I’ve written before about my work at The Ground Floor (which was only, you know, the greatest coffee shop EVER), during a few summer and holiday breaks in college. We were located in the bottom of a tall building downtown, which meant a lot of our regulars were businessmen (and women) who stopped by at the same time every day. Many of them dropped in on their way to the post office, just a block away.
Five years later, I still remember some of these folks and their drinks – which we’d start making the second they walked in the door, so we’d be nearly done by the time they reached the counter. I loved brightening their days by giving them their favorite drink, made exactly the way they wanted.
Here are the ones I remember:
1. Tracy worked at a bank in town and would come right when we opened at 7 a.m., for her 20-oz skinny latte with almond.
2. Tim Baker came in at least once a day for a 16-oz skinny latte with sugar-free hazelnut. Sometimes he wanted it half-caff; sometimes it was 60/40; sometimes he’d say, “Give me all the caffeine today!”
3. BJ came in with his brother and brother-in-law every day around 3; he always got a short latte with a double shot.
4. Bob (BJ’s brother-in-law) got a Diet Coke with ice and a little vanilla.
5. Stuart (I think that was his name) got a lemonade with ice and a little raspberry.
6. Aaron came in every night and drank whatever drip coffee we didn’t sell, from his own mug with his name on the bottom. (He was an employee before I was, and remained a regular to the end.)
7. David Eiler (aka Smiley) used to order a 16-0z drip coffee, but one day when we were between pots, he ordered a 16-oz americano. He got hooked on the stronger taste and extra caffeine after that.
8. Jere always got iced ginger peach tea – I’ve written about her before.
9. Ben was at least a twice-daily regular – sometimes he wanted drip coffee, sometimes green tea.
10. John, the owner, would come behind the counter and make himself a latte, in his own smallish mug.
11. Adam usually wanted either a fruit slush with an extra fruit flavor mixed in, or a short cappuccino in a grande mug – preferably yellow. (And he always wanted me to play Weezer on the stereo.)
12. Hugh would drink a red-eye – coffee with a shot of espresso – out of a green mug.
13. Steve always wanted a 16-oz soy latte with an extra shot and two packets of Sugar in the Raw.
14. Barb, my manager, loved a lot of drinks, but I remember her rhapsodizing about iced blackberry sage, and wild berry plum, tea.
15. My dad would drop in sometimes for a short mocha.
16. Sarah, a co-worker, loved chai as much as I did.
17. Sophia, another co-worker, loved soy chai lattes and Italian sodas.
18. Cynthia, our other manager, loved regular lattes.
19. John V, a regular (not the owner), bought a Dr. Pepper nearly every night.
20. Ryan, one of “the guys,” drank a LOT of hot tea. I remember he liked our cardamom-cinnamon blend.
21. Dennis would come in for a 16-oz coffee in the evening – he worked nights.
22. Fred, who also worked nights, would order six or eight espresso shots in a grande cup – about 12 oz of straight espresso!
23. Jon, my best friend since fifth grade, loves jasmine tea.
24. Chris Cherry, a police officer and (the owner) John’s good friend, loved our African red teas.
And me? My summer favorites were a granita (slushy coffee drink) with chocolate mint flavoring, or a raspberry cream soda. In the mornings or in the winter, I drank a lot of chai lattes, rich hot chocolate, or flavored black tea.
What’s your “usual” at your favorite coffee house?