious sort. There was a brewery down in Galveston that got sued because they created a beer called Star Bock. Never mind that Texas is famous for its bocks, and our symbol is that of a lone star. No, since the name sounded almost-but-not-really-that-close to Starbucks, they felt they were violating their trademark claim. In fact, I’m still a little nervous that if I insult them too much in this article they might try and sue me. But one can only hope they’d see the absurdity in that; after all, to sue me for my valid opinion would be reaching terminal frivolosity.
But get this: it turns out Starbucks itself isn’t the part of the experience that royally sucks. It’s the customers. One fair morn I dropped my son off at daycare, and my daughter and I decided to drop in and let me use the gift card I’d received. Now, let me just point out that I’m well aware of what I’ve been writing these past few months, and I’ve set certain tenets and precepts of what is and is not coffee. So when I entered the glass door I fully intended on purchasing some dessert beverage that tastes slightly of coffee. Except there was this slight problem: it took forever to park, because the drive-thru had accrued so many cars they were wrapped around the building, blocking a ridiculous amount of open parking spaces. Then when I finally got inside, the line took forever due to people walking up and interrupting the next order by either asking what was taking so long (HINT: probably the vehicular version of Hands Across America outside,) or forgetting to add a word to an already large amount being used to describe merely one freaking drink. By the time I’d gotten up to place my order I feel I’d successfully given every person in that building just the right enough amount of stinkeye that they all knew even though I was carrying a baby in a car seat with my right hand, I will CHOKE A FOOL if they try and interrupt me whilst ordering my froo-froo ladydrink.
Oh, FUN FACT, kids: if the people at your local Starbucks know your name and what you drink, it’s probably because they think you’re annoying and just want to get you out the damn door as quickly as possible. And here you thought you were special, didn’t you? J
Anyway, the lady at the register was very cool. I imagine if patience were truly the greatest virtue, then all Starbucks employees should be nearing sainthood by now. I ordered a venti White Chocolate Mocha Latte. “Double shot?” she asked. “What the hell,” I replied, actually kind of grateful she asked. Then I sat down at a table with my baby daughter, sipped on my diabetes catalyst while eating the DOPEST cranberry scone I’ve ever had, and decided to do some people watching (read: yoga pants.) Then after the maelstrom of events was over and it looked like I might be able to get my car off the lot, I walked up and asked the gracious lady at the counter if she had any good suggestions for the bags of coffee-flavored coffee they sold. She suggested Pikes Peak, but then when I reminded her that I’m asking what SHE thinks is good, she told me she was a fan of the Komodo Blend. Now, once again I’ve mentioned in the past my reticence to drink anything that has ‘blend’ in the name, mainly because it’s a hodgepodge of different beans, and you’re gearing yourself up for lesser quality in your drink. But frankly underneath all that sugary filler, I could taste a genuinely pretty good coffee. And let’s be pragmatic: you don’t get to be Number One by selling Number Two (with maybe one mcexception, mind you.) So I bought a bag and took it home. And I may be pretty spoiled when it comes to coffee these days, but the Komodo Blend housed a truly bold and irresistible aroma and flavor with a slightly peppery finish.
All in all, it was a good experience at Starbucks. I can’t really blame them if the majority of their clientele are a bunch of kneebiters. They’re selling $5 coffee drinks that taste like candy bars; that stuff’s like crack to self-centered jerks. But is it too much to ask the CEO to come out against gay marriage or say something racist recording in private? I just want to see what the drive-thru is like without having to waste half a tank of gas.