complicated cup

Bravekate jComment

There I was, standing in line on a snowy Friday morning - high on life, love and the potential of coffee - when the woman in front of me started her routine: venti half-caff skinny vanilla latte with two pumps of sugar-free vanilla and two extra shots of espresso ... no foam. NO FOAM.

The worker taking the order looked both annoyed and confused, but the woman stood strong - repeating it multiple times, proudly unwavering from the complications of each and every detail. She then shouted over to the barista, whom she knew by name, and said - "I got my drink! Remember - no foam." She was cheerful in her reminder, not unkind, but certainly making her point. 

And I couldn't help but wonder - was the rest of her life just as complicated? 

There's an amazing line about coffee in You've Got Mail, wherein Tom Hanks writes ...

The whole purpose of places like Starbucks is for people with no decision-making ability whatsoever to make six decisions just to buy one cup of coffee. Short, tall, light, dark, caf, decaf, low-fat, non-fat, etc. So people who don’t know what the hell they’re doing or who on earth they are can, for only $2.95, get not just a cup of coffee but an absolutely defining sense of self: Tall. Decaf. Cappuccino.
— Joe Fox

I think of it often when I'm in a coffee line - particularly on days like this - and in that very moment, I couldn't help but get curious about the truth behind our coffee complications.

For years, I was a "skinny cinnamon dolce latte with an extra shot" girl, but as I strode to the counter on this day and ordered my now routine grande flat white, I found it ironic how much simpler my life is now when compared to those early ordering days. 

I have a greater appreciation for quality over quantity, a stronger sense of self, a clarified perspective on my place and purpose. When I think back, I consider the pride I held in knowing "my order" then and the confidence in which I presented it.

I needed that order then. Maybe it was defining my sense of self, or maybe, I just really enjoyed that drink - but either way, it was one of the few things I knew I liked. Then, my job was OK. My marriage was OK. My life was OK. But my coffee? I freakin' loved my coffee. It made me happy - as stupid as that may sound - and I don't regret those lengthy, prideful orders one bit. 

That tongue twister caffeine routine helped me graduate to where I am now, in this place of frequently reminding myself that - for me - sometimes less really can be more.

As for the woman in front of me, she chatted up the barista, waiting and watching carefully as her day was crafted in just the way she expected. She smiled, said thank you, then moved confidently on to wherever it was the world was taking her. Because on that snowy Friday, she had everything she needed in the palm of her hand.