Rob Taylor: Coffee Snobs: " What are we doing to the Gift Card Generation? |

Rob Taylor: Coffee Snobs: " What are we doing to the Gift Card Generation?

Rob Taylor
If Guys Could Talk

Time to don your reading glasses, bulge the eyeballs and ready your harshest scowl ” a new omen of societal degradation has surfaced in Grand County. It caught my attention while waiting in line at the Starbucks counter in the Granby Mall (City Market).

“Give me a grande, half-caf Caramel Macchiato with room.” The customer’s nonchalant tone and flippant use of coffee adjectives was intentional, a public announcement that she was one of the elite: A coffee snob.

“Uh, sure honey. How would you like to pay for this?” the barista replied, used to the attitude.

“Oh,” she said, somewhat annoyed as she fished through her handbag. “Here you go.” She waived a $20 gift card and managed a grin.

So what, right?

Wrong. Miss Caramel Macchiato is 3 years old.

If you are a Coffee Prude – an old school cuppa-joe who despises anyone who has strayed from Folgers, take a deep breath and step away from the newspaper. No need to awaken the ulcers.

Adults in line behind the snob felt as though they had been slapped in the face with the quintessential question of our time: How does this happen? A 3-year-old with plastic money demanding a foo-foo drink?

We all silently reflected in conscious shock.

As a coffee aficionado myself, even I was taken aback. The image of a toddler in pull-ups downing $3 drinks nearly got the business end of my “kids these days” lecture. When I was 3, I was lucky to get a dime’s worth of Kool-Aid.

My first coffee snob encounter occurred more than 10 years ago in West Yellowstone, Mont. Tour busses dumped an unending stream of foreigners in town at The Stagecoach Inn, a four-star lodging and dining establishment that earned its repute. I waited tables there that summer.

The restaurant was frequented by French and Germans who wanted “real coffee” – something stronger than the ‘ol Bunn automatic could percolate.

“What is this? I ordered coffee, not flavored water. Let me see the manager,” they would say.

They spoke in heavily accented English, but anyone could interpret their complaint. It was European for “kiss your tip goodbye, Yankee.”

Though (admittedly) French and German blood have tainted my DNA, I am no coffee snob … but I am part of the problem. I can go toe to toe with all you High-Maintenance Lattes out there who drop power words like “venti,” “Frappuccino” and “half-caf.” Furthermore, I have a 2-year-old who has developed a taste for the good stuff.

“Mmmm, daddy. More, more,” my little coffee sponge demands, confiscating my iced espresso (two pumps of vanilla, no water, lots of ice, room for cream) and absorbing its nectar. She takes a swig in the grocery store while I dodge shopping cart drivers over the legal caffeine limit.

This is how I think the problem starts ” children pirating sips of their parents’ coffee.

So the enemy – if there is one – is us … the grownups (a.k.a. sugar daddies and mommies).

What are we doing to the Gift Card Generation – all hopped up on video games and strung out on coffee before they are old enough to ride a bike? Answers are conjecture at best – theories really – no different than taking a stab at what the ozone layer will look like in 50 years. Who knows?

What I can tell you is that my daughter gets a lot of mileage out of a little “go-go juice.” On days that she gets her fix (coffee), she requires less sleep than I do, finding her second wind during “Tonight Show” hours with a frenzied spell of

Ring-Around-the-Rosies. She’s more interesting than Jay Leno, like watching the toddler version of “Lord of the Flies,” especially after provoking her brother.

It would be inhumane to make her quit cold turkey, but I might consider switching to decaf. For now, I support her “habit” … probably because I’d rather split an iced coffee with her than anyone else in Grand County. Her vices (like my coffee) take a back seat to her charm, and she will never be a coffee snob.

Why? Parenting 101: I demand that she says “please” when ordering her $3 coffee.

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