In an office environment, there is always something to complain about. It could be that boss who has been in management so long they have lost all touch with reality. It could be that coworker’s insistence on having a mid-afternoon snack break followed by the mid-afternoon experiencing of terrible Frito breath. It could be any number of technical issues.
For my office, one of the biggest complaints is the coffee.
If you were to listen to my coworkers, you would be led to believe that the free coffee served to us daily was created by Satan himself in some effort to destroy humanity and launch a new branch of Hell here on the Earth. The truth is it isn’t great coffee. For bad coffee, though, it’s okay. For me, the fact that it is free and contains caffeine is enough for me to love it. I’ve never understood the complaints.
I was talking to a coworker the other day when, yet again, the coffee was brought up.
“I really need coffee,” he mumbled, his posture demonstrating that at any moment we could expect to look over and find him face down on his keyboard.
“There’s coffee in there,” I said. I like to solve problems and I thought I had done so quite well. It seemed like a real softball of a problem. You need coffee, then go get some. BAM! Problem solved.
Apparently, that is not the case.
“I can’t STAND that coffee!” He said. His voice led me to believe that not only had I apparently not solved his problem, but I had somehow directly insulted him in the process. “I only like Starbucks’ coffee.”
I rolled my eyes. The he began to describe his order. It is a blended drink full of chocolate syrups and whipped cream that tastes just like a s’more. That’s when it dawned on me. He didn’t dislike our coffee. He disliked all coffee in the world. When he said he wanted coffee, he meant a lightly coffee flavored milkshake.
He didn’t want coffee. He wanted a coffeeish drink.
In the recent past, I have heard far too many people refer to these things as coffee. They are not. It’s time to draw a line in the sand on what is coffee and what is coffeeish.
For starters, if it contains one shot of espresso with a quart of milk and enough chocolate to put a diabetic in a coma just for looking at it, you do not get to call it coffee. In fact, I would say you don’t get to call it coffee if there is more milk than coffee in any way. If a child would look at what you are slurping through your straw and ask for a drink because they thought it was a delicious desserty beverage, it is not coffee.
Coffee can only be served in four ways: black, with cream, with sugar, or with cream and sugar. You can, if so inclined, substitute artificial sweeteners for sugar if you feel that you would like to maintain your girlish figure in exchange for becoming a walking tumor later in life, but that is up to you.
I’m sure this makes it seem like I am a coffee purist. The truth is I’m not. Sure, I drink black coffee, but I like a pumpkin spice latte just as much as the next guy. It’s delicious and makes me feel all warm inside. I’m even one to get a Chai latte at a coffee shop. THAT’S NOT COFFEE AT ALL!
I just think it’s high time we own up to our feelings about coffee. If you don’t like coffee, I won’t judge you. I might even join you in a coffeeish beverage. I mean, who could argue with a drink that tastes like s’mores?
I guess in the future, people should say “I really need a coffee-related beverage that is very low in coffee but high on sugar and milk to the point that you forget it contains any coffee at all.” Is that really asking too much?