How do you like your coffee, Mike?

From the MRW Water Cooler

Q: Hi Mike,

Ok, first of all I have to clarify that I don’t work at Starbucks or any coffeeshop around. The reason I asked this question is because I have seen a few pictures of you holding a large cup of coffee. So I assumed you’re quite a coffee drinker. With all of those flavours to choose from (I can’t even name one…personally not a coffee fan) how do you decide which one to order. Do you have a particularly favourite one?


My relationship with coffee is one of dependence and ambiguity. I am most certainly addicted, which is why you will often see cup in hand. However, the contents of that cup vary in a way that many find disturbing.

Unlike most of my fellow addicts, i.e., the Dirty Jobs Crew and my father, I have no love for the rituals or routines that accompany the modern day caffeine delivery system. In other words, I rarely take my coffee the same way twice in a row. Black, cream, milk, sugar, fake sweetener, flavored, unflavored, instant, dry-roasted, fresh-ground, fair-trade…I just can’t seem to embrace and maintain a pattern. I have no preference for MacDonald’s, Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, or the local filing station. For me, part of the fun of coffee is not knowing what you’re going to get. I like to mix it up, and for some reason, that makes the people around me uneasy.

Take Barsky for instance. Dave is without a doubt a creature of habit and routine. In over 200 jobs, I can think of very few mornings that didn’t start with a mad and often time-consuming search for a nearby Starbucks. Fortunately, they are often nearby, but not always. There, he will order the same thing, over and over, proclaiming loudly, “I know what I like!” And my Dad, who to this day shakes his head in wonder and quiet disapproval, when I fail to prepare my second cup in a fashion identical to the first.

So to answer your question Cynthia, I love coffee.

I just don’t care what it tastes like.


PS Regarding Starbuck’s, my own view is one of grudging respect. They have obviously succeeded in creating a predictable and positive experience for their customers, but I’m personally not a fan. And unless I’m in Florence, I’ll never say “venti,” when all I really want is a “large.”

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