Peach State says: Skinny Vanilla Latte’

We knew, from an early age, that we were destined to be coffee drinkers.  We were raised waking up our fathers with their morning brew and knew how they liked it.  I remember spending time at your house, when I young, and the ritual was the same at your house as it was mine.  The wonderful contraption that ran simple water over ground up material  into a pot produced coffee.  It was the first thing turned on every morning and the last thing turned off every night.

My side of the family enjoyed coffee at night and still do.  The strength was important too!  Strong coffee, but not syrup, was essential for the taste and benefits.  The first experience with this rich, aroma driven, liquid came at Mema’s house.  Do you remember your first cup of coffee is those cups and saucers?  She made sure to show us how to add sugar and cream to add flavor and taught us to enjoy it by sipping it.  She took this time and gave us valuable lessons of conversation and manners during the simple drinking of a cup of coffee.  During the long trips to school with my father I was delegated at the coffee bearer.  This was before there were tops on the cups and I had to balance and alter the cups position to avoid spilling the brew and getting burned.  I would then, upon arrival at school, set out to fill the industrialized sized coffee pot in my dad’s office.   This pot held 24 cups and I felt it took forever to make.

Flashing forward to college…I had my own coffee pot and wore it out quickly.  8 cups was simply not enough to sustain my needs and desires for the heavenly brew.  I also found that free refills were the best and cheapest way to go and even provided my own cup for the discounts.  After graduating came work and somehow the making of the coffee, once again, fell on me.  I gladly stepped into the role and made it faithfully.  It is a good thing because the employee making it prior to my arrival was not a coffee drinker.  Yuck!  I married a man whose love for coffee rivaled mine and I fell into a pattern of 2-3 pots a day.  Then the most amazing thing happened.  We moved to Washington State and after about 4 months discovered a new store was going to open.  It said STARBUCKS COFFEE… What is a Starbucks?  That was all she wrote…..espresso became our way of life.  My parents came to visit and we shared the sights and sounds, not to mention the full gusto of aroma, with them.  My oh my….what have we been missing?  “I would like a Venti Vanilla Breve ( half and half) Latte’ ” my husband would say “and she would like a Venti Vanilla Latte'” .  The challenge to learn the new dialect was facilitated by the flow of the workers and the number of people in line.  It was an everyday thing to see a long line of varied types of personalities waiting with a wide-eyed looked of frantic dread on their face.  I need COFFEE!!!! It was written all over their face.  The explosion of free standing espresso stands, like the old photo booths in parking lots, brought the drinking of espresso to a whole new level.  The assortment of flavors burst onto the scene providing the espresso connoisseur the opportunity to experiment with something other than Hazelnut and Vanilla.  There was raspberry and caramel and cream brulee for the sweet taste buds and B-52 and Irish Cream for those needing a bit more of a jolt.  They were not alcoholic but the flavor provided the smell and taste to the experience.  The shots of espresso that had remained standard began to change and you could order extra shots… I would like a Triple Venti Cream Brulee Latte with no foam.  AH.. the no foam line gets them every time.  Now they had to add milk to the drink to fill it not the frothy white filler that topped of the top 1/3rd of the cup.

Flashing forward…My husband and I moved to the Atlanta area and found a house.  I called my parents and told them we had found the one.  They wanted to know why this was the one.  That was easy to explain…There is a drive through Starbucks a mile from the house.  Oh that is good!  My husband and I would frequent this particular location daily sometimes enjoying the experience another time during the day.  It became clear that we needed to make a change with the cost of living being what it was.  So… we did what any realistic, crisis facing adult would do.  We bought a machine.  Not just any machine but the one sold at the local Starbucks.   We rationalized that spending the $400 for a machine retailing at $750 (I love sales) would pay for itself very quickly.  The fact that we were spending about $75-$90 a week before the machine was the deciding factor.  SOLD!!! “Here you go honey…READ!!!”  The manual was handed to me and I preceded to learn how to make lattes’.  I was in coffee heaven.  I do not have to pay for extra shots and remind them of no foam.  I do not have to wait in line, unless I am getting my supply of espresso beans ground and syrup.   I can have more than one espresso everyday.  Okay….I usually do but who is counting. My friends know me for my coffee and sometimes pop a joke or two.  But when they start yawning I simply smile and take a sip.  I know that I will fall asleep, as I do every night, about 10:30 and nap for 30 minutes before watching to last part of a TV show with my family.  Then off to bed where I set my alarm for pre-dawn hours and lay my head down.

