Today is National Coffee Day, a day wherein we pay tribute to that most awesome of beverages-coffee. I shall pay my tribute by singling out that Mecca in the world of coffee...Starbucks.
Now, I wasn't always a Starbucks' drinker. It's okay, I'll hold on while the shock of that statement wears off. The early patrons of Starbucks considered themselves "coffee connoisseurs," a term I took great delight in disputing at every occasion. It was coffee, for crying out loud, not wine. It was a bean, not a ripe succulent fruit fermented to perfection. In fact, I was one of those people who felt obligated to point out to Starbucks drinkers that coffee was coffee. It's a bean; you grind it: you brew it; you add cream and sugar. Bam! Coffee!
Determined to stand firm in the midst of the turning tide of coffee drinkers toward Starbucks, I insisted I would get my late night coffee at McDonalds or Dunkin Donuts. (Dunkin Donuts was actually my preferred coffee venue, as you could also get a donut. My mama didn't raise a fool.) It was cheaper and, if freshly brewed, every bit as good. The problem, however, was that it wasn't always freshly brewed, and as any coffee drinker can tell you, coffee from an old pot can strip the enamel off your teeth faster than sandpaper. Still, I would rather risk enamel-less teeth than join the ranks of those who got their coffee from Starbucks.
Not everyone around me felt that way, though, including my husband. As my trusty "Coffee Gopher" from way back, he had subjected himself to my complaints regarding old, stale coffee for years. As I often work into the wee hours, caffeine is the deciding factor as to whether a project will be completed or not. Knowing this, he would often surprise me with a cup of coffee purchased from McDonalds or Dunkin Donuts on his way home. So, you can imagine my surprise when he arrived home one evening with a cup of coffee for me in a little white cup with a green logo.
I immediately sensed betrayal.
"WHAT IS THIS?" I demanded, as he handed me the cup.
"I just thought you might like to give it a try," he explained, ducking into the back seat to grab something, anything, so as not to have to look me in the eyes while he spoke. "It's brewed fresh, so you don't have to worry about it being old and it's right on my way home."
I was at a cross-roads. I knew that by drinking that cup of Starbucks coffee, I was crossing over to the Dark Side. Me, who had fought so bravely and steadfastly to not become one of those coffee drinkers was now faced with uncertainty. Unfortunately, I was also faced with a mountain of work, which meant caffeine was needed. So, with the shame normally reserved for closet Snickers eaters and those who might, in a pinch, use their hair as dental floss (not that I would know anything about either of those things) I took a sip.
The moment that brown creamy coffee hit my tongue, I heard the "Hallelujah Chorus." Colors were brighter, sounds were sweeter. I wanted to sing, dance, write poetry, ride a horse to wherever you ride horses. It was, in a word, delicious.
That was ten years ago. Since then, Starbucks and I have become good friends. It has been with me during good times and bed, always warm, always comforting, always delicious.
And I am happy to officially be considered as one of "those people."