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make mine corporate with extra foam


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i've often mentioned "my morning sunshine", carlos hernandez at the starubucks on i-35 in temple, texas. starbucks. just the mere mention of the word, and i'm feeling nearly sluggish enough to head straight there for something with four shots of espresso in it. i like my coffee sweet, and i like it strong. for me, the strength dictates the sweetness; i take my coffee strong enough to peel the paint off of a car, but i don't necessarily want it to taste like it could. carlos gets it right each and every time. indeed, all the baristas at my starbucks get it right, but i think there's just something innately caffe about carlos.

living this close to austin, i see bumper stickers all the time in favor of smaller, independently owned coffee houses, eschewing all things starbucks primarily because it's a corporate machine. i'm certain there are other reasons some of the greenies boycott/dislike/curse starbucks, but i don't care. the fact that it is a corporate machine, however, doesn't negate the other fact of the matter: it's just damn good coffee. sure, i'm all for supporting and patronizing the smaller, hip coffee houses owned by good people who work hard for their every dollar. i've been to millions of these little brew houses, and i've had many a delicious cup of coffee, or latte, or espresso and even, on occasion, something frothy and frozen with whipped cream on top. i would never cast aspersions on a good cup of coffee or it's birthplace. truth be told, the hippie in me would love to open a chic, hip little coffee house someday. when it comes to ordering a strong, delicious coffee though, especially one that's going to keep me going for several hours, i never go any farther than starbucks. i am truly addicted to starbucks.



sometime last year, i read somewhere that starbucks coffee is something like 55% more caffeinated than folgers coffee, and that's why it's so addictive. that's how they can keep people coming back for their morning, afternoon and or evening brew; it keeps them going as long as their needs demand they keep going. i have no idea if the statement about the caffeination of starbucks coffee has any truth behind it or not, and truly, i don't care. it matters not to me. it does keep me going and it does keep me not just a little bit wired for hours on end every day. i'm something of a junkie, but i'm certainly not alone. starbucks wouldn't be the corporate machine it is today if i were alone. ah, the good people in seattle really know what they're doing with the beans.

i had the distinct pleasure of photographing several of the baristas - especially carlos, my morning sunshine - at work early this morning at my starbucks in temple. i tried my absolute best to stay out of their way, but was apologized to more times than i remember by baristas who thought they were in my way. caffeinated people are just friendly and polite. i was even allowed behind the counter for a few shots to get a little closer to the action. that's the kind of action i can really get into.

i was intrigued at what a well-oiled machine they were operating; i had no doubt that it was as my coffee is perfect and fast every morning, but i've never been in the thick of it like i was today. hands everywhere, reaching for whole milk, cups, steam wands, shotglasses full of nectar of the gods; hands pumping vanilla and caramel and chocolate and hazelnut syrups into coffees and frappuccinos; hands reaching into the bakery case for something unbelievably delicious wrapped in rice tissue and a craft paper bag printed with yellow swirls and a very recognizable green & black logo sporting a crown-clad mermaid. i got the distinct impression that even if i had actually been in someone's way this morning, they'd have just gone right around me without missing a step, a caffeinated smile on their face the whole time.
so cheers to the indies. cheers to those single, stand-alone coffee houses somewhere with good foot traffic and great coffee. i wish no ill will and have nary a disparaging word for these establishments; i wish them nothing but hand-over-fist prosperity.

as for my coffee, however, make mine a tall quad espresso with equal and steamed whole milk, and make sure it comes from starbucks.
..and from carlos, my morning sunshine.



2 Responses to “make mine corporate with extra foam”

  1. Anonymous sayra 

    i'm all for independent businesses., and it freaks me out when you can see one starbucks while standing in line at another one, but they treat their employees really well. when i worked at starbucks, i had fun every day. i loved it. i would work there again in a heartbeat.

  2. Anonymous melissa 

    i know! i know that's really bad in nyc, too... like, a starbucks on each corner of a 4-way intersection. wow.

    that's funny that you worked at starbucks! not "haha" funny, but ironic. the shoot i had there on saturday morning really made me want to work there. they were all having a blast. awesome.

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  • I'm melissa mcgee
  • From Temple, Texas, United States
  • photographer. singer. soapcrafter. herbalist. dogmom. godmother. fantastic cook. i kiss better than i cook. [all photographs on this blog copyright melissa mcgee unless otherwise noted.]
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