ONE of my greatest frustrations in life is my failure to appreciate drinking coffee inside a coffee shop. Unless it’s for some extremely valid reason, such as lack of beer available within a 10-kilometer radius, you’ll never see me inside any of those posh coffee places in town.
I said frustration because I consider myself a coffee drinker. If beer is food, coffee is breakfast. If I look dazed and confused at work in the morning, it means I’ve run out of 3-in-1 at home to soothe my hangover.
So, if I am a legitimate coffee lover, I should welcome any latest craze in the coffee shop business– from giving coffee strange names like cappucesvignariatespressolatte, to the proper way of crossing your legs while sipping cappucesvignariatespressolatte.
And what’s this thing about giving your name to the attendant after you made your order? On one very special occasion caused by lack of beer around, I went to a coffee shop with a friend. After I placed our order, the attendant said, “May I have your name, sir?”
I said, “What?” I was caught off guard. It was the first time a store asked my name in relation to my order. What’s next, I can’t have my drink unless I tell them my best Tito, Vic and Joey movie of all time?
“May I have your name, sir?” the attendant asked again. I said, “Bon Jovi.”
I remember not so long ago when coffee drinking was simple in the metro. You just say black or regular. Coffee didn’t come in different shades and stripes of black and cream. And only beer came cold and frothing.
I developed the coffee habit in elementary, when I had to sleep late and wake up early to prepare for an exam. It stunted my growth, but at least it helped me stay on top of the class. It was one of those instant coffees whose containers we kept as drinking glasses, the same glasses we would find useful when we started drinking beer later in life.
Everyone in town drank coffee, especially in the morning, to start the day and survive it. Drinking coffee was a functional, not recreational, activity. And it was the same coffee everywhere, no matter how it was served.
Now, you can spend an hour at the counter staring at the menu overhead like you’re figuring out cloud formations and still have no idea what animal is steamed milk and sweet vanilla syrup topped with foam, rich espresso and caramel drizzle.
An insider in the city’s coffee business shared a trade secret that these coffee shops buy words from coffeewords.com to use in naming their products to make them sound French, Italian or some language from Mars.
My point is this: An aunt once asked me, “What’s fish cooked in vinegar with crushed garlic, ginger, laurel leaf, peppercorn, small amount of cooking oil, vegetable oil, lard, or pork oil, and pepper or chili?” I said, “No idea.” She said, “Inun-onan.”
What’s inun-onan to do with coffee? Nothing, except that while inun-onan by any other name would taste as delicious because it doesn’t try to sound pretentious, I doubt if there would be any taste of coffee left with all those frothy Martian toppings in your Venti, whatever that size means.
So, pissed by the thought of the good, old coffee-drinking tradition made complicated by corporate language manipulation, you vent your anger at the poor attendant.
You say, “A cup of giuchie giuchie ya ya da da Giuchie giuchie ya ya here Mocha Choca latta ya ya, please.” And while the attendant says, “Sir, I’m afraid we don’t have that,” you look her in the eye and sashay toward the door while singing, “Hey sister, go sister, soul sister, flow sister.”