Since three years of age, I have desired to be a coffee drinker. My mom is addicted to the stuff; she drinks it black, and I grew up watching her relax as she sipped away at a steamy cup of liquid heaven. The smell, too, entices me so. It smells like sophistication and laid-back happiness.

My earliest attempt at coffee came one morning when I was four. Mom allowed me to take a sip out of her cup after it had cooled sufficiently. Excitedly I slurped it into my mouth and held it. The acrid taste shocked my poor little tongue, and I automatically opened my mouth to let the liquid escape. It cascaded down the front of my nightgown, and Mom decided that she would not be giving me any more sips from her cup even though I begged often.

Over the years, I have attempted a few other times to drink coffee or any variation thereof. In high school, a friend recommended adding a half cup to our hot cocoa, and I enthusiastically agreed. At last, a coffee concoction that would stay in my mouth, I thought excitedly. The first sip quickly informed my tastebuds that this was not an option for me, and I sadly gave the rest of my chocolate coffee to my friend.

Once, in college, I dumped enough milk and sugar into a coffee cup to rival General Mills' entire sugary cereal division, and I couldn't even swallow the first sip. (It wasn't because of the milk and sugar, either.)

So you can imagine my skepticism when earlier this summer, Melody said, "Here try some of this; you'll love it," and thrust a Smokey Row cup of Sweet Georgia Brown towards me. I inhaled wistfully before reminding her of my coffee-challenged taste buds. "But this has brown sugar, honey and steamed milk in it," she replied. Hope poked a tiny hole in my cloud of skepticism, and I tentatively lifted the styrofoam cup to my lips. My tongue depicted a hint of the acrid espresso but welcomingly embraced the brown sugar, honey and milk. The two flavors danced tastefully on my tongue before my throat opened. I had officially swallowed my first mouthful of coffee! I carefully tasted three more sips before handing the drink back to Melody. With a face of delight and a voice of awe I told her, "I liked it! I really liked it!"

However, four days later, when Mel surprised me with my own cup of Sweet Georgia Brown, I knew after the second sip that my mouth would no longer cooperate. The acrid espresso dominated the drink, and it was too much for my wimpy tastebuds. Sadly, I poured the aromatic remaining liquid into the sink and disposed of the cup.

Then last month, Kathy and I explored the small town of Clear Lake, and Kathy insisted on entering a local coffee shop called The Coffee Cabin for her daily caffeine fix. I decided to try once again. I ordered a small, turtle frappaccino and instructed the barrista to give me only half of the normal amount of espresso, while Kathy eagerly informed the woman that she would gladly accept the other half of my espresso in addition to her own. My order arrived complete with chocolate syrup, whipped cream and caramel drizzlings. And it was good! I drank almost the entire glass, wimping out at the end due to a sugar high instead of my normal espresso reasons.

Once back in my own town, I began longing for the air of sophistication that I associate with casually sipping a cup of coffee. Well, that and I had begun craving the mixture of sweet and sharp flavorings and the smell of roasting coffee beans that only a cup of java can supply. So when Craig told me he was making a Smokey Row run and offered to pick something up for me, I immediately ordered an iced Sweet Georgia Brown with half a shot of espresso. (Except I had forgotten the name and called it an Alabama Brown? Lousianna Brown? until he laughed at me.)
He brought the drink back to our office, and I luxuriously pulled sweet draughts of the cool beverage into my mouth. I sucked on it all morning, reveling in the sweet acridity and the incredible aroma.

I've found the secret: lots of steamed milk and only half a shot of espresso. That's how I drink sophistication.
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2 Responses
  1. DeAnn Says:

    Personally, I can't stand coffee, Colin can't either. I actually like the fact that I don't like coffee, it's a part of me that is DIFFERENT. Everyone likes coffee (especially in WA, the land of Star Bucks). If I feel the need for a sophisticated drink, I choose fancy teas.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Ah! Missy, I enjoyed reading this very much! :) I now drink drip coffee (crazy, I know!) but I started out with Caramel Breve Latte. Breve means that it is made with steamed half-and-half instead of steamed milk. Fantastique. The Caramel Breve Latte is still my favorite drink, but I'd rather pay $1.50 for a medium drip than $4.00 for a small breve.

    Also, like the above poster, I enjoy teas quite a bit. I got a kettle for Christmas!

    Coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon/evening. :)

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