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Some Like It Iced

I like coffee. I like men.

I went to Starbucks every single day for more than twenty years. It’s probably closer to thirty. I’m afraid to do the math. Doing something for thirty years is more than my mental age of 28, and frankly, that unnerves me.

I only stopped when we went into the covidian lockdown.

During the quarantine I drank coffee from our k-cup coffee maker. I didn’t love it because I like my coffee iced (like my men).

My Starbucks drink of choice was a venti iced latte with an extra shot. An iced k-cup coffee with milk isn’t as good. Lattes are made with espresso and a shot of espresso is approximately the same caffeine strength as a cup of coffee. My ventis had four shots of espresso. I like my coffee strong (like my men).

I saved a lot of money during the lockdown by not going to Starbucks. Of course, this didn’t make up for how much I spent over the years. Again, I’m scared to do the math, but here goes… multiply 30 years by 330 days a year by $7.00…. Yikes!

Apparently, I like my coffee expensive (like my men).

As the quarantine went on, I got used to drinking my k-cup coffee at home. In some ways, it was better. Aside from the Yikes! factor mentioned above, my trips to Starbucks took a half hour out of my mornings. Now I roll out of bed, pop in a k-cup, then shuffle over to my writing garret to begin my writing day.

By “begin my writing day,” I mean I peruse all the primary news sources: People Magazine, Us Magazine, and Page Six. As an opinion columnist I need to keep up on current events by reading “Stars – They’re Just Like Us!”

Although the world has reopened, I haven’t gone back to my daily Starbucks. It isn’t the same as it was. They no longer don’t allow customers to add their own milk and sugar. You have to order all your add-ins up front. It’s embarrassing asking the barista for seven Splendas and a dollop of half & half. I like my coffee sweet and creamy (like my men). But I don’t like my coffee with side-eye.

Freed from my Starbucks shackles, I asked a friend if she’d like to test out the various Hamptons coffee shops with me. She said she’d let that idea percolate.

My friends are funny.

Anyway, for the past couple months, my friend – who I’ll call Jo – and I travelled near and far to taste the caffeinated offerings.

By far, I mean we went to Southampton, Water Mill, Bridgehampton, Sag Harbor, and Amagansett. Jo lives in Sagaponack, I live in East Hampton, and we didn’t want to schlep all the way to Hampton Bays and then get stuck in that eastbound trade parade on the way home.

We’ll try to check it out during that trafficless sweet spot between the end of the landscapers fall clean up and the beginning of the Christmas rush. This year, the window is December 5th. From 9 and 11am.

Mark your calendars.

We did make plans to go to Bluestone in Montauk, then I got COVID and had to cancel. In fact, I’m writing this column through a miasma of chicken soup, Tylenol, and Mucinex. I’m not being a hero here. I could have asked my editor to extend my deadline. But it’s a column about coffee and I don’t think extra time or anything else can help improve it.

We’re just going to have to soldier on. After I nap.

Jo and I started our coffee tour this summer while the crowds were still here. At Sagtown in Sag Harbor, we were jammed next to the sugar station as we waited for our orders and had to shift spots anytime someone grabbed their Stevia. Jack’s in Amagansett was so tight and chaotic, I got a caffeine buzz before I ordered my drink.

Then came Labor Day. Ahh.

We had a leisurely breakfast at Hampton Coffee in Water Mill. At Pierre’s in Bridgehampton, we ordered our lattes in peace and drank them on a quiet bench. Jo and I had exclusive access to the sofa and chairs tucked in the hedges behind Jack’s. We felt like VIPs at a club. Instead of bottle service we got coffee service. (I wish! We got our own drinks.)

Which place had the best coffee?

I really couldn’t say. As a person who drank Starbucks every day for thirty years, I clearly don’t have discerning taste buds. And that was before I got COVID.

The taste isn’t the point. The point is I was in new places trying new things. Even if it was only coffee, and only in Southampton, Water Mill, Bridgehampton, Sag Harbor, and Amagansett. What I learned in the lockdown is that I don’t have to be such a creature of habit. And as soon as I get over this virus, Jo and I will get to Montauk and maybe Hampton Bays, if we have a good window.

I guess what I’m saying is I like my coffee from many places, hot or cold (like my men).

Do you like how I’ve beaten the “like my men” joke to death? Mr. Hockey won’t. Sometimes he finds me a bit repetitive. Sometimes I find him a bit cool, but I don’t mind.

I like my men icy (like my coffee).

Published in The East Hampton Press on October 20, 2022

Photo by ME!!

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