Friday, March 24, 2006

Venti Crapachino

Ok, so LJ and I left Pensacola and traveled more than 2,000 miles west. We have come to a strange and wonderful land. Yet this land is filled with danger. Danger that if not minded may destroy the very foundations of our sanity and leave us penniless with not but the vague recollections of speaking in a pseudo-sophisticate that we barely understood and our breath smelling of burnt coffee. I am, of course, alluding to the coffee house of the damned…STARBUCKS.

It seems that the city planners in Reno decided that no shopping mall would be complete or intersection would be left bereft of a Starbucks. The people out here seem to either bask in the lustrous figure of Starbucks’ succubus logo, called to her like doomed sailors to the song of Sirens, or they are seemingly oblivious to the edifices. They ignore it as the proverbial elephant in the corner.

I am a coffee lover. I have sampled most all varieties of coffee from most nationalities that choose to grow and ship it. In my house I keep the coffee that I purchase frozen until consumption. I grind whole beans before I start my machine and I can enjoy coffee black, creamed or sugared. Again, I love coffee. “Why”, might you ask, “do I hate these particular chain cafĂ©’s so much?”

For a few simple reasons…Firstly, I despise the product. Though most wouldn’t believe it Starbucks coffee is over-roasted. This makes the beverage overly bitter. You may not know this though because most people order deluded variations of the standard Cup-of-Joe. If you don’t believe me go in and order a cup of coffee the next time. I swear that you will not want to drink it black. A truly good cup of coffee should be drinkable black or otherwise without overpowering all of your taste sensations and leaving your tongue ravaged and left for dead.

Second: The attitude projected by the overly smug staff and most patrons always pisses me off a bit. If I forgo the ridiculous language change and presume to order my drink in my native English I must endure the glares of ridicule and pity of those around me. To them I am the un-inducted the brigand who wandered into their private club and who is embarrassing himself and offending all. Sometimes, worse the condescending reprimand given me by the high school educated, metro-sexual behind the counter; “We serve Tall, Grande and Venti here…Sir.” “Whatever. I see that you have three sizes of cups and I will just assume that you have eaten elsewhere in your life and in doing so have ordered a small, medium or large drink. Now, if you were to apply that same formula to the empty cups in front of you which one do you think would be a small?” Why should ordering a cup of coffee be so difficult?

Lastly: I suppose the atmosphere is soothing to some but I am generally made uncomfortable by the time I sit down with my boiling cup of burnt coffee. I sit having to listen to some Italian version of Kenny G (but its foreign so its high class, right?) and marvel at the price tags on all the sundries that have less taste than anything one could purchase from a grocery store.

This may permanently brand me as an uncultured barbarian, however I must toss a life vest to those out there who may not know. Some of the best places to get a great cup of coffee that is reasonably priced are both Dunkin’ Doughnuts and Krispy Kreme. Yes, I know, horrible eateries of the proletariat though they may be, they still can make one hell of a damned fine coffee. Krispy Kreme in particular with their three varieties of richness is outstanding.

Was that over the top? Maybe I need to lay off the coffee.


Nana & Pa. said...

I agree Mark, I can't stand Starbucks coffee because it tastes like it is burned. I think people drink it because it is set in a nice atmosphere and it's trendy. The lousy taste and high price puts it out of my pick of places to have a cup of joe. If a Diner served me coffee that tastes that bad I would send it back and say "bring me a cup that isn't burned".

Da Beef said...

Amen...I think this is your best post yet!!! As a coffee aficionado, I agree 99% mark...who wants overpriced, burnt coffee that doesn't even come in traditional sizes! What is this world coming too....have a cup o' joe and relax! I would have to say that Dunkin' Donuts is the best, Krispy Kreme is close second. Got some whole beans heading my way from Michigan as we speak. Too damn bad my coffee maker broke....I'm a little irritated. What am I supposed to do without my fresh ground coffee when I wake up? What Mark.....WHAT?????? Sorry.....and I'm calm now..ah, zen! Have fun hanging out at Stealyourbucks. P.s. Tell the Mrs. I said hey

Thousandlegs said...

I can't say that I understand where you're coming from as I, as you may know, am not much of a coffee drinker. In fact, on the off occasion that I do drink coffee, it is filled with cream and sugar. I will, however, say that a good glass of sweet tea is hard to find anywhere outside of one's own kitchen. By the way, good use of the word proletariat. That is a far underused word in the modern world. Especially considering that so much of the population of the US falls into that category. But then, they probably don't know it.