Starbucks in summer is a peculiar place. It attracts a wildly disparate group united solely by a craving for caffeine, Internet access, and air conditioning. Within these soothing green-and-brown walls, coffeehouse rules apply. You can linger as long as you want, eat breakfast all day, and slug potent beverages without judgment. It’s like the Port Authority with better chairs.
Full disclosure: I love Starbucks. More accurately, I am downright addicted to their drinks, some of which should require a prescription, and I find myself in the throes of a migraine without them.
I started out slowly, sipping Dunkin’ Donuts in flavors like toasted almond and hazelnut. But later, I craved more intensity. To me, Dunkin’ Donuts is the kindly granny who invites you into her living room for a French vanilla pick-me-up. Starbucks is the personal trainer who’s brusque, powerful, and sometimes hard to swallow. The trainer you’re too afraid to quit.
This is especially true of their newish Trenta size, 31 gluttonous ounces of cold caffeine. (“Trenta” could be code for “desperation” in Italian.) Working on your resume? A few sips of Trenta iced coffee, and you’re the CEO. Feeling unsure about a major life change? A Trenta iced tea and you may just consider revamping your career, filing for divorce, or buying a one-way ticket to California to join an improv troupe.
Starbucks gets this: Lest you feel antsy about your yen, there’s Oprah beaming down from the wall, touting her Teavana chai tea. Every sale of Oprah Chai goes toward the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Foundation. Drink it for the children.
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