Friday, 7 August 2009

An Ode to Starbucks

Once upon a time, I didn't like coffee. I just couldn't stomach the taste of it. Who wants to drink hot bitterness? I just couldn't understand it. After I finished 4 years of University as a total procrastinator (writing all but one essay the night before they were due) I figured I'd made it. If I can make it through that without drinking coffee, then I'm just not a coffee drinker. Cafe mochas and peppermint tea it is! Of course, I came out of University with a moderate to severe addiction to Diet Pepsi. When I was in school, I was drinking an average of 4-6 cans a day. After school, I cut back to 2-3, so I figured I was okay. Then the migraines started. Last summer I started getting migraines on a somewhat regular basis. They're probably partially due to the fact that I still have all my wisdom teeth that tend to shift and give me headaches (like today, for example) but I became convinced it was all the aspartame I'd been consuming. So, I cut out Diet Pepsi, just like that. I stopped drinking it and felt better - yay! I still drink pop on occasion, usually just if I'm at a restaurant or something. We don't tend to keep it at home, even though Jagger likes some pop every now and then. So there I was, drinking peppermint tea all fall/winter like a crazy person. I've always prided myself on not really having any vices to speak of, Diet Pepsi was my only real vice, so I figured I was doing okay. It's better than meth, right? Then the iced coffees started.

Oh, iced coffee. You and I flirted last summer. A sip here, a cup there. Nothing serious, no committment was necessary, just a summer fling. Then I tried you this year. I tried some at Tim Horton's and you were sweet, creamy, cool, delicious. Maybe a little too sweet though, like you were hiding something. Some dark secret hidden beneath all those ice cubes. Then one day I found myself in Starbucks. "Grande iced coffee with milk, please." That's where it all ended for me. I was hooked. The perfect balance of sweet and bitter, ice cold and delicious. And they didn't care if I ordered something annoying like, "Can I get just half a sweetener in that, please?" Then they hooked me on the cookies. "Would you like a nice warm cookie today, ma'am?" I was so excited about the idea of a warm cookie that I forgave the whole "ma'am" thing. When's the last time Tim Horton's offered to warm up your cookie for you? So now I find myself at Starbucks for lunch a few times a week at least, getting my Grande Iced Coffee with milk and a ginger mollasses cookie. I wondered if this new obsession was limited to coffee of the iced variety, or if I could handle a cup of the real hot stuff.

Again, I started slowly. A small cup at the London Majors game with lots of milk and sweetener, seems okay. Then while mildly hung over in Red Lake I had 3 cups of coffee to start the day. Oops, I think I'm a coffee drinker. The bucket of coffee I had at the airport in Winnipeg before heading back to London sealed the deal. I'm a coffee drinker.

So here I am, feeling like a grown up because I can actually drink coffee. It always seemed so unobtainable to me, such a milestone. I haven't reached the point where I have to start my day with a coffee (I still don't own a coffee maker, that's the next thing) but I definitely crave my Starbucks. After 4 days in Northwestern Ontario for vacation, I was definitely ready to be back to the creature comforts of the city, namely my beloved Starbucks.

I never thought I would be one of "those" people who I thought frequented Starbucks. Starbucks people get a bad rap. Sure it can be complicated to order, but all you need to know is what you want and they make it. It's not that bad. You don't have to drink things with shots and foam and whip and non-dairy, they just have those things if you want them. And honestly, you can't get better service. I once had a young man at the drive-thru reply, "That sounds delicious!" when I ordered my iced coffee. Yes, it is delicious, Starbucks Boy. Yes, it is.


Sylvia Lewis-Havard said...

I started coffee after school too. It's the government's fault, nothing to do all day, need a break...where to go? Starbucks, there are 15 in the downtown core (and this is Ottawa - that is a lot) there are 2 within 3 blocks of my buildings - 4 within 5. What startles me is that they asked you if you wanted your cookie warmed? What! I have never heard of this but it sounds damn good.

ashlie said...

You've never had a warm cookie? Maybe it's a London thing, they ask me all the time if I want a warm cookie. Lots of free samples too, which is nice. That's how I got hooked on the ginger molasses cookie, free sample! They were giving out free samples of the new strawberry banana smoothie the other day too. I wish I could walk to a Starbucks from work, but unfortunately my office is in the skids of London, so I have to drive, but there are definitely lots in London now.

Anonymous said...

You are too funny Ashley!! I remember one year I had decided my new years resolution would be to start to enjoy coffee. I was tired of not "being a grown-up". It didn't matter that I had two kids, two cars and owned my own house, I was not a grown up because I didn't enjoy coffee!!! It never happened that year. After I started dating Kyle and trying sips of his cream only, I began to enjoy it. I have since switched to half coffee half hot chocolate. SO good. I skip out on the whip cream and chocolate shavings!