Mixing up my caffeine

One of the odd little habits I picked up when I first got my own place was to drink tea without cream or milk. I drink a lot of tea, and I used to love it light and creamy, but keeping a supply of fresh dairy products on hand became problematic. When it came time to mix in my sweetener, I would use a spoon and then wash it immediately. This got old after a while, and I decided it would be much more efficient to just put the sweetener in the cup before pouring my tea.

I’ve since carried over this little idiosyncrasy to coffee, which I still can’t bring myself to drink without milk. I get my cup, fill it with sweetener and milk, and then pour in the coffee. It ends up perfectly mixed, without having to dirty a spoon or waste a disposable stirrer. My problem lately has been that coffee shops seem determined to prevent me from doing this.

Starbucks baristas look at me funny when I ask for an empty cup, then come back a few seconds later and ask for a coffee in the cup they just gave me. Far be it for me to break the mold they expect of their customers. Lately I cart around my thermos, fill it with milk and sweetener before standing in line, and then ask them to top me off with a tall coffee. Granted I’ll occasionally have my plans foiled by a barista rinsing out my thermos beforehand, but usually they’re nice enough to ask first.

Other places will have those assembly lines with multiple tanks of brewed coffee laid out, where they expect you to go cup → coffee → condiment bar → cashier, or more often cup → coffee → cashier → condiment bar. I hop between stations while the cashier gives me suspicious glares. I hate to break up an assembly line, but its not my fault if their system isn’t efficient enough… is it?

Update 09/2011

Will wonders never cease, I’ve learned to drink coffee without sweetener. Really good coffee, a step or two above Starbucks, though I do let them cut it with a little cream.

One Response to “Mixing up my caffeine”

  1. I totally hear you. I know just how I like my coffee, especially from a place like Starbucks or Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. I am a fan of the latte, especially flavored ones, like mocha or vanilla. When making lattes at home, I tend to put the sweetener in the milk before steaming it so that when I dump in the espresso, it is already mixed. They do not like to do this at coffee shops I frequent.

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