A sticky situation

So I still don’t really like coffee.  It tastes like angry sadness with bitter under and over-tones, but obviously I need the caffeine for my O-dark-thirty start time so…  coffee.  Thankfully, we live in this amazing time where the technology exists to make coffee not TASTE like coffee, which is great!  With that in mind, years ago I bought some sugar-free coffee syrups (because I found out my coffee place could add them and make the drink taste great) and….  they didn’t work.  They didn’t taste ‘right’, and it was so easy to get too much in.

So I went back to drinking the coffee-flavored coffee while at work and only getting the good tasting stuff when I went out to Dutch Bros (the Oregon-centered chain I prefer).

…but I knew it wasn’t right.  It wasn’t right to just give in.  I’m an American, damnit, and part of being an American means not settling for drinks that taste like themselves.  No, we FIX those problems!

Got a potato chip that tastes like boring potatoes?  AMERICA HAPPENS and now it can taste like some sort of cool ranch.

Got a cookie that tastes like a boring cookie?  AMERICA HAPPENS and now we have ‘Cookies & Cream Oreos’, a cookie that taste like an ice cream that’s designed to taste like a cookie!

Got a coffee that tastes like (ew) coffee when you’re at work and don’t have easy access to the drive-thru flavor laboratories of Dutch Bros?  AMERICA NEEDS TO HAPPEN so I can figure out their secret, and I think I’m on the right path.

Their secret?  Oh-ho, ho, yes, I think I’ve seen what they do differently.  I don’t think they use those clear coffee liquids at all, oh no.  You see, I’ve WATCHED them.  I’ve sat in my car and WATCHED them pour some sort of thick, opaque syrup into measuring cups!  That’s right, I’ve been putting lies into my coffee at home.  Torani and DaVinci glass bottles with fancy little pictures of caramel?  LIES.  That’s not the flavor I really want, that’s the stuff that’ll make my drink taste like some airport coffee stand.  I need…  the better stuff.

Now, I’m not socially adept enough to perform advanced level interaction like ‘asking the coffee person at Dutch Bros’, so I had to come at this from another angle.  I cruised every coffee aisle I could, browsed for answers online, but every syrup was basically the same as the stuff that didn’t work until….  yesterday. Leaving my local restaurant supply store, I now had a half gallon jug of ‘Sugar Free Caramel Flavored SAUCE’ and a pump dispenser.  The answer was SAUCE.  I had been searching for syrup, but now I realize Dutch Bros must use a caramel SAUCE.  Of course!

At 6:15 this morning, I decided to get ready for my 6:30 meeting by enjoying a nice, flavorful caramel coffee-that-doesn’t-taste-like-coffee.  Challenge: I tried to install the pump thing and couldn’t get it to close.  I pulled it out, checked for an adjustment, then tried again.  Time is passing, and for some reason I just can’t get this dispenser to lock into place.  Each time I pull it out of the jug, caramel syrup is leaving and dripping places and the sink at work is looking…  pretty strange.

I push and shove and still can’t get it to thread!  I’m an adult, I’ve got a keychain, credit rating, opinions on capital gains, a vacuum cleaner, everything.  The indicators of adult-hood are there, but I STILL can’t get the damn syrup dispenser to lock on.  It’s defeating me, and as I close in on 6:30 I realize that I’m in trouble.  Running back to my desk, I get some scissors and finally figure out that the dispenser tube is wrong (like actually wrong, not ‘I can’t figure it out so it’s wrong-wrong’) and snip an inch off it.  Now, the pump locks into place perfectly.  6:28!  Quickly, I rinse the sink.  I scrub at the bottle, pump some caramel into the coffee cup and fill it, then dart back to my desk and join my call right on time.

Well, even though I may be an adult, I’m not as competent at ‘last second cleaning’ as I thought so as I start to mouse-around and pull up spreadsheets while talking to folks around the country and in Europe, my every movement makes a tiny ‘Tscchk’ noise as the trace particles of caramel stick to things.  I’m able to fix about 80% of this with frantic licking while muted (at least, I think I muted my phone…) but essentially most of this meeting is administered in a fog of caramel-smell while I stick to everything.

That said…  it wasn’t all bad.  You know why?  Because my coffee didn’t taste like coffee.  Why?  Because AMERICA HAPPENED.