So, a new school year is once again upon us and you may find yourself facing an uncomfortable reality: between your soccer practices, your shifts at Five Guys, and approximately 75 AP classes (you lost count after course sign-ups), you’re not going to be able to stay awake. Or sane, for that matter.
But all is not lost. It’s simply time for you to embrace the Golden Rule, the First Commandment, the one universal truth we can turn to for comfort in this world:
Now, you may be a little apprehensive to welcome coffee into your life with open arms, and that’s fine. Because you have an almost-equally wonderful (and slightly more British) alternative:
Now, when you’re first embarking on your new, caffeine-driven life, avoid ordering THIS:
Those are bitter waterfalls of sadness and despair, my friend. You’re going to take one sip of that and gag until you cry. What you’re looking for is this:
Now THAT is better. Look at that frothy stream of sugar, milk, sugar, caramel, oh and sugar. Diabetics be warned, the path to actually enjoying coffee (as opposed to just choking it down), is paved with bricks of sugar. Actual bricks.
Moving on to tea. There is only one rule: MAKE SURE IT’S CAFFEINATED. Look at the label on the box. Look at it again. Look at the it until the phrase “X mg caffeine” is seared into your brain. You don’t want to get home from Harris Teeter, look at the box, and then proceed to headdesk for fifteen minutes.
Oh, and I lied. There’s one more rule for tea: make it properly with an electric kettle. Please. Don’t microwave it unless you want to see me cry, because I will.
No matter your beverage of choice, eventually you’re going to set off for whatever coffee shop suits your fancy (be it Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, or even a little local place) for the very first time. You’re thinking that you’re gonna swagger up to the register and be super suave…
But you’re just really confused by the menu. A frappawhat? Venti’s the small one, right? Oh God is there already a line behind me?
And you’re thinking the baristas are all thinking:
But seriously, if you’re confused about something, just politely ask about it and it’ll all be fine.
You can pretty much order whatever you want in your coffee. Have no fear–boldly go where no one has gone before. Can you order a cappuccino laced with the blood of your enemies and the fuel of the Star Fleet Enterprise? Probably.
And eventually you’ll get an eyeful of the pastry display…
And trust me, by the time you get that first sugary mouthful of latte and scone together, you’ll be hooked. Problem solved!
But over time, you may find yourself becoming a little too attached to your newfound fountain of energy.
One day, you’ll be minding your own business, shuffling up to the register, mumbling the name of the first drink that pops into your mind with eyes so puffy you can’t read the menu anyway…
…when the barista will look at you with a cocked eyebrow and say, “The usual?”
existential crisis thought process will unfold as follows:
WAIT WHAT. You acknowledge my existence? Nope nope nopity nope this was not how this was supposed to go down. I was supposed to blend in with the huddled masses of baggy sweatshirt-clad, sleep-deprived batch of nine-to-fivers. I wasn’t supposed to have a “usual.”
And you may need to sit and think about your life choices for a bit.
Your parents, too, will eventually recognize your addiction (and the sizeable dent it’s recently left in their bank account) will eventually cut. you. off.
Preliminary warning: you will not take this news well. The coffee shop has slowly become your home away from home. Literally. You own half the throw pillows in the place. Your mug collection is stashed underneath one of the side tables.
But have no fear! Because every once in awhile, THIS festival of merrymaking (or a similar discount) will roll around:
And at long last, after weeks and weeks of swallowing that homemade brew you’ve never been able to get quite right, you’ll be able to double up on what you’re now certain is the ambrosia of the gods.
Speaking of homemade brew, you’re going to need to figure out how that works if you’re on a budget. My advice? Find a competent adult, watch them, and take notes. Because let me tell you, operating a french press is about 600 times more complicated than it looks, buddy.
Now, one final warning: given the somewhat pretentious, monied, and snooty reputation of Starbucks (or any coffee shop, really), you may find yourself confronted with some haters. My advice? Let them hate. Ain’t no one keeping me from my Pumpkin Spice Latte. Ain’t no one.