Friday, November 4, 2011

Coffee Wars

My whole life I have coveted the Starbucks coffee cup.  To me it symbolizes the fabulous yuppie lifestyle that I once so vigorously sought.  I envisioned myself like Meg Ryan in "You've Got Mail" sipping on my Espresso Macchiato seated in the front window of a Starbucks while flipping through the pages of Pride and Prejudice.  My very own version of Tom Hanks would tap on the window and startle me.  We would both toss our heads back in delight and he'd come in and join me in a rousing conversation about sharpened pencils and Joni Mitchell. 

There's just one problem with this picture.  I don't like coffee.  I have tried time and time again.  I adore the smell, I just can't get past the taste.  My nostrils flare and my lips purse uncontrollably as I sip on what I hope will be a newly found love.  To no avail.

Okay, so there's more than just one thing wrong with the aforementioned dream sequence.  I've never read
Pride and Prejudice.  But the rest is spot on.  It's my dream world, alright?

In my early thirties my sister introduced me to chai tea latte.  She had discovered it as an alternative to coffee as she too had a fondness of the cup and lack of appreciation for the brew. 

Shortly there after I was in the Chicago Merchandise Mart on a buying trip.  There amongst the scuffle of the weary a.m. commuters I saw it.  A Starbucks.  Like a beacon drawing me in.  I felt a little uneasy as I stood in line.  These people were all pros.  And, then it was my turn.  I placed my order and scooted to the side as everyone in front of me had. 

I was practically twitterpated as the barista shouted the dispatch of my order.

"That's mine",  I gleefully whispered to the man in front of me.

"Whatever", he sneered.

Sorry, buddy.  Nobody's going to pee on my parade.  I have my very own Starbucks coffee cup.  My hands almost trembled as I brought the warm beverage to my mouth.  I was instantly transformed into an uber-professional, city-dwelling, card carrying Starbucks coffee cup owner. 

'Check me out', I eye spoke to the line of impatient urbanites.  'I'm a big girl now.'

My new best friend and I then hopped into the elevator.  'Oooo, look!  A fellow Starbuckian.'  I nodded my head in acknowledgement. 

"Nothing like a hot cup of Joe on a cold Chicago morning, huh?"  She spoke only to me as we were both members of the elite club. 

"Mmmmmmm, hmmmmmmm!"  I was a little over zealous.  'Settle down, girl.'

"Whatcha havin'?"

"Oh, it's a chai tea latte.  My sis...."  she didn't even let me finish.

"Oh, now, those little foo foo drinks don't count!"  When she chuckled her belly moved up and down.

'Yes, well, neither do those Crocs as a fashion statement.'  No, I didn't actually say it.  But I sure thought it.  I could not believe she just outed me, a mere 5 minutes after my glorious purchase. 

'Hi, my name is Julie and I pretend to drink coffee just so I can have one of the cups.'

'Hi, Julie.'


My brother in law owns a fine establishment, The Three Legged Dog, in downtown Jacksonville,  They serve all kinds of delightful coffee beverages, none of which I consume, much to my dismay.  I have, a few times, whispered an order for a chai tea latte and then hang my head in shame, all thanks to Chubby Mc Crocman.

So, recently I have been focused on knocking a few things off of my "list".  I've started what I hope will be my last adventure in weight loss.  So far, so good.  I've also been cutting back on my diet soda consumption.  I am, however, a caffeine devotee, so I've been contemplating a substitute. 

Last week I ran into the gas station to pay and noticed a tray of samples on the counter.  "Great white pumpkin latte".  Why not?

My eyebrows lifted as I sipped the concoction.  Was this for real?  I actually liked it.  No, I really liked it!

"What's in this?"

"It's a caffe latte with pumpkin spice and white chocolate flavors."

I stopped listening at 'caffe'.  I peered over the attendant's shoulder to survery the cup situation.  Relatively decent cups, elevated lids with the sip hole and flip top. 

"I'll take one."

I had a little extra spring in my step that day.  Not sure if it was the heightened levels of caffeine and sugar or the sheer glamour of finally making the ranks of coffee drinker.  It didn't really matter.  Life was good.

On day 2 of being a coffee drinker I upgraded to the pros.  I drove through the Three Legged Dog and ordered my new found addiction.  Oooohhhh, this is what a latte should taste like!  Oh my soul.  It just keeps getting better!

I made another pilgrimage on day 3.  Well, apparantly you can aquire new tastes, even in your forties!  I was a convert.  I considered it, but having 2 in one day just seemed indulgent.

The next morning my scales had a bit of a surprise for me.  They presented me with a bit of an upswing.  'What the fuh-udge?'  I had been so freaking good!  I was very careful about what I was eating and had been to spinning class.  And, then it hit me.  Hmmm.  The latte.  'I wonder what the caloric content is in a pumpkin spice caffe latte?' 

Well, for a medium with whole milk and whipped cream, we're somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 calories!!!  Talk about a caffeine buzz kill. 

Pain.  Scorn.  Disillusionment.  Sigh

Day 4, I settled for a small pumkin spice caffe latte skinny no whip.  Not bad.  Lengthy name.  But, it'll do.  After all, I am now a coffee drinker with a really cool cup.  Welcome to my world, sad as it may be.  :)

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