The nightmare always begins the same way. I'm standing in a line of mute, expressionless zombies shuffling slowly toward a shiny shrine, hazy in the distance. After a century or so I reach the shrine, but not before the zombie in front of me opens its mouth and chants:
"I'll have a Vente half-soy, one-pump, no-whip vanilla frappuccino with a caramel drizzle and..." And I realize that I'm in something far worse than a nightmare. I'm in a Starbucks.
Or a Second Cup, a Blenz, a Salt Spring Roasters or a Fill in the Blank. I'm in a coffee house, a twenty-first century mutation of the fine old institution that was once a gathering place for gossip, romance or intrigue over a cup of...what was that black stuff called again?
Oh, right - coffee. Ordering coffee used to be simple. You could have it black or with cream and sugar to taste. Then the 'whiteners' crept in followed by the 'sweeteners'. Wasn't too long before people were ordering latte macchiatos and cafÃƒÂ© ristrettos, not to mention red eyes, flat whites, mochas, espressinos and, no kidding, the Yuanyang (don't ask).
Well, since you asked, the Yuanyang is a drink based on copulating Mandarin ducks. But that's another column.
The modern coffee shop could easily be confused with the United Nations. You can order cafÃƒÂ©s Cubano, Romano, Turkish, Greco, Vietnamese Iced or Viennois, not to mention the old standby, Irish. My local caffeine outlet even offers a CafÃƒÂ© Canadiano (not to be confused with the Americano)"cuz we do things differently up here, eh?" Clearly, ordering a cup of Joe isn't nearly complicated enough. That's why we now have the Bulletproof - a cup of coffee that's blended with...butter.
Well, it's not that simple of course - nothing about coffee is, anymore. The Bulletproof is made with clarified butter and low-mould, handground Fair Trade beans. One Bulletproof enthusiast who travels a lot never leaves home without a satchel containing ground beans, a silicone squeeze bottle of mediumchain triglyceride oil, a hand blender, an Aeropress filter and several tubes of clarified butter.
The Bulletproof payoff? Well, it's supposed to give you all kinds of energy. It'll also give you around 450 calories per cup (that's about three Molson's, minus the buzz).
Can't wait to line up behind a zombie ordering a Bulletproof.
The humorist Dave Barry once said: "It is inhumane in my opinion to force people who have a genuine medical need for coffee to wait in line behind people who apparently view it as some kind of recreational activity".
Well said, Dave. Now will that be one pat or two?