I must admit that I have changed since moving to Santa Cruz in June.
I drive a little slower on the freeways here, I laugh a little harder at stupid things, I spend a lot more time keeping in touch with people, and I’m afraid my fashion sense might be going down the tubes.
But one of the main things that has changed is this (and I’m even afraid to write it because it seems SO wrong to say): I don’t love Starbucks anymore.
If you know me at all, you know what a big Starbucks fan I am. I have a gold card membership. I stop there when I have to use the restroom on road trips. I have both the Starbucks app AND the Starbucks Card app on my iPhone. If I’m meeting someone, I always suggest a Starbucks. It feels like a second home to me (which is exactly what they want.)
So how could such a thing happen, you ask?
Well, we have to go all the way back to June, when I first moved here. One of the first things on my to do list was find a great little coffee shop to become a regular at. A few weeks into my search, I stopped trying. I realized that every coffee shop here serves really horrible, nasty chai lattes. They taste like cleaning solution in a cup.
I hit a breaking point when I went to a coffee shop in Capitola called Verve. My cousin Kenny had become addicted and raved about their coffee. So we went one night before Jr. High Youth Group. I got my regular drink, a chai latte, and threw it away after just a few sips. It was disgusting. Kenny agreed.
I thought I would never be able to fit in with my new friends here who all seemed to adore local, independent coffee shops. I dreaded going to coffee anywhere but Starbucks. I decided they were the only place I could trust. Their chai is dependable, reliable, and sweet — perfect every time (except when I forget to order it with no water.)
I continued going to Verve since Kenny & Becky (our other intern) adored it so much and kept dragging me there. I was desperately trying to find something, ANYTHING I liked! Then I tried a sweetened latte. It was life changing. Smooth, delicious, and so addicting that I would wake up craving it for weeks after.
It dawned on me that I had begun drinking chai lattes at Starbucks because I didn’t like their regular lattes. I thought maybe I was just a wussy coffee drinker that couldn’t handle lattes. But it wasn’t me, it was them. Once I had a latte from Verve, a real latte that was in a class of its own, I saw just how much I had settled by frequenting Starbucks this whole time. They just can’t deliver a good latte.
You can’t imagine how hard this is for me, a devout Starbucks fan, to say, but I’ve been ruined. Kinda like how you are ruined for all lesser loves when you come to know Jesus. I can’t go back. Now I know why people hate on Starbucks for Pete’s, Tully’s, Verve, and the like. It simply doesn’t hold a candle.
So I sit writing to you from Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting Co., a delicious latte by my side.
I’m sorry, Starbucks, for how much I’ve changed. We had a good run while it lasted, but we just can’t go on. I hope you’ll understand how I feel one day.