Let’s have a conversation about coffee.
My coffee addiction started in junior high school, like many addictions do. Starbucks makes these little frappuccino bottles that are sweet and appealing to a teenager that likes Mountain Dew. After that, I forced hot coffee with cream down during family gatherings. Eventually I started liking the taste of it.
I can’t quite pinpoint the first time I had a latte. Maybe it was my good-for-nothing, party-every-day French class in high school. At any rate, I somehow started drinking Starbucks espresso drinks. They were okay. Once my mom pointed out that their coffee tastes burnt and bitter, I couldn’t quite get over it.
I started learning about how the freshness of the coffee bean can affect the flavor of coffee. I became a coffee snob much in the way wine aficionados won’t drink wine that isn’t of a certain standard. Caribou Coffee, which seems to exist only in certain parts of the United States, better matches the standards of taste that I’ve come to enjoy. They employ fair trade, getting their beans straight from farmers without a middleman. This results in fresher coffee, as well as better business for poor farmers in South America and other places. I am, of course, elated by the latter much more than the fresh coffee!
At any rate, ROXX also participates in fair trade coffee. Their supplier is a man named Chuck, who I have only met a couple of times. Chuck is a Jedi Master when it comes to coffee. I learned that the way the beans are stored, and the settings at which they are grinded by the machine must be monitored and modified based on the age of the beans. Moreover, the steamed milk plays a part in the way the oils of the coffee are released, thus affecting taste. Milk has to be steamed in a certain way to avoid that nasty bitter taste.
I practiced steaming milk for part of an afternoon to make sure I did it right–the foam on top must be made of very fine bubbles. You must create a perfect vortex of swirling, while also avoiding causing the steamer to make a high-pitched “demon scream,” which causes the bubbles to become too large. This demon scream is rampant in most of the Starbucks I go to, where they must train their baristas not to care.
Now, if it weren’t for the war waged on my intestines by coffee beans, I would drink much more of it.
In short, ROXX has great coffee. The owners take great care to obtain the freshest beans and learn how to prepare drinks in the tastiest ways. Also, for $3.50, you get a patented candiccino, which has about five flavor shots in it. Can’t beat that!