(Star)buck it or not?

I’m not a big fan of Starbucks. I know, I represent 1% of the country.

For example, I like chocolate. Therefore, it would stand to reason that I would like a mocha. But I don’t taste chocolate when I have a mocha from Starbucks. Or take their cinnamon swirl coffee cake. It aftertaste seems gritty to me, kind of like cornmeal. Maybe I am just used to mom’s coffee cake.

But the kicker was this past week.

On Friday’s, my “treat” is a McDonald’s non-fat caramel mocha and a sausage breakfast burrito. I know, I know. McDonald’s doesn’t really give you that “coffee house” impression, but I like it and I don’t eat out a lot, so this is the thing that I look forward to during the week. However, on this particular morning, the nice McDonald’s speaker told me their mocha machine was broken. Grr.

I told them to cancel my order and noticed the (usually ignored) Starbucks across the street. Thinking I would give them another chance, I zoomed across the road and got in the six car deep line.

After waiting almost six minutes, I finally got to the speaker. I told them I would like a small, non-fat caramel mocha. Apparently I don’t know barista-ese.

“Okay,” the man said, “here we call that a skinny caramel latte.” He said it kind of condescendingly, even though I don’t sense that he meant to.

“Okay, then I’ll have that.”


“Did you want mocha in that?” he asked. I guess I didn’t realize mocha was a single ingredient that could be added to any random drink.

So, feeling like a I’m driving through the line of barista-shame, I slowly edged my way up to the window, received my “skinny caramel latte” and headed to work.

For those of you who are curious, I got a little coffee schooling from a cousin of mine:

It all starts with espresso.
steamed milk = latte
steamed milk, chocolate = mocha
milk froth = macchiato
hot water = Americano

So know you’ll know what to order if you’re not a Starbucks regular.