Your barista better be ready for a Spanish Inquisition-level interrogation when you walk up to the counter because you need to know about the origin of the beans, how they were harvested, and when they were roasted before you can place your order. You will also need to have several serving options, and these options cannot include drip coffee because everyone knows this is not the optimal way to experience coffee. There’s no Chemex available? You’re out. Catch sight of flavored syrups? Gone. You’d rather pass on coffee for the day than settle for some hazelnut-flavored sludge that’s been sitting in a pot for hours. If the choices manage to meet your standards and you actually order something, you will inspect (and comment on) the barista’s technique during the breaks in your intense conversation with the owner about the last time he was at the finca in Colombia.
You are most likely studying at an expensive liberal arts school that your parents are paying for, yet somehow you are still broke all the time. It’s not your fault that they raised the price of PBR or that things at the vintage store cost so much! You’ll tip the barista next time, but this time you’ll order a black coffee and install yourself at your favorite table, the one by the outlet with the little lamp on top. You’ll sip your coffee slowly, even after it has gone cold, while you furiously type out a ten-page paper that is most likely a critique on something (literature, political theory, society in general). During your 4-6 hour stay you will only pause to glance shyly at an attractive member of the opposite sex who is sitting across the room or to order exactly one refill on your coffee. You frequently refer to this coffee shop as “an extension of your living room” and imagine that your relationship with the barista is more significant than it actually is.
In college you spent a year studying abroad in Italy and traveled to Paris, Amsterdam, and Berlin, so you’re pretty much an expert on European coffee habits. You won’t touch “American coffee” with a ten foot pole because it just too watery. You need something strong, like a double espresso, which you always drink in no more than three sips while standing at the counter. If your order doesn’t come with a Biscoff cookie on the side you seriously question the café’s credibility, and if they serve it in a to-go cup you will never return. Sometimes if you’re feeling whimsical you’ll order a latte (made with whole milk, of course) and sit at small table outside so you can smoke and read the daily paper, but mostly you just have time for an espresso before you hop on your motor scooter and go to work.
Grande-skinny-one-pump-vanilla-latte-extra-hot. With whipped cream. This is *your* drink, and you think of your twice-daily stops at Starbucks as religious experiences. You *need* these trips because they are about so much more than coffee. Your Starbucks cup is an accessory to your life, and most of your outfits will not be complete without it. Neither would your Instagram because what would you put on the table next to your sunglasses and your plate of pastel macaroons? And everyone knows that coffee tastes best in a travel cup with your name on it. It just does. What are those mug-like things you see people drinking out of sometimes? And what is that dark liquid inside? The next DSM should come out with a specific brand of anxiety associated with your not being able to locate a Starbucks and call it I CAN’T EVEN because if there isn’t one nearby when you need *your* drink, people need to just NOT EVEN START.
Screw coffee shops and single-origin beans and Frappuccinos. You know the truth about coffee, which is that it is best consumed at a diner that serves breakfast all day (and night) and still lets you smoke inside. If you’re alone, you’ll read a tattered copy of Bukowski while nursing a mug full of coffee WITH cream and sugar because #fuck #society. It tastes good. If you’re with friends, they will all be clad to some degree in flannel or torn denim and will probably be using coffee and classic Americana food to come down from the Xanax they ingested at the drone rock show. You’re also a fan of gas station coffee, the kind you get for 99 cents at some forsaken outpost in a town that exists solely because it lies halfway between Chicago and Omaha. You sip the Black Tar blend as you pull out of the dusty parking lot and think about how bougie everyone else is.
For you, coffee isn’t necessarily about the taste, it’s about the experience—or the ritual, if you will. When you were backpacking through Thailand/India/Argentina you learned from the natives about the different methods of preparing coffee and about the significance that goes along with preparation. Brewing coffee in a drip machine and getting endless refills is the worst way to do it because there is no mindfulness involved, and everyone knows that mindfulness is the key to true happiness and longevity. Well, everyone who has been to that one small village in Japan where they really know how to live. Another coffee-related sin is consuming it by yourself. Drinking coffee should be about community and should be done in the presence of friends and family so there can be conversation. You pity everyone you see slurping from to-go cups as they rush to their 9-5 jobs.
You NEED coffee to function, and you don’t let anyone forget that. Coworkers, roommates, and store clerks know not to talk to you before you’ve had your coffee, and this is mostly because you tell them this before laughing maniacally and informing them that you are off to get your “fix”. You also often talk about “mainlining” coffee or how you wish you could get it in intravenous form. One of your favorite pastimes is posting coffee-related e-cards on social media and waiting for your friends to like them because of how accurate and relatable they are. If anyone scolds you for not working you can just tell them that it’s because you haven’t had your second cup yet.