dear corporate coffee chain: i hate you
dear cari-poo and five-bucks coffee:
unfortunately for me, d.c. has a sub-par coffee culture. unlike austin or new orleans (or seattle or portland or new york or any other civilized city!), d.c. is not dotted with independent coffee shops but rather is dominated by two sellers: starbucks and caribou, or at least it is in the area near my work. fortunately for you, my body is comprised of equal parts caffeine and artificial sweetener, making me a prime target for your product.
my daily coffee is both a splurge and a necessity. as indicated, caffeine is essential to my daily function making me the human equivalent of a walking talking diet coke flavored iced coffee blend; however, its also a splurge. at $4 a day, its my reward for spending the next 10 hours of a beautiful spring day in my windowless office lit only by florescent lights where free-radicals bouncing off my computer screen prematurely age me (i have no idea what a free-radical is, but, this is what the woman who suckered me into buying $150 face lotion told me) and where squinting at my computer screen causes fine lines around my eyes. and dont even get me started on blackberry thumb.
as a corporate chain, the one thing i expect is consistency. however, the only thing consistent about your coffee is that it disappoints. some days your iced coffee is good: slightly sweet with a nutty, chocolaty taste, but most days its either bitter or watery. today's coffee is literally watery since you just poured hot coffee over ice leaving me with four wan ice cubes floating in coffee soup. the one time i branched out and ordered an iced latte, you looked at me completely confused. and clearly you were since you steamed the milk and poured a regular latte over ice, creating an undrinkable watery mess at the low, bargain cost of $4.89. and do i have to mention the time i saw roaches climbing on your garbage cans next to the milk and sugar station? when i brought it to the attention of your staff, i was met with an amused but disinterested look. now, i dont work for the health inspector, but im sure i could find their number.
starbucks is no better. until recently i could at least depend on them to know what my drink was, but now, my normal (iced venti cafe con leche) is met with confused stares. yes, its a silly name and since im not in spain, i feel silly ordering it. and i dont think i should need three languages to order and iced sweetened coffee with milk. however, its your name, not mine. look up barista, its right on your menu!
so, again i say, i hate you, but, because its bad karma to end on a negative note, allow me to point out a few good options:
1) seattle's best: yup, its a chain, but, they get they come correct and their iced coffee never disappoints and needs neither sugar nor milk; its chocolaty yumminess is perfection all on its own.
2) sparky's: makers of the best iced mocha this side of pj's coffee.
3) soho coffee: makers of excellent cafe au laits.
4) the mudhouse: the coffee is all organic, fair trade, and the lattes are cheaper than starbucks. not to mention the honey vanilla latte is awesome and made with real vanilla and honey, not some pre-made powder concoction of who knows what.
honorable mention: juan valdez, fosters brothers