This facade was familiar, if a little unsettling. The colonial look unexpected, but befitting the environment of the town and surrounding shops. On entering though, the internals were reassuringly recognisable, for that particular coffee shop brand.
Feeling safe and on solid ground, I approached the young man behind the counter. “I’d like a tall salted caramel mocha please.” I said.
He politely and cheerily replied “Sure sir, I just need to let you know we’ve run out of the usual syrup, so we’ll put in another one. But it’s identical.” He punched some buttons on his display, already in slick, automated drink delivery mode.
“No it’s not.” I said.
He paused, holding a cup, looking a little taken aback – possibly not used to a challenge, or to my English humour? He looked a little less certain, but meekly offered, “It normally has toffee nut syrup in, but we can put hazelnut in instead. It tastes just as good.”
“But not identical?” I offered
“No.” he conceded, before asking me my name, to write on the cup which would soon contain my ‘similar’ salted caramel mocha.
The other day I ordered a chilli (chile?) mocha. Medium, this time. The girl taking my order asked, “Hot or cold?”
“That’s sophisticated.” I grinned.
She looked puzzled.
“…to offer different varieties of chillies?” I said.
She laughed. “I meant do you want a hot drink or a cold one? … That’s good though.” she muttered, grinning widely.
I like to think I engaged this young man and woman in some banter. Something to add a little spice to the daily grind of latte, cappuccino, chai tea…
A little variation, a little change, a new reflection, a new awareness, a smile. All good ingredients for drinking in life.