I hate all this coffee lingo. All this doppio, no-fat, decaf, long pull, half foam, skim milk shit. Usually I’ll ask for a medium black coffee — but of course you can’t do that at Starbucks. It has to be a grande Sumatra or whatever the café du jour is. I order the regular coffees because a) they’re cheaper than the $3.50 lattes/cappuccinos from the big machine; b) they’re delivered quickly, so you don’t have to wait; and c) no one orders them, so there’s usually a lot left and you don’t have to stand in line, like a chump. In a pinch I’ll ask for an Americano, since it’s about as close as you can get to a normal coffee when they — get this — run out of it.
I once stood in front of the counter at a Starbucks and the guy said, “Sorry, but we don’t have any more of the [insert disenfranchised 3rd nation region] coffee left.” None of the three servers behind the counter were making moves to make another pot, nor were they rushing to find a dark roast replacement for the expired [insert disenfranchised 3rd nation region] blend. But I digress ….
So, last month when I showed up with my lines memorized, quickly scanning the daily coffee menu (that sounds ridiculous because it is) for the desired dark roast name, I ordered a grande Sumatra. The guy looked at me, smiled, and said, “Room?” I stared at him blankly, wondering what he meant by this. Was he asking me to get a room? Was there room enough in my belly for a grande Sumatra? Might I not want the tall (small) instead? Was I wearing a nametag that said “Room” on it? Was that how much it cost?
No. “Room” is apparently Starbucks cant for “Do you want room for cream in your cup?” I suppose it was too difficult for him to say, “Want room for cream?” I kind of laughed at him. Not kind of … I really laughed at him — a big belly laugh. I then wiped a tear from my eye, made some snide comment about the Starbucks jargon, and took my coffee. I walked away, leaving him with an embarrased look. In retrospect, this was probably mean. Though, in retrospect, I’d probably do it again.
Today I went in and ordered my grande Sumatra. The server (a different person) asked “Want room for cream?” I smiled and politely declined.