It has been said that there are two things even friends shouldn’t discuss; religion and politics. I would like to propose a third…coffee.
Coffee is the probably the world’s most acceptable drug and is available to anybody who wants it, even if they are self-proclaimed addicts. Baristas, uniformed teens and crotchety old waitresses alike have license to brew and dose and distribute the goods to any caffiend, day or night. The unword dictionary (www.unwords.com) defines a caffiend as follows:
1. (n.) One who is obsessed with consuming caffeine. Often surpasses caffeinatics in quantities of caffeine in the blood stream and in level of addiction.
I have witnessed many passionate arguments about coffee among caffiends. It seems a large proportion of the population pledges allegiance to a certain consumption camp and there is very little tolerance for those who subscribe to a different philosophy.
The Tim Horton’s caffiend (THC) is the lowest on the totem pole among coffee consuming peers. They are drawn to the functional aspect of the beverage and seemingly sacrifice richness and taste for convenience and the ability to win a barbeque or a car twice a year. Terminology includes” Large Double Double”. They justify their habit by stressing that they pay less then two dollars for a coffee they need two hands to carry and that they can get a sour cream glazed donut or a yogurt parfait at the same time.
The Starbucks caffiend (SBC) is the mortal enemy of the group above. Seen a pretentious and snobby by the THC, they are often identified by Lululemon yoga pants, sandals or laptops. The terminology is more advanced and expansive with terms such as “Grande extra hot no foam unsweetened decaf mocha with room for dairy for Jenifer with one n”. They react to trends such as matcha powder and green coffee extract and couple it with cake pops or butter chicken wraps. Their justification is you get what you pay for and drinking Starbucks is just more morally and socially responsible. They also think the emblem isn’t creepy.
The independent coffeehouse caffiend (ICC) is a smaller but loyal group. Entry into this group simply involves ignoring the 5 Starbucks (with an optional eye roll) you pass on the way to a quirky establishment. Not fond of Timbucktoos (my term used to describe those who frequent Tim Horton’s or Starbucks), they think the clean spoon/dirty spoon bins are good for the environment and often ask for fair trade coffee and agave nectar although they don’t know what either one is. They are not as concerned about the food available since they are “there for the coffee”; although a locally sourced sandwich may convince them otherwise.
Sit three guys at a Tim’s and bring up SBCs (or the weather) and an immediate brotherhood is formed. Meanwhile, at Starbucks the mere mention of the fact that Tim Horton’s coffee tastes like an ashtray unite old and young together some lemon poppy seed cake or samples of the cookies and cream frappuccino. Meanwhile, the ICCs sit oblivious to the world around them in mismatched chairs and admire the melancholic art on the wall while serenaded by an acoustic guitar. Mix these crowds, however, and you ignite fireworks similar to that of a Catholic vs Protestant or Democrat vs Republican. I would expect the coffee to fly if I wasn’t for the fact that it is..well….coffee.
I suppose I’m an ICC but I prefer to not judge others. I think coffee is under appreciated, I don’t need room for dairy and I do enjoy the uniqueness of stand alone coffee shops. I have learned more from them than I ever have from a Starbucks or Timmy’s (see my Te Aro blog post…..coming soon). So lets all get along, sip our brew and make fun of those who don’t drink coffee at all. A good friend of mine once said to me “Why would I take a perfectly good glass of water and run it through dirt?” Those are fighting words, buddy.