It was a little over a year ago that I wrote about that now infamous Great Coffee Experiment of mine here on the blog, and I thought I'd give you all a little bit of an update on that front.
So, just to refresh your memory, I left that experiment not too enamored with the idea of drinking coffee. I gave it the ol' college try, you see, but it just didn't appear as if my body was responding to caffeine in the same way it seemed to affect most people. For me, an "average" cup o' joe did nothing more than make me even more sleepy than before. I suspected it was the warmth of the drink which brought about this contrary effect. Either that, or my body processed caffeine so well that it flushed it right out of my system before I could even begin to feel its power. There are tests I can take to determine the latter, if I cared enough to get them done (I don't).
Turns out the key word here is average, though. See, your regular cup of drip-brewed, watered-down American coffee doesn't do much for me. But give me something stronger and preferably espresso-based, and apparently that makes all the difference in the world!
Because of its ubiquity here in the greater NYC area, as well as its general good standards across the board, I decided to stick with Starbucks as my go-to java establishment of choice in order to continue this experiment. Plus, I liked that they offered a LOT of choices. If I were going to narrow down my preferences, I would need a varied menu of beverages from which to determine. My darling Cin disagrees, though. She thinks I've become a "Starbucks snob," in her words. See, she swears by Dunkin' Donuts' coffee. Which, if you've read my coffee experiment post, you would know I hate with a deep-seated passion!
|This American does NOT!|
So, despite Cin's adorable protestations to the contrary, I remained steadfast in my loyalty to that Seattle-based company. I started out with a cappuccino from them, but that was too weak for me. I then tried a latte. Better, but too bland. So I had vanilla added to it. Oh man -- so much better! It quickly became my favorite drink. And by adding an extra shot of espresso to the mix, it made it plenty strong and potent enough for even my body to sit up and take notice. I was surprised to find out, in fact, that my productivity in the office actually did pick up a few paces. Extraordinary!
But just to be sure, I next tried straight up espresso. First a single shot (called a "solo" in SB's lingo) served in a tiny little cup, then a double (or, "doppio"). I felt like a little old Italian man sipping on my tiny little dollhouse cup. It was good, but just not enough beverage for my buck. So I tried a macchiato next. This one seemed a bit stronger than a latte, even though it pretty much is a latte made in reverse. At least, this is the way a macchiato is made at Starbucks. I'm sure there are differences if one actually went to Italy.
|A Starbucks latte.|
Still, at the end of the day I decided to stick with my vanilla latte with extra shots added for strength. It was strong, it was flavorful, and it actually kept me awake and energized throughout the morning. Wow, imagine that?
Now, I don't drink this every day, mind you. Not even every other day. I only hit up Starbucks maybe twice a week, if that. Especially now that we're in full blown winter mode here in the city, I find that a nice tall vanilla latte really hits the spot when it is freezing outside. Sometimes I even go all out and splurge on SB's 16-ounce size option, called a "grande." That's when I'm feeling especially indulgent.
And this is how it's gone for the past year or so. That is, until last week when my good friend and author, Cindy Pon (different Cin, no relation), recommended something different. A beverage she herself orders from Starbucks on the regular. Behold, the Americano:
|Add a little more steamed milk for that "misto" effect!|
An "Americano" in Starbucks' terms is espresso coffee like the Italians enjoy, but with a lot of hot water strained through it in the American drip-brewed fashion. So in other words, it's espresso with a whole lot more hot water added to it. You would think this would taste awful, but it's actually not bad. And that espresso kick is still quite strong. Stronger than regular American coffee, at least. Cindy actually recommend that I order it "misto," which is to say with steamed milk added. An Americano Misto is basically a fuller-bodied latte -- just less milky, and more of that special caffeine kick. And it's just about perfect. Add a couple of pumps of vanilla syrup for yours truly, and it really is perfection!
This. This is my preferred drink all of a sudden. I just love it!