How are you all doing this fine Thursday afternoon? Can you believe it?! Only ten more days till Christmas!! Wowzas! Thankfully all of my Christmas presents have been bought and my cards are going out in the mail as we speak. All I have left to do on my handy-dandy to-do list is my most favorite of all things…why making and baking cooooookies of course! I usually save that for last because I know that if I do that ahead of time, there is no way in Hooville that they will make it to Christmas (self-control around these doughy and sugary and frosted and sweet concoctions of all-around amazingness I do not have). Well, that and I suppose I should find a party dress of some sort to wear on New Years, even though my plans of now to ring in 2012 include my couch, a marathon of Seinfeld (because is there a better way to ring in a new year than to get laugh crazy with Jerry, Kramer, Elaine and George?) and as much junk food as I can get my hands on. After all, my resolutions don’t officially start until the next day anyway which means one last night of debauchery. I know what you’re thinking. And you are completely right: I am such a party animal.
Seeing as it is already mid-December and I haven’t yet indulged in one of my all-time favorite holiday traditions…the ultimate cup of hot cocoa or in my case, a cup of whipped cream with some hot chocolate, I decided to grab the rest of my Christmas cards and my trusty laptop and make my way to Starbucks for a festive and lazy afternoon. Now usually I don’t dig the whole Starbucks thing; I am not a coffee drinker and even if I was, I would refuse to pay an arm and a leg for a measly dribble of coffee and cream. However, they do make a very good cup of white-hot chocolate which I look forward to treating myself to at least once a year around christmas time. Plus, a change of scenery, as well as being able to listen to their prime selection of Christmas tunage while cranking out the rest of my Christmas cards and school applications was just another added bonus to the deal.
But while we are on the subject…
Can we just talk about this for a second? Since when did it become so complicated to order a cup o’ Joe? Black or with cream? One lump of sugar or two. These were the ways in which I knew coffee was taken. Boy was I severely undereducated. As I sat in my cozy comfy chair, sipping my frothy and chocolatey cup of goodness, I couldn’t help but overhear fellow patrons placing their orders with the barista.
“Yes, Hi. I’ll have a tall half-skinny half-1 percent extra hot split quad shot, two shots decaf, two shots regular, latte with whip.”
“I’ll take a venti light mocha frap 2% no whip with a shot, please.”
“Good afternoon. I’ll take a Double tall cappuccino, extra dry.”
“Grande Caramel Machiatto, skinny, no whip with extra caramel. And a drizzle of chocolate. And a scone. Do you have scones? No? Why don’t you have scone? I guess I’ll take a morning bun, but can I get it warmed? I only like them when they are warm.”
Goodness gracious. It’s like a whole new language. My head was spinning just after a few minutes of listening to these mile long and oh so complicated orders, I can’t imagine what the Starbucks workers must feel like after 8 or more hours of this every day, bless their caffeinated hearts. The funny thing was, I didn’t hear one single person ask for just a simple cup of coffee. Go figure. Did you know that there is an actual way of physically contabulating how many available drink choices you have while at a Starbucks? Oh yes. I am not kidding here people, this is serious stuff. Now go get your thinking caps and strap them on tight because this is going to take some serious math…
Here we go: How to mathematically compute how many choices you have while at a Starbucks
If someone knows how many choices there are for each variable, you just multiply all these numbers together to arrive at the total number of possible combinations. As a simple example, if there are three sizes, three types of coffee (9 possibilities), and three different flavorings (8 flavoring combinations, think in binary terms), and then add the choices of using sugar, artificial sweetener, or none (3 choices), this yields 216 total possibilities (but there’s much more). To find out exactly how many of these options there are, I went to the Starbucks website and found the following information under “drinks”:
- Bottled Drinks (10 choices)
- Brewed Coffee (7 choices)
- Chocolate Beverages (4 choices)
- Espresso Beverages (33 choices)
- Frappuccino® Blended Beverages (31 choices)
- Kids’ Drinks & Others (5 choices)
- Tazo® Teas (23 choices)
- Vivanno™ Smoothies (3 choices)
Given that most of these items have at least three sizes and that the milk-based products have four milk choices, the total number of possible combinations is easily in the thousands. Thousands! Holy coffee, Batman! I also learned that when applying to be a barista at Starbucks, you literally are given a coffee bible (which is almost as big, if not bigger than THE bible) to study and memorize. It’s almost as if you have to get your BA in Coffology to even be considered for the job.
Yeah, I think I will just stick to my simple white-hot chocolate if you don’t mind, although, even when ordering that, they asked how I wanted it. I didn’t even know there were options. My reply was something like this, “Um, in a cup. And preferably hot.” I guess I have some learning to do when it comes to the over-zealous world of coffee houses.
However, one thing I do know is that we can’t have a coffee talk without a little Coffee Talk. I’m getting a little verklempt just thinking about it 🙂
Have a great rest of your night guys!
Question of the day: How do you take your coffee?