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Indulging in a caramel mocchiato will never replace a double-double

Ruth