It has been nearly a month now since I discovered that new coffee drink vice the Mocha Latte. There have been very few mornings over that time that have not started with the heavenly sweetness of chocolate, espresso, milk, and whipped cream. The good news is I have continued to replace food with Latte and there has yet to be any real adverse effects to my weight. I have dropped off about another pound and a half despite pounding 400+ calories of liquid bliss down my throat every morning.
The search for a descent drink is winding down as I have simply run out of options. It just doesn’t strike me as hard to make one of these things, in particular with the automated machines they are using. Honestly I think the challenge I have faced is more a reflection on the quality of the help at these places than a particular recipe. I have found the most consistency at McDonalds, which still leaves me shaking my head with wonder, but even they have their moments. A couple weekends ago my wife and I pulled through the drive up and each ordered what McDonalds calls a Café Mocha. Imagine our surprise when a couple sips from each cup revealed they had forgotten a key ingredient. I know that right now you are thinking “Oh I hate it when they leave the whipped cream off”, and your right it sucks when that happens, but how about paying $2 a cup for a product called the Café Mocha and with your first sip discovering you just got a Café! I couldn’t believe anybody capable of getting themselves dressed in the morning could be that incompetent so I pulled a straw out of the glove compartment to stir in the syrup that I figured HAD to be on the bottom of the cup. Nope. Its like leaving the chocolate out of chocolate milk, I mean how the hell does that happen?
While we are talking about whipped cream I have also discovered that you can tell if the person making your drink has actually had one or not by the amount of whipped cream on the top of the cup. At most of these McDonalds you can look through the drive up window and watch them make your drink. I keep seeing these old ladies applying whip cream to the top of the cup like it is coming out of their paychecks. More than once it hasn’t even covered the top of the cup. On the other hand from time to time I get one that is so full it forces the cream up through the drinking spout on the plastic cover. Those drinks are obviously made by somebody vicariously drinking every cup they pass through the window.
Summer is beginning to make its presence known here in the Northeast which has meant a couple things to my coffee quest. First our tourist based economy is starting to ramp up and I have noticed that some of the swankier little tourist trap towns have coffee shops opening up. It is a sure bet that the coffee in these joints will be targeted to the “from away” crowd and if I am lucky maybe I can find the occasional alternative the McDonalds Café Mocha.
The other change is obviously the temperature. When I first started documenting this I pointed out that I had been pretty much off all coffee for a good ten years. During that time I have watched with a certain amount of amusement the growth of the iced coffee phenomenon. I never really got it. I have had cold coffee either from a cup that sat too long or because somebody turned the pot off and I know from experience that it tastes like shit. I couldn’t imagine paying money on purpose for coffee that had been allowed to get cold. Whoever first marketed this to the masses in a way to make it trendy is a fucking genius, but all the marketing it the world doesn’t change the fact that cold coffee tastes like old ass.
With the above rant on the record I will admit that yesterday afternoon it was very warm around here, and I was feeling like a pick me up. I had been thinking about my stated position on iced coffee; in particular the point about all the marketing in the world not changing the fact that cold coffee sucks. If that were true I figured that this trend would have died out long ago. I convinced myself they must do something different to the coffee they “ice”. I swung through the McDonalds on the way home and ordered myself an Iced Café Mocha. I didn’t make it out of the parking lot. After two sips I pulled off to the side, ate the whipped cream off the top (of course), and dumped it. Maybe when the addiction really settles in I will understand, but for now I will continue to marvel at what people will do for image.
This morning directly after posting this I left the house and got myself a McD’s Cafe Mocha. The kid at the window asked me if I wanted whipped cream, clearly not a Mocha Latte drinker, and I watched him stir it before adding the cream. Imagine my surprise and then laughter when I took a sip and there wasn’t the faintest hint of chocolate flavor. I pulled around and parked to walk in to get what I ordered. The same kid who made it asked me what I needed and when told of the missing ingredient he asked “There is supposed to be chocolate in it? I thought it was just drizzled over the whip cream” Really?