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Posts Tagged ‘coffee’

My sister Kay has me hooked on the grocery store version of Starbucks Frappuccino Mocha Light, in the little blue top 1.12 L glass bottles. I keep them in the fridge for an emergency boost of caffeine. In fact, this morning after yoga I popped a top and am still sipping its delectable, milk-shaky goodness.

My favorite Starbucks drink, at their brick and mortar store, is an” Iced Grande Dirty Chai Tea Latte with coconut milk!”  Granted it’s literally tea, but still with a shot of espresso!

When did it become normal to pay $5 for a cup of coffee? As a kid, I remember coffee costing less than a dollar at the local Woolworths. The Flapper made “instant” coffee, with those brown granules and I still wonder how people can drink that stuff. Kay and my brothers carried on her tradition of hot instant coffee first thing in the morning, so we’d have to import our own whenever we visited.

I’ve always been a Starbucks fan, especially when the Rocker started working at one during high school. His first day of work was supposed to be 9/11/2001, but they closed early that day on the Jersey Shore, like so many businesses and schools. One of the perks (get it?) of having your teenager work there after school was a free pound of coffee every week! And they also started the Rocker on a 401K plan, as a part-timer, which was awesome.

We are surrounded here in the Music City with some off-the-charts local coffee shops. You almost need a degree in botanicals to order to order a cup of Joe in most of them; but, if you’re a coffee connoisseur, and you like to know which country and sustainable farm produced the beans and where and how they were roasted etc, then you’d be in heaven around our townhouse. We can walk to three amazing local coffee shops -“Cascara (Coffee Cherry Tea) / Spiced Butter / Maple/ Sassafras & Sorghum Bitters / served with Askinose Chocolate + Black Licorice Square” anyone? –  complete with lots of man buns, but our nearest Starbucks is a drive across town.

Yesterday we landed in an East Nashville coffee shop that has walls full of bookshelves holding board games! It was cold and rainy and there were lots of people sitting around playing games while drinking coffee, and get this, they were actually taking to each other! No necks craned down to the blue light of a cell phone.

Our only Starbucks complaint so far has been the typical “Old Person” refrain – “Why can’t these young people find a library to study in?” All the people taking up a perfectly fine table plugged into their computers doing “work,” so that Bob and I have to perch on a tall window seat overlooking the parking lot. It’s not bad, but it’s also not comfortable. Sometimes I’ve actually wanted a manager to kick some person out, you know that guy who finished his drink a long time ago and is just sitting there on his phone taking up space, but I’m a good ole Catholic school girl, so I never say anything.

In fact, I’ve never witnessed anyone being kicked out of Starbucks, not even when those gun-nuts were trying to make a point by open-carrying into the Cville store. I want to believe that the Philly store’s manager was an anomaly last week, “Waiting While Black” should NOT be a reason to call the police, or give anyone the boot.

“…police received a 911 call around 4:40 p.m. on Thursday from Starbucks employees saying that “two males were trespassing” and “refused to leave.” According to Ross, the two men did not order food and had asked to use the bathroom, but Starbucks policy does “not allow non paying people from the public to come in and use the restroom.”

I’m looking at the Silver Lining here. The manager was fired and training in bias and customer relations should benefit every worker, not just baristas. I’m willing to give Starbucks a second chance, the CEO apologized and my chai tea awaits. Although the “Sweet Caroline” I had across the street – a dark chocolate, hazelnut and amaretto cappuccino – was to die for before the Nashville Ballet!

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The Flapper was not a morning person, and I seem to take after her. We knew not to bother her as kids unless and until she had her first cup of joe; instant Nescafé coffee that is. A heaping teaspoon of granulated coffee crystals with sugar and Half and Half combined with a cigarette was her morning ritual. Doris Day would serenade us on the radio, as the sun streamed into the kitchen through fat wooden Venetian blinds.

Bob has always been a morning person. He is insanely happy to start each day, and always loved cafe au lait, that is lots of sugar and milk with his brew; after giving up his morning bottle of Coca Cola that got him through Med School. And we became coffee snobs. We were very early adopters of “grinding your own” and sought out exotic blends of coffee in the Berkshires, pre-Starbucks proliferation era. Even when we moved back to NJ in 1987, new friends were surprised to hear the roar of a coffee grinder after dinner.

So I guess it should come as no surprise that both our children requested new coffee delivery systems for the New Year. The Rocker is marrying Cait, a non-coffee-drinker, while back in Nashville the Groom never touches the stuff. There was also the matter of being sustainable, avoiding the pitfalls of plastic pods and such. So the Bride and her brother wanted to brew an excellent cup for one, and not trash the planet while also feeding our family addiction. They went into serious research mode.

Which single cup pour-over coffee maker is the best, French Press or Chemex?

After days of deliberation on both sides of the country, they both received as gifts a Chemex pot! The funny thing is, this clear glass fluted pot looks similar to our old way of making coffee, with a Melitta. The Melitta company has been around for over a hundred years, and probably fueled many late night dorm studying marathons for Boomers. It comes in two parts, a plastic funnel and the glass carafe, and its filters are comparatively cheap.

We switched to a Keurig in the last few years for its speed and convenience; and though there is some guilt about the pods what I really miss is waking to the smell of coffee brewing. That was always Bob’s job when he was home. It’s like our gas fireplace, I miss that wood burning smell too but not the mess. And I remember Nelly Bly saying that even with his dementia in full swing, Daddy Jim could still make a great pot of coffee. So like phone numbers, and letter writing, will we all forget how our ancestors made coffee, percolating over an open flame?

These little faces greeted me yesterday morning for some latke-merry-making in the kitchen. I used the Bride’s old Keurig before frying up a batch of pure Jewish perfection. Happy New Year to one and all, and may caffeine be your addiction of choice too!

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