I'm standing in line in a well air-conditioned room, and I'm sweating. Why? Because, one by one, the well-quaffed and smooth-tonged coffee intelligentsia in front of me are thinning out, and I'm frightfully aware that it will soon be my turn to stammer through an order. If preaching a sermon with Bill in the audience is my #1 fear, close on its heels is the thought of getting to the front of the line in Starbucks or Yaks and my mind going blank with twenty-some odd coffee intelligentsia looking on.  

intelligentsia |inˌteliˈjentsēə|noun (usu. the intelligentsia) [treated as sing. or pl. ]intellectuals or highly educated people as a groupesp. when regarded as possessing culture and political influence.
I don't like the poorly-disguised smirk of superiority on the face of the High School kid behind the counter as I'm forced to use a rudimentary form of sign language to indicate the size cup I would like to drink out of. I don't like the pregnant conversation pauses and snide side-long glances coming from the table to my left as its occupants enjoy my obvious discomfort when asking the apparently ridiculous question "what does 'breve' mean again?'" I guess I just don't like feeling like you need to have a high I.Q. or speak Italian to order a good cup of coffee.

If I could assemble a cast of singers and actors, borrow a nice video camera and someone's coffee shop, I'd make a hilarious commercial to highlight this ominous turn towards the 'dark side' that is currently underway in American culture. But since I can't, the following video will have to do...

I mourn only that Dunkin' Donuts exist in our area... sorry. My issue is not with good coffee, fancy coffee -- even good, fancy coffee made in Italy. I don't even care so much about the price; good coffee is worth its weight in gold. My issue is with the coffee shops (or 'boutiques,' or whatever they're called now) abandoning English words for the pomp of Italian words under the pretense of 'culture,' so that many good, honest, hard-working Americans feel dumb when they try to order a good, honest, hardworking cup of coffee.

I beg of you, for the sake of national pride and my fragile self-confidence -- just call a spade a spade and pour me a good, strong cup of joe.

Surrounded By Grace,


  1. Oh c'mon Josh! You'll never convince me that your IQ isn't high enough to order at Starbucks... such modesty!

  2. No, seriously... I really, really can't keep 'venti' straight from... now see, I can't even remember the other two categories! And that's my point - why should I have to? Isn't the rest of life complicated enough? Why should I have to remember words in a foreign language on my "off" time?

    I enjoy the taste of coffee tremendously, but c'mon, let's be honest - it's a survival tool designed to trick a brain working on 5 hours of sleep into thinking it's had 8 hours of sleep so it doesn't conduct a coup against the will and send the body into an involuntary coma. So that when I stumble into a coffee shop with my brain and my will on the verge of war, the last thing I want to do is ask the brain for a favor... like thinking in Italian. Hence my plea for English.

    Nothing like a good rant. I'm having too much fun now though. Thank you for the compliment anyhow. I'll take it.

  3. Ernie Says..

    Venti Breve Chai Latte.
    This is my usual order. Let me interpute the Fritalian for you.

    Large Black Tea with steamed Half-N-Half.

    The Starbucks fritalian name sound cool but it is still just a Black Tea with cream. And you should be able to read in ENGLISH the menu board. You should be able to pronouce the words without a special decoder ring.

    I am with you Josh!!


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*Grace induces faith & Grace is obligated to faith ~