Pumpkin Spice Latte. White Chocolate Mocha. Extra whipped cream. Caramel drizzle. My name, scribbled with a fat marker. Spelled wrong. And I’m just asking – where’s my coffee?
It seems as though what used to be an energising, flavoursome drink in itself, has now become a base for milky, sugary liquid desserts, so they can keep the word ‘latte’ in them.
I want to be able to taste the freshly ground beans, the bitterness, the godsend caffeine waking up my veins; not the sickly sweet syrup, stirred in a beverage that changes ‘having milk in your coffee’ to ‘having gnat’s piss in your milk’.
Apart from the non-existing taste, my coffee drinking ritual is also ruined. There are no 1-person tables, where I could hide and enjoy the overpriced brew I just purchased in my own peace and quiet. Everyone is rushing, shouting and frantically glancing at their watches.
The emerald green mermaid looks at me pityingly from the side of my cup, as I am pushed towards the doors by a queuing multitude of stressed out businesswomen and thirteen year olds who don’t even know what ‘venti’ means. Instead of having a moment of bliss and calm in a quiet café, sinking into one of those rustic armchairs, I am back on the street, splashing the drink all over me when trying to master walking and sipping at the same time.
With the phenomenon of taking everything ‘to go’ from those chains who-are-not-to-be-named, independent cafés are on the verge of extinction, only supported by hipsters and those few individuals whose souls have not been papercupped yet.
And me, as I naturally fall in both of these categories.
In our fast-paced daily lives, we are in such a rush that having a cup of actual coffee in an actual café is virtually a Utopian image. Having no time for even the slightest bit of comfort makes us order, check emails, drink, run and catch the bus all in the same split second.
But you know what? Life can wait for 30 minutes.
Tomorrow, pick a nice secluded venue, where you can smell the freshness of ground coffee and not just the odour of rush and stress, forming circles on your crisp blue shirt.
Order a cappuccino and sip it through the thick, frothy milk that leaves a white moustache on your top lip. Order a flat white, if you like don’t like moustaches. Order a black espresso if your soul is black that morning– it will brighten it up sooner than you think.
Sit down. Let your mind slowly wake up; help it by reading a book or a magazine. Don’t just flick through news websites – the world can wait too. Get a slice of homemade cake and try not to devour it in three bites like you usually would with a Tesco meal deal sandwich. Or try actually talking to people – share that peaceful moment with someone else.
Experiment, and you will see that there is more to coffee than just a necessary dose of sugar and caffeine before a long day you have ahead of you. Don’t surrender under the common violation of this relaxing custom. Instead, let go of the paper cup. It might have your name on it, but it makes you an anonymous white lid, floating in the sea of miserable clones.