“Hi. I’ll take a tall Sumatra bold blend, heavy on the Half and Half, and two Equals.”
I need to come clean on something. For the past eight weeks,* I’ve been having a sordid, darkly roasted affair with my local Starbucks drive-thru. When we meet each Monday, it uses its sexy Barry White voice to lure me into its latest promotion: a free pound of coffee beans in exchange for trying all eight of its distinct, delicious bold blends—one per week. I’ve just ordered my last cup, the official end of the affair. There’s nothing to do now but take home my pound and admit my caffeine-infused transgressions to my coffee connoisseur husband, GB.
The barista is waiting at the window.
“This is my eighth cup!” I announce.
“Oh!” he exclaims. Because he knows! Big day!
“What blend would you like?” he asks.
“Surprise me,” I say with a wink.
“There’s a present for you on the counter…” I call from the kitchen. G drops his laptop bag by the door and walks up the steps from the living room. He spies the pound and exhales with an appreciative “Ahhhh.”
“I know!” I say, because I DO know! Liquid energy is a big freaking deal!
“That’s a lot of beans,” he says, his voice trailing off…
I notice his strange look as he surveys the beans. Then he nods to himself. If he were a comic book character, there’d be a cartoon light bulb over his head.
Later that night, he spends 30 minutes browsing the interwebz for a pimped out grinder and French press.
“Wait, stop,” you say. “How does this tie into your blog’s ‘year of firsts’ theme?” I was afraid you’d ask that. This could be potentially damaging. (Deep breath.)
I’ve never had a French pressed cup of coffee.
I know, I know. For all of my grand posturing and sincere professions of Starbucks love, I’m actually a tea drinker at heart. However, I’m also a sleep-deprived mother with a recently acquired caffeine problem, and like any junkie, I know a good hit when I see one. I don’t care where it comes from or how it was made. Just give me the goods, I’ll hand you the cash, and we’ll both pretend we were never here.
Oh sure, gasp at me you coffee snobs! Well, try this one on: I’ll bet you put lemon in your black tea because you don’t know any better. Right? Huh? So I guess we all have our caffeine-related skeletons, don’t we?
G demonstrates the proper way to use the grinder and French press while our boys observe in wide-eyed silence. He flips the grinder switch to the “on” position, and the grounds go everywhere—the counter, the floor, the boys’ hair… I look up from typing this blog post long enough to say, “He who makes the mess, cleans the mess, GB.” (It’s always nice when one of my axioms pays off in my favor.)
His next attempt is successful. He transfers the beans to the press, tops them with steaming water, waits five minutes, and (after much dramatic flourish) presses the water through the filter.
He pours the goods; I doctor them with cream and sugar. After clinking our mugs together, we take a sip.
“Wow.” he says. I love the look on his face. Suddenly, he’s a man without worries, a day’s worth of stress magically erased. He looks the way I feel when I peruse the classic fiction section of Barnes and Noble, or I’m thinking about taking a nap.
“That’s good $#!t!” I say, because I love me some junkie vernacular.
The truth: I can’t tell the difference between French press and the traditional method. I could pretend I can, but I can’t. I could Google “brewing gourmet coffee” and plagiarise some geek’s rant on the importance of finely grinding your premium beans and steeping them in the right temperature and blah, blah, blah…(Snoozetown).
Instead, I’ll tell you that this is one of my favorite cups of coffee ever because of G’s unabashed contentment and the fact he has had five stress-free minutes today. I like seeing him happy. That’s what counts with me.
(That, and the Half and Half.)
* I wrote this post the first week of May but am just publishing it today. So. If you go to Starbucks expecting the Bold a Week promotion, you won’t find it. Instead, you’ll find some other insanely great promotion to lure you too into the affair. (Something like Frappuccino Happy Hour!!! But I’ve said too much…)
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