I have often joked about looking forward to the day when I can yell at the kids to get off my lawn and grumble in low, unintelligible tones. To me it seems… so liberating.
On a recent trip to have coffee with a business associate at a fancy pants coffee shop, I felt a twinge of curmudgeon coming on. Fortunately, I was able to suppress the urge and behave in a respectable manner, but it was close. You may be asking, “What was the offense? What brought this on?” Well, I am only too happy to tell you.
I went to the counter to order my coffee. When I say coffee that’s exactly what I mean . . . not a macchiato, not a vente this or grande that, not a cappuccino, and not a mocha latte either. I wanted a medium, dark roast coffee, served black … the way God intended it. I was told that all they had was medium roast coffee. I had heard this before, and my usual go-to in this case is straight espresso with a little hot water (which is called an Americano). As I was considering this option out loud, I was informed by the barista that it would still be a medium roast and would not change anything. The barista, with the ironic facial hair, was enthusiastic and probably a very nice person, but as you probably guessed, I still had not had my first cup of coffee.
It should be noted that I prefer dark roast coffee. A French roast in a French press is ideal with a strong Italian roast being a close second. I like the taste of a dark coffee and find medium or light roast coffees to be too bitter for me to enjoy. I suppose, in some ways, I have become a coffee snob. However, I have noticed that many of the most popular coffee shops only serve medium roast coffee.
The barista proceeded to give me a lesson in coffee, roasting techniques, and caffeine profiles (all of which I knew already). This is where the curmudgeon was fighting to get out. I wanted desperately to say, “Dude,” (that’s what the kids say) “Dude, I have been drinking coffee since before your parents were even dating.” I am not proud that this is what I was thinking. As I was standing there before him my curmudgeon-self and my best-behaved self had a little battle, which happened very quickly.
Of course, my best-behaved self ordered a medium, black coffee with not even a twinge of the bitterness that this brew represents. To a bystander, nothing happened. But internally, a royal battle ensued and later that day I wondered how long will my best-behaved self be able to restrain my curmudgeon-self? Is there an age when my will is so worn down that I will be unable to win these tiny battles? Is there a point at which I won’t care?
… And another thing, when did hoppy beer become so popular? With all the amazing brewpubs and microbreweries that are popping up as abundantly as fancy coffee shops, what happened to a plain old lager or ale?
I will do my best to restrain the curmudgeon that is desperate to prevail in these mini battles. But if you see me at a coffee shop with distant expression on my face while ordering, please understand what is going on inside.