We don’t even really try to find good coffee in my hometown. Rockford – at least the side of town where I grew up – is made for Starbucks. There’s no hipster scene in NE Rockford – just suburbanites with Kate Gosselin highlights and families in their SUVs flocking to the latest chain restaurant.
Which is to say that we found ourselves at Starbucks Saturday morning, in desperate need of caffeine and bearing a list of orders for the similarly addicted. We were greeted by the overly enthusiastic barista (OEB) in tight pants.
E: Good morning. I need three tall coffees with room, a tall iced green tea, light ice, unsweetened, and whatever he’s having (gestures to Shane).
Shane: Can you make a cappuccino that is, you know, less than 12 ounces? Like 7 ounces?
OEB: You have no idea how long we’ve waited for someone to ask precisely that. Didja hear that? He wants a real cappuccino!
Impressively-Bearded Barista (IBB): (excitement)
Shane: No, you know, I’ll just have a tall coffee as well.
OEB: No, no, we can do it! We don’t have a whole lot of control over the espresso, but we can definitely make you a smaller drink.
IBB: I can make you any size you want!
Shane: Are you sure?
OEB: Yes! And you know what, we’ll give it to you for free.
OEB: (Repeats the order back, forgetting the iced tea)
Girl Barista: Did you want medium or bold?
OEB: Wait, was his coffee a medium?
E: No, no, we just wanted the medium roast.
OEB: Oh, right, sorry! (Finishes transaction)
We step to the side to wait. I add half and half to my coffee, then ask for skim milk for Mark and Jenn’s. Shane is presented with a medium cappuccino (16 ounces). They forget the iced tea, which I ask for again. We leave with five drinks, wondering what exactly just happened.
So maybe there is hope for good coffee in Rockford. There are baristas out there that want people to drink real cappuccinos. They just aren’t sure how to make it happen.