On a lighter note (and hopefully, not seeming too trivial after all the deep and gut wrenching things I have written in the past), some days I am absolutely desperate for a decent cup of joe. I’m a big fan of a certain coffee chain whose mermaid logo beckons like a siren from the shoals while I traverse the seas of asphalt. (Wasn’t that poetic?) I tried the golden arches; I tried the King. Huddle House and Waffle House have a distinct flavor that can really only be appreciated under certain circumstance like, for example, after the bars have closed and you need to sober up a bit, or when you’re up all night writing a paper. None of these ever really fulfilled the coffee desires. There are plenty of locally owned coffee shops that I visit in the various towns I frequent. I love them. They are the harbor that I truly seek. The refuge from a coffee free existence. There are, however, days when I am in an unfamiliar area, or I require the anonymity provided by the caffeine machine that is (as we call it) “The Buckto.”

I’ve tried a bit of everything, but recently, I’ve hit on the perfect answer. Flat White.

I love my grande Flat White. When it first came out, it was the epitome of perfection. I’d just come off of the salted caramel mocha (SCM) binge that I’d been living in since autumn brought this glorious beverage back into my bleak existence, and it was the perfect understated counter to the SCM’s complexity.

Creamy and warm with the subtle espresso flavor tempered by the smoothness of steamed milk. Flat White was there to save me from SCM’s decadence. Week after week, I sought out Flat White’s balance and vitality, until one week I sipped to find my barista ruined my beautiful Flat White. At first sip what had been mellow, smooth perfection was burnt and bitter. What had happened? My salvation from the tedium of my day of errands had been tainted by some heavy handed steamer?

I’ve since had more and more of my lovely Flat White blighted and bitter. Week after week I go back seeking the perfect drink I experienced, and more often than not, I am disappointed. A message to the baristas of the world. I am desperate for a good Flat White.

Be gentle with our drinks. They are, for many a mom a refuge as we peruse the aisles of Target or Kroger, a sanity savior as we sip while the children nag and fuss in the backseat. These drinks are the strength to get through a long meeting, or the energy boost to carry us through the rest of the day. They are the common cup shared in the communion of friendship over a blueberry scone with laughter or tears. These drinks have become the brew we share in the modern day “Cheers” where everyone may not know our name, but the person behind the bar is still our friend and the other patrons are, too, because we share a common dream. We are all desperate for some really good coffee.

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