Java. Joe. Brew. Black gold. Battery acid.
We have a lot of words for that highly popular hot, black, bean-based drink: Coffee.
I was always a tea drinker, myself – even after coffee cafés began popping up in bookstores and replacing bars/pubs. But I was increasingly feeling ‘left out’ of the social scene of the 2000s – the coffee house. Comfy chairs, alternative music, a language of its own. I even said to my husband just the other day, “Ya know, I think coffee places are the pubs of the 21st century.” We no longer say, let’s meet for a drink. We now say, let’s meet for a coffee.
Initially I was able to enjoy coffee houses if they had Chai Latte (‘the tea drinker’s coffee’ I call it), but the day that changed everything was when I tried a dark chocolate mocha (heavy on the chocolate). I was hooked! Then cinnamon, vanilla, mocha, peppermint mocha….flavours galore! And whipped cream, too!!
Indeed, coffee has become far more than just a quick hot drink to wake us up and keep us going. The list of offerings take-up an entire wall. Variations are in the hundreds – even thousands! (And if you’re lucky, your barrista is artistic and can do a ‘picture’ in the foam!) The days of choice being strictly between a filtered regular or a filtered decaff are GONE.
In fact, coffee has become a whole social event – a ‘coffee culture’! This new culture even includes its own language – tall, double-shot, skinny latte with 1 pump vanilla and whip, anyone? And yes, sometimes eyes roll if a person doesn’t speak the language, like when the lady in front of me said ‘I just want a small coffee.’ The barrista waited for her to be more specific. A man behind me started to roll his eyes – clearly the lady was a ‘newbie’ to this culture as she did not speak the language or follow the custom of knowing exactly what you want before you get to the server. Luckily the server was very kind and patient and talked her through the options, and I made a joke about how silly it has gotten. In the end, she did get ‘just’ a cup of filtered coffee (though had to accept that it was a special, ‘limited’ roast from some far-away land with hints of this and that).
What do you think? Do you find this new culture and its language fun? Easy? Silly? Confusing?
While I wait for your responses, I will just finish off my tall, skinny latte with cinnamon (no whip) in my special mug. Yeah – I have a special mug. Don’t even get me started on my coffee mug ‘collection’!