I have vivid memories of my mother preparing coffee for my grandparents when they would come visit us in Alaska. The sight of my beloved Grandma Margaret in curlers frightened me to tears (literally) and the fragrant aroma of her morning joe only made matters worse. Once I realized it was actually her underneath those terrifying foam rollers, I mustered the courage to ask “Why do you drink something that smells like poop, Grandma?”
My, how things have changed.
As a Norwegian Lutheran raised in Seattle, my love affair with coffee was pretty much inevitable. Yet as I sipped on my Venti Americano at the Seattle Airport last week, it suddenly dawned on me that I’ve come a long way in regards to my java preferences. Let’s take a caffeinated journey down memory lane, shall we?
My high school opens up a coffee cart. (Yes, when you live in the Pacific Northwest, high schools have coffee carts.) I collect spare change from around my house until I have $3.00 saved for a Peach Italian Soda…extra whip cream, of course.
(When you’re sixteen-years-old and have the metabolism of a hyperactive chihuahua, you always get extra whip cream.)
I decide to venture out of my sugary comfort zone and try actual coffee–in the form of a $2.50 mocha from the local parking coffee kiosk. Parking lot coffee kiosks are a trashy (yet kind of awesome) trademark of the Pacific Northwest. They’re on every single block in my hometown of Tacoma, and are basically miniature drive-thru sheds that provides affordable mocha’s, smoothies, latte’s–even the occasional sexual favor!
I like to think of them as Starbucks’ inbred second cousin who wears daisy dukes and drinks orange soda for breakfast.
I stumble upon the Tacoma Mall Starbucks on a Saturday with friends. Naturally, a Venti Caramel Frappuccino is ordered. I quickly realize that the $5.00 Mom allocated for lunch at the food court is much more wisely spent on 20 ounces of frozen, sugary status in a cup! (Little did I know my drink had just as many calories as the fish and chips I was planning on ordering in the first place.)
After five minutes of slurping, my head feels as if it’s blinking. I assume it’s from the caffeine, but don’t really care as the green logo on my cup makes me look like I’m the newest member of Destiny’s Child.
Alright…maybe that’s a bit of a stretch.
Still, the Frappuccino quickly becomes my mall indulgence of choice. On the days when I don’t have the cash, I simply order a big ol’ water, purely so I can be seen with the logo printed cup.
Destiny’s Child, here I come.
The college years. Believe it or not, I actually made it through undergrad without coffee.
Trust me…I’m as shocked as you are.
Graduate school. The occasional trip to the Starbucks across from campus is made. Luckily, I’ve graduated to dirty chai lattes at this point. (Latte with a splash of chai tea. It’s still one of my favorite treats.)
Scott and I return to the land of milk and
honey espresso. You may know it as Seattle. As luck would have it, there’s a Starbucks across the street from our condo. Not to mention seven other coffee shops, all of which are incredibly delicious and swanky looking. While working from home, my two drinks a day habit begins. The following beverages plan an integral role in my day-to-day rotation:
- Skinny Caramel Macchiato* (when I’m being “good”)
- Salted Caramel Mocha (when I’m being “bad”)
- Soy Cappuccino (when I’m attempting to cut out dairy)
- Skinny Coffee Frappuccino (an update from my mall rat days that has less sugar and calories)
- Pumpkin Spice Latte (when I’m feeling festive)
- Lemon Loaf and/or Apple Fritter (I know it’s not technically coffee…but they’re so good, I felt they deserved and honorable mention.)
*Yes…I capitalize the name of my coffee drinks. They are that important.
I begin a new job that requires commuting to an actual office. Obviously, my daily ritual of stopping at Starbucks on the way in is absolutely vital to my happiness and productivity. Add to this the weekly Starbucks runs with coworkers, and things begin to spiral out of control. To make matters worse, I get hired to teach Turbo Kick and Boot Camp at the Starbuck’s Corporate Headquarters “Java Gym” for employees. Like a moth to the flame, I go to desperate measures to feed my addiction before and after classes.
Translation? 2010 was the year I spent an estimated $1,400 at Starbies.
(It’s way easier to do than one might assume.)
Scott and I relocate to ‘Sota.
To a town with no Starbucks.
You can read about my green mermaid withdrawals here, here and here.
While Smalltown has since acquired a Stargetbucks, I rarely ever go there. Truth be told, I actually prefer Caribou Coffee or Dunn Brothers. Even then, it’s pretty rare that I choose to caffeinate at an actual coffee shop. Turns out that when you work from home and aren’t in walking distances of overpriced lattes, leaving the house for coffee is more of a chore than a treat. Now that I have my trusty Keurig, making coffee myself is the highlight of my morning.
Sure, I still hit up Starbies or Caribou from time to time…but it’s usually when I’m on a road trip or at the airport. And forget about lattes…I now take my java black and strong. An Americano or drip coffee suits me just fine. Perhaps the cold Minnesota winter was responsible for this change in palette? Or maybe I’m just slowly morphing into my Grandma Margaret? (Minus the foam rollers, of course.)
Katrina’s new rules of coffee:
- The darker the better. Blonde roast? No thanks.
- Always with a splash of cream. Not whole milk, soy, or almond milk. Good old cream. You only live once, right?
- Two cups every morning. No more, no less.
- I grind whole bean coffee (Starbucks Caffe Verona is my current fave) myself in our Blendtec. It grinds the beans finer, so I end up using less coffee per cup.
- I save my cash (and the environment) by putting my grinds in these Cafe Cup Reusable Single Cup Pods. They were a gift from my mother-in-law last Christmas, and work so much better than the more expensive Keurig version. I think she got them at the dollar store.
It’s amazing what time can do for one’s coffee preferences. A good friend of mine–who happens to manage a Starbucks–swears he can tell so much about a person by their drink order. I’m not quite sure what my Venti Americano with a splash of cream says about me…but I’m secretly hoping it involves Destiny’s Child.
What’s your favorite drink? And do you make coffee at home? Or hit up a fave coffee spot everyday? If anyone’s in the market for a Keurig, I’ve been the proud owner of this model for nearly a year and am completely smitten.
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