Sunday, April 29, 2007

Café Haiku 02

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Café Haiku 01

Large no-fun latt
Decaf sugar-free non-fat
Drink up soccer moms

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

McMuffin or Venti Latte? Now Both!

The New York Times ran an article Wednesday in their "Dining Out" section entitled "The Breakfast Wars," by Julia Moskin. It is the almighty breakfast sandwich that is up for grabs. McDonald's Egg McMuffin has been the supreme a.m. artery clogger for the past three decades and now Starbucks wants to step up and do its part for American heart disease. Equipped with newly installed convection-microwaves (which at long last bring together the hazards of third degree burns and microwave induced sterility) Starbucks will be able to quickly heat and crisp-up frozen breakfast sandwiches for customers on the spot. This is not to say the McMuffin is an example of culinary freshness, and I am quite confident both will have equally gooey cheese and tasteless eggs.

But Starbucks has good reason to reevaluate their breakfast offerings. We've all been behind that guy in line who asks about how the fat-free scone tastes and then we cringe at the half-hearted endorsement the barista offers. Fast forward two minutes. We watch the disgruntled yuppie return with nibbled scone in hand to complain: "This is totally dried out! It's, like, hard as a rock!" What to you expect from a fat-free scone that has been sitting under lights for a questionable number of hours? A scone without any fat, and therefore no butter, is doomed to be a sugared crouton.

If any of you are curious about the lives of Starbucks pastries, be warned. It is often a sad tale. Yes, they do indeed come in "fresh" every morning. Sure, there are the perennial favorites - your cinnamon chip scones and marble loaf, as well as your seasonal offerings - your cranberry bliss bar and pumpkin muffin. What about all those other pastries in that case you always consider? Like the cinnamon roll, with it's intimidatingly bulbous body? Or what about the low-fat muffin section? How about you try a cinnamon chip loaf?

Are you at all familiar with the
Island of Misfit Toys from the beloved holiday classic "Rudolf, the Red-Nosed Reindeer?" Well, the scene in the pastry case is similar except as far as I know the pastries are far less anthropomorphic and far more hydrogenated. The life of an uneaten pastry is a daily routine. They are initially delivered the night before or the morning of their doom. In the half-hour before opening the store they are carefully removed by gloved hands and arranged on slab trays with toe tags signs before going into the morgue pasty case. There they sit watching commuters, soccer moms, truant tweens, petulant teens, and college burnouts flow past the plexiglass before their own bodies are processed for decomposition.

From there, their suffering can end in one of two ways. Option one starts in a translucent garbage bag in the back of the store and ends in a landfill as a pastry laden time capsule. Option two leaves the store in those handled gift bags and goes home with an employee where the pastries either are devoured by families enjoying freebies or friends suffering from munchies, or, worst yet, are left to languish in their paper bag coffins in the back seats of Volkswagens and Toyotas, forced to make the commute every day to and from Starbucks until an over zealous gas station attendant removes the rotten food.

So please, do your part. Adopt a scone.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Mission Statement:

This blog is a space for the overheard, the openly shared, and the anonymously gathered drama of the observed human condition that percolates throughout the thousands of cafés, bistros, hash houses, tearooms, and bastions of caffeine connoisseurs that speckle our globe. Coffee culture is our business, and in a coffee shop everyone's drama is our cup of, uh, tea?

This blog is NOT a space for the ranting and ravings of the anti-establishment individuals who think the rise of corporate coffee embodies all that is wrong with American capitalism and global hegemony. Take those thoughts, which I’m sure you have carefully punctuated with a quad-venti quantity of expletives, to such fine fora that a simple Googling will yield.

As such, swing by your coffee shop of choice, order up your favorite Arabica variation, listen intently to the goings on around you, log on, and report. If you’d like to contribute please send an e-mail to:

“The powers of a man’s mind are directly proportional to the quantity of coffee he drinks.” - Sir James MacKintosh (1765-1832)