I am presently sitting here with my Quad Venti Skinny Vanilla and will have another in a few minutes.  Skinny….that is a new bit of lingo that has only been out for about 3 years.  Skinny represents sugar free and non-fat milk.  I started drinking these when I was diagnosed with Diabetes.  Now that I make my own espresso at home I use about 1/3rd of the milk (Non-fat of course) that Starbucks uses and 4 1/2 squirts of my sugar free vanilla then fill it to the brim with espresso shots.  AHHHH….Good Stuff!  No rushing out to the local Starbucks on holidays or sending the boys because they drive.  In the comfort of our own home and on our schedule.  It has become so routine that I can prepare 2 different and specialized lattes and breakfast for my husband and youngest son in about 7-8 minutes.  The beauty and grace with which I move surprises my family, even I am fascinated with the manner of organizational flow acquired.  This steamy, bold, life-giving liquid allows for the day to unfold.  YES…My day has truly begun and I am ready to face the day with open eyes and, oh yes, my second cup…..

Want a cup?



About justbetweencousins

We are first cousins who live farther apart from each other than we would like. We thought this blog would give us a chance to visit with each other as well as maybe share a few insights about life. We are both middle aged and until recently both of us had kids the same age (nearly grown). But then the Peach State cuz adopted a son, so she has four now. Heart of Dixie cuz has two daughters. We have a couple of things which are prominently in common (although I'm sure there are actually more): We vacation at our Mema's beach house in Panama City Beach, Florida - until recently, we did so with all of our kids. We both sing - although Heart of Dixie cuz is not currently singing anywhere right now. We both write. We are both Christians, although Peach State cuz is Baptist, and Heart of Dixie is currently floating about between the Anglican church, the Methodist church, and the Episcopalian church. Long story.

Posted on December 13, 2011, in Just Between Cousins and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I enjoyed reading this “love letter to coffee”! I don’t know who loves coffee more, you or my husband! I realized something while reading it. I don’t remember smelling coffee brewing in our house when I was growing up. I don’t even remember my dad drinking it. I think we may have had a jar of instant coffee in the cabinets at times…hmmm. I also wrote in my memoirs about my Maw-Maw making me a cup of “coffee.” It was half milk, and enough sugar to sweeten a cake, but I loved it!
    I do remember always smelling coffee brewing at my Maw-Maw and Paw-Paw’s house. They were my Mom’s parents, and the best grandparents in the world! However, I was much older before I ever saw this coffee making machine called a percolator in their house. I did, unfortuately become familiar with the percolator in the house of my other grandparents, whom I referred to as “Mr. and Mrs. Cheney.” I was probably about three years old when I became tangled in the cord of the percolator, which Mrs. Cheney had draped from the kitchen table to the outlet on the wall. I still remember it. As I tripped on the cord, the percolator fell on me, pouring the steaming hot coffee all over me. Mom was not close enough to stop it, and said it seemed to have happened in slow motion as she watched. The percolator landed on my foot. A lot of the coffee had burned my stomach. I think it was my dad who grabbed me up as he and mom began tearing my coffee-saturated clothes off of me. Then, off to the ER with mom and my Aunt Mary Jane.
    At the ER, they cleaned me up, and put some kind of ointment on my foot, then bandaged it. I don’t remember about my stomach. I think my foot got the worst of it because the hot percolator landed on it. I remember the pain, but moreso, I remember the smell…especially after they added the ointment. The combination of the two odors, my burnt skin, and the ointment are stuck in olfactory sense of my brain…if that is where it is located! Can’t remember what I did yesterday, but I can smell that odor as I write this! I also have one sweet memory connected to this. On the way home from the hospital, my Aunt Mary Jane suggested we stop and get me an ice cream cone! That was quite a treat, although I don’t think I was able to eat it all. By then I was feeling a little woozy…they must have given me some pain meds at the hospital.
    But here I am now, enjoying my half caff every morning, and even some mocha at Star Bucks. And thanks to you and Tracy, I can now, this year, for the first time in my life enjoy an iced coffee drink…the mocha one of course!

  2. Howdy! This post could not be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my good old room mate! He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this write-up to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read. Thank you for sharing!

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