I was repurposing a big basket tonight (as I’m apt to do in the wee hours of the morning when I’ve accidentally drank too much coffee after 6pm), and came across a stack of coffee passports and coffee master kits from my time in the trenches at Starbucks. The thought crossed my mind that it might be time to purge some of these things, but I don’t know, I just don’t want to yet.
The thing is: I have a lot of really fond memories of working at Starbucks. It’s surprising how many sentences I start with, “You know, when I worked at Starbucks…”
Starbucks was my first real job. I was set to graduate college, and, having a typical 22-year-old what-am-I-doing-with-my-life existential crisis, walked three miles from school to find a serendipitous sign on the storefront at 670 N. Michigan, Number 2548 – the busiest Starbucks in the Midwest. It went something like: “Now Hiring.”
Ok, as far as coffee art goes I get that Starbucks is the McDonald’s of premium coffee beverages (except, apparently the golden arches have their own fancy coffees now too…), but I maintain that it was, and I assume still is, a fantastic company to work for. Character building… yeah, that’s what it was.
So…. right. Purging.
In the end, I parted with the two coffee master kits, but couldn’t give up the passports even after streaming an episode of Hoarders on Netflix.
Ah, how I love a road trip. I’m not going to say that I rely on road trips to fill out my collection of Starbucks site visits, but it sure doesn’t hurt.
Leaving this winter wonderland behind wasn’t too hard…
… to spend the holiday vacationing in Florida. Along the way we came across rising temps and a nice little Starbucks outside of Atlanta. Apparently you aren’t supposed to drive through Atlanta, though I can neither confirm nor deny the horrendous traffic that is rumored to be there. After a couple hundred miles with not a green siren in site, this was a misto I’d been waiting for (which might explain the weird look on my face… or maybe I was in the middle of sentence. Either way…)
I’m flying solo tonight going to (can you guess?!?) a dance show and stopped for a greek yogurt and short hot chocolate. It’s the dinner of champs, right?
There is a buzz about downtown stores that reminds me of mine. Lots of guests, even in the evening, and lots of baristas, all quite friendly. The wifi, the stale smell of past grindings… it almost makes me miss it.
What do you call rolling around in the mud with a few hundred people you’ve never met before? You call it the Warrior Dash; I call it a heck of a weekend. For the second year in a row I made a pilgrimage to Johnson Creek, Wisconsin to jump over fire, swim through a murky lake, climb cargo nets and traverse a few muddy mountains. I couldn’t think of a much better way to celebrate than a Warrior Misto from the Starbucks in Beloit just over the state line. This is my second stop in Beloit, and a different store. And this time, I’m wearing this awesome t-shirt.
The last time I was in Denver I lived there. I was 8, Stapleton was the only airport, and cookies and milk were far more important to me than coffee. It was a quick layover on the way to Gillette, WY to teach musical theatre for three weeks, and this misto was just what I needed to get through the next flight on a really tiny plane.
Well, I’m back on the road to St. Louis for the second time in a week. The Starbucks off of I-55 in Bolingbrook was pretty much the same at the Starbucks in Springfield, with one notable exception:
The cashier appeared nervous. Perhaps he somehow knew that I’m a famous travel writer visiting Starbucks-es around the world (she says sarcastically). Actually, he had cut his hand and I think felt nervous about serving customers. He was wearing a glove (good move), explained to me why he was wearing it…
…to which another barista replied that he was actually imitating Michael Jackson today…
…to which I replied that he would do a better imitation if he studded his plastic glove in rhinestones.
Once you leave the St. Louis area on the way to Chicago, there are no Starbucks-es until you reach our Illinois state capital: Springfield. Not an easy distance, I traversed 60 miles on zero caffeine convinced that I’d see a siren along the way, to no avail. So this Grande Misto was one of the tastiest I’ve had in a long time – if for no other reason – because it happened to be my first cup of the day…..
In fairness, this Starbucks was clean, fast, and friendly. They didn’t overfill my personal cup, which has happened a lot lately. Right next door to the Starbucks is the adorable Sgt. Pepper’s Cafe, where they make good and crispy hashbrowns and use little yellow submarines all over the place for decoration, but don’t have very good coffee.
So, if ever you find yourself in Springfield, IL and highly under-caffineated, go eat some hashbrowns, and then cross the flower bed for a great cup of coffee.