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Monday, 2 August 2010

My First Starbucks.

"For crying out loud, I just want a coffee!"

I'm down in the dumps today. This is because I have just been at the doctor's for my semi-annual health check that involves endless finger probing in unmentionable areas.

So after being given a clean bill of health and feeling a bit violated, I decided to try some new things like, say, a Starbucks? Now of course at this point you must be wondering how anyone in the western world above the age of sixteen has never had a Starbucks? Well, the exception applies when it comes to me. Let me explain.

Everytime I attempt to ply my body with caffiene, my heart thumps through the chest like I have just seen the Queen of Sheba and the migranes, oh the migranes, are excruciating. Only after drinking copious amounts of water does my body return to normal functioning which means that coffee is not only out of the question for me but also detrimental to my health; except if it is freshly ground and that means extra time and money of which I am not at liberty to part with. Oh, did I mention the endless trips to the restroom?

So while three quarters of the entire white-collar labour force make their morning pilgrimage to Starbucks, I'm in the one quarter that doesn't.

I have heard from work colleagues, family and friends alike rave about Starbucks coffee but never actually got down to buying one for myself for reasons named above. So after the doctor's appointment, I threw caution to the wind and trotted off to the one nearest the office. Little did I know that one had to take out a second mortgage, plus learn a whole new language just to get a coffee.

First of all, as I approached the counter to make my order, I felt as nervous as a virgin bride on her wedding night; and to make matters worse, the young lady that was supposed to be serving me -who looked barely over the age of seventeen- rolled her eyes at me because I looked lost and confused like a vegetarian in a meat lovers' restaurant.

Then came the ordering, oh the bloody ordering. Now at this point I was experiencing snippets of delirium from all the names of all the different coffees and sizes:

First we have the Expresso shots. Here's a brief breakdown of the number of espresso shots per size: 'Tall' = one shot, 'Grande' = two, 'Venti' = three.

Then latte (pronounced lah-tay) is the beginner's espresso drink. If this is your first time in a Starbucks, this would be a good place to start. The latte consists of espresso, steamed milk and a dollop of foam on top.

Close cousin to the latte, the cappuccino is a drink that bridges the international gap; it's pretty much the same everywhere you go, even in Europe. The 'cap' is basically the same thing as a latte: it contains the same amount of espresso, but the cappuccino has more foam.

Then we have the Americano. This drink is in fact made up entirely of steamed water and espresso shots; there is no brewed coffee in it. The steamed water is just water taken from the espresso bar.

Cafe Au Lait. This drink consists of half regular brewed coffee, and half steamed milk, and usually comes with the dollop of foam to top it off.

Then there is 'Advanced drinkology' which consists of things like: Cafe Mocha, Cafe Breve, Mocha Valencia, Caramel Macchiato, Frap-puccino, Chai, Tea, Espresso Macchiato and the Red Eye.

No matter how well you study this entry, or how much of a veteran Starbucks customer you are, you may be sure of one thing when ordering your drink; you will order it incorrectly. Some way, somehow, you will say something that is out of line, and the counter person will look down on you. So you can see how confused I was.

When did our existance become so complicated? Are we so bored that everything that needed inventing has already been invented? The car , the aeroplane, the telephone, the world wide web, the mobile phone, we even put man on the moon - now we have to invent different types of coffee just to get more money from middle to upper income earners?

You know what? I would have loved more than anything to have been a fly on the wall in the Starbucks board meeting when they were concocting this up. Wouldn't you? It's priceless.

Okay let's try this; "may I please have a skinny mochiatto with cream. Make that red eye." I cannot begin to comprehend what I just said. It's like speaking french to a group of arabic scholars. It makes no sense. But to the everyday Starbucks consumer, it makes perfect sense.

This or course adds to the so called 'sophistication' of the 'Starbucks Club' that looks down on anyone that is not aprt of their clique. I swear to you, one day I heard a colleague of mine order her morning addiction to whom I later asked whether she spoke martian because that is what it sounded like to me. I became the laughing stock of the whole floor when word got round that I was a 'Starbucks virgin.'

I tell you, the amount of money spent on Starbucks from one's monthly earnings can feed a family of four back home in Africa for a month. True.

So my friends, there you have it. My first Starbucks which I must say, for crying out loud, can someone just get me a coffee!

Now if I can find that bottle of Evian.

4 comments:

Biana said...

lol, funny post. You are so right, it's a whole new language. I'm also not a frequent coffee drinker, but I love a good cappucino once in a while. I also like the cold (caffeine free)(coffee) drinks at starbucks e.g. the frappucinos. But unlike most people here in Holland, I'm not a coffee freak.

The Photodiarist said...

Tea. That's my caffein-ator.

Underemployed said...

GREAT writing!

They need a phrasebook, no? I hate waiting in line for a cup of black coffee while some idiot orders a "grande, half-caf, no-foam, double shot latte".

Love this!

Nadine2point0 said...

I drink coffee at home/studio and while out for biz or running errands I'll possibly treat myself to something with a little espresso. Let me tell you though, aside from the co$t of Starbucks, I find the bold roast which I pick anywhere else is like jetfuel and I too end up with heart palpitations! I will say that their pumpkin scones are yum.
My fav coffee spot here is Coffeeco and all is pretty tree-huggerish, including 100 mile practice of using only local dairies and baked goods, blah, blah fair-trade beans, organic, green-powered, etc. I contribute to the warm and fuzzy as a patron by either bringing in my own travel mug, or by using one of my "Greensleeves" that I came up with (and sell as part of that branch of my biz) which prevents them from slapping on a cardboard sleeve on my hot cup by using a lovely one-of-a-kind re-usable cuff made from the remnants of gorgeous silks and decor fabrics I sew with. I'll post a photo to show you on my blog - I should gift a few out there to you and your/my readers.
I should mention that the Coffeeco is directly across from a Starbucks, in a beautiful limestone historic building. The local Queen's population is split down the middle on where they go. Wondering now if it's the money? the causes? the Canadian vs. American choice or what. I'm so curious I might just take a poll!

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