Monday, January 31, 2011

COFFEE, TEA, OR . . . GEE WHIZ! How do I decide?



by Kate Collins

My daughter came to visit me recently. She’s a huge fan of Starbucks, so one of our daily outings was to the local branch to get her a grande red eye in a venti cup with a cold soy topper or a dopio soy espresso machiatto. I think that’s what she asked for, but don’t quote me on it.

Going with her was quite a learning experience. On our first trip she ordered her uber-sophisticated coffee then turned to me and said, “What do you want, Mom?”

So there I stood like I’d just come out of a twenty-year coma, staring at all the choices on the board on the wall.

“Mom?” my daughter urged. “Hello?”

I could feel the eyes of everyone in line behind us burning holes in the back of my head.

“Coffee!” I blurted, feeling instantly relieved.

“Just plain coffee?” my Chicago-wise child asked, casting apologetic glances at the customers in line.

Hey, it’s not like I don’t know a good cup of coffee when I taste one. I’ve been to Paris, Rome, Athens . . . I know what genuine gourmet espresso is and I have yet to find it in the States, unfortunately. So at home I make my own blend – and it doesn’t cost me $3.50 for one cup.

When I’m away from home and am forced to make such a weighty decision, I usually revert to the easiest choice – green tea. But now my daughter informs me that Chicago has a tea shop devoted to every known variety of loose leaf teas. The owners consider tea an art form.

My daughter wants to take me there. I’m afraid already.

What’s your favorite – coffee, tea, or one of those ultra complicated specialty drinks? How about your favorite coffee shop? My daughter is always on the hunt for a new place to sample.