Adventures In Ordering An Espresso

(Courtesy of Wikipedia)

A recent (The Customer is) Not Always Right post made me think about the first time I tried ordering an espresso coffee drink.

It was the summer of my freshman year (1999) at LeTourneau University in Longview, Texas. I was working as an environmental field technician for an environmental consulting company who had their offices in the downtown area.

Off and on throughout the summery, my boss would occasionally bring in a cup of coffee for everyone (all three of us). The cool part about this coffee is that it was not the typically black sludge that most Texans drank back them (and still do).


This coffee was sweet and creamy with a wonderful smooth flavor. Ah…it even brought back memories of sitting under a tree in Costa Rica drinking freshly brewed coffee right off the plantation with pure cane sugar. (yeah, that was a fun time!)

Immediately, I fell in love with this new West Coast style coffee.

It was with great expectation then that one day during my lunch hour I walked across the street and into the new coffee shop. Having heard a bit of the coffee lingo from my boss and some Northwest/West Coast college friends, I promptly and confidently ordered an espresso

(Courtesy of Wikipedia)

The horror I felt that day as the barista sat before me a small thimble sized cup full of the thickest, brownest sludge I’ve ever seen still echos through my bones.

Horror and shock.

Where was my creamy 12oz cup of heaven? What did I do wrong? Ah the emotions of it all flowed through my veins…

Yet, not wanting to appear like an idiot who didn’t know what he ordered, I drank the bitter sludge – in one gulp… (not recommended!!)

It was weeks before my courage returned and I ventured once more into the coffee shop. Only this time I was armed with a new word:


The magical word that, when coupled with the word “vanilla“, turned the brown espresso sludge into heaven in a cup.

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