Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Dumping Starbucks for all the Right Reasons

Lately, you may or may not have heard in the news or various social media outlets about a call from folks to boycott Starbucks. This is based upon Starbucks being in favor of same-sex marriage, and a call from those who are against it to boycott Starbucks.

This is not a political blog site, and I won't get into that issue here. HOWEVER, I'm actually in favor of dumping Starbucks based upon a totally different reason: I simply refuse to pay nine bucks for a pretentiously-named cup of coffee, in a size that comes with an equally pretentious name, served by a pretentious hipster FAR cooler than you (in their own opinion) who seems to enjoy saying shit like Venti Triple Half-Caf  Double-Foam Skinny Caramel Hazlenut Macchiato. Not only do they enjoy it, they look down their upturned noses derisively at you if you aren't hip to their "proper" coffee terminology and size names. I also don't want to be surrounded by Cooler-Than-You twatwaffles in corduroy suitcoats live-Tweeting their day on an iPhone 5 while they type their manifesto on a MacBook Pro, leeching free WiFi before their Pilates class.

Whatever happened to A Cup of Coffee?

Personally, I forgo those establishments in favor of the ritual of doing it myself, with style & panache. I like to buy my coffee whole bean and grind it myself. Wait...I'm ahead of myself......hold on...

You can experiment a bit with your coffee. Coffee is like wine; different climates and soil acidity will affect the flavor of the beans, just like it will affect wine grapes. Taste different varietals and see what you prefer. Don't just settle for Maxwell House or Folgers. Those will work in a pinch but are the coffee equivalent of box wine or cheap beer. Try a Sumatran, or a Kenyan AA, or a Costa Rican Peaberry. World Market carries a good selection of coffee, and believe it or not so does Target, and both are reasonably priced too.

Archer Farms is the Target house brand

Good stuff at World Market

Store your coffee in the freezer; it lasts longer.

Now, back to grinding. You can get an inexpensive grinder for about twenty bucks. I use a small spice grinder from Black & Decker. It grinds a perfect amount for how I brew my coffee.

How you brew? Whatever do you mean, Wingman?

I don't use a standard coffee maker, and I don't have one of those snazzy Keurig pod makers either. I use a French Press.

A who?

A French Press is a glass carafe with a plunger/filter lid. You pour your grounds into the carafe, add boiling water, stir, and steep about five minutes before plunging the filter screen down. You're left with pure, delicious coffee, enough for about 3 cups. Average price? Twenty bucks. Cool factor? Priceless.

But what if I want espresso or an exotic coffee drink?

Drop forty bucks on an inexpensive home espresso machine. I'm getting one soon myself. As soon as I do, I'll post an update. 

The irony of this all: for about 18 months after college, I worked in a chain bookstore and learned how to be a barista myself. I didn't fit in. I had no tattoos yet. I only had one piercing, in my ear instead of a lip, eye, nose, nipple, reproductive organ, etc... I was hetero, I had military short hair,  I hated grunge music. The closest I got to fitting in was my Doc Martens. But I digress.

Save your money. Save your sanity. Do it yourself and do it with style.

Who's got your back? I do.