I am definitely one of those “but first, coffee” people but I wasn’t always this way.
When boyfriend and I first met (over 3 years ago now), we would go out to eat all the time (okay, maybe every single day). Our favorite restaurants in Minnesota were the Vietnamese ones.
When I was little, my family would frequent Vietnamese restaurants, too (that’s how I knew the good spots to introduce to boyfriend). My dad always ordered the Vietnamese coffee. They would always bring the delicious smelling french press looking thing that dripped hot coffee into a mug with condensed milk at the bottom of it and a side of a glass of ice to pour it over when it was finished dripping all of the dark, hot liquid. I always wanted to taste it, the aroma always filled my nostrils; I’d be drooling…but my parents always told me, “no coffee for kids.”
As I grew up, I was able to get sips of my dad’s coffee from time to time. My dad likes his coffee extra sweet. If not with a ton of condensed milk, he’ll add a lot of sugar and flavored creamer. I loved it when I was younger.
Boyfriend and I were eating at a Vietnamese restaurant before I had to head to work one night, 3 years ago and I decided to order the coffee with condensed milk. Just like my dad used to get. I was so excited.
Not only was it delicious but I realized I had a different and extra kind of energy that night at work. I realized it must have been because of the coffee!
We didn’t want Vietnamese food everyday and we thought it would be weird if we went to restaurants just for the coffee but I knew that I wanted that jolt at work every night from now on!
I read that coffee shops have the best coffee and Cafe Latte was a popular one in St. Paul, MN. It wasn’t far from where we lived at the time. So our exploration of different flavors and styles of coffee started there…
I liked Iced Raspberry Mochas at first. I learned how much my tummy hurt and that it was from the whole milk they use in lattes–this is where I learned to sub almond or soy milk into my coffee.
We realized that we weren’t getting the same sort of jolt anymore so we started to get an extra shot of espresso. The baristas had trouble with the extra shot or two of espresso we would order. Our Iced Mochas were never the same.
When we ordered hot drinks, they were able to make those with ease but if we asked for them iced–they all seemed to panic and give us warm, over-filled cups of latte ingredients.
I changed my drink to a Hot Nutella Latte with Almond Milk and two extra shots of espresso. I liked this for a little while but I really wanted my iced coffee back.
We researched for a different coffee shop we could go to and found this adorable little spot called Amore Coffee. This is where I discovered the delicious Miel. If you’ve never heard of that; it’s a latte with cinnamon and honey. I loved it and they were able to make our drinks; iced and with our extra shots of espresso, easily. We loved them there. I ordered the Iced Miel with 4 shots of espresso (and almond milk) everyday up until we moved to Las Vegas, NV.
At Amore Coffee, their shots of espresso came out automatically as 2 shots of espresso so when we asked for an extra shot we were automatically getting 4.
Here in Vegas, we tried to find cute, small cafes like that but every place we found just could not make our iced drinks correctly (or the way we like, whatever, same thing 😉) and there are actually not too many around here to choose from.
We resorted to Starbucks. They could make anything, right? Wrong. And all of their flavors are boring. Vanilla, caramel, mocha, or white mocha? Blah. Or something “special” that’s overly sweet…no thanks. I ordered Iced Mochas with 4 shots of espresso and almond milk in the smallest cup because I didn’t want so much milk to drink. I always enunciated the fact that I wanted it all in the smallest cup but they’d always tell me they couldn’t fit all of the contents. I’d tell them cut all of the ingredients if you have to but not the espresso! It seemed none of them understood this. They’d make the drink with all the milk and chocolate it called for with 4 shots of espresso and then waste whatever was leftover that didn’t make it into the tall cup??
I would have to tell them: “do half the amount of mocha and just a tiny splash of almond milk.” At the Fashion Show Mall’s Starbucks, we ordered our usual drinks. I ordered it like this: “the Iced Mocha with 4 shots of espresso total, over ice, half the amount of mocha, a splash of almond milk, all in a tall cup” the Angel of a barista informed me, “you know, you should just order it it like this: 4 shots of espresso with a splash of almond milk and a pump of mocha in a tall.” This cut the price in half!!!
I still thank her in my head almost every time I hear the total of our order now.
For some reason, some baristas still had trouble with our order. We ended up taking out the milk in our drinks completely and asking for half a pump of mocha (we learned they use the term “pumps” because of the order sticker on the cups).
Sometimes, they still add the called-for amount of mocha in our cups which I think is 2 full pumps in a tall. It is then too sweet and I usually return it and ask for a new one with less chocolate, please.
When I was going to Cafe Latte and Amore Coffee, I would never stray. If there was a coffee shop that was more convenient to go to, for whatever reason, I’d still say “nope, I must go to Amore.“ (Or “I must go to Cafe Latte”…you know what I mean.)
Now, it can be anywhere at all that has espresso and chocolate. I do prefer Starbucks though and I won’t go anywhere that uses powdered ingredients. It’s weird but a lot of places use powdered coffee, espresso, and flavors…watch them when they make your drink. Sometimes you can even taste the powder.
Am I a coffee snob? Or are you very picky about how you like your coffee, too? How did you decide how you like your coffee? Do you have a regular order or do you try something different on the menu each time? Do you go to one special coffee shop only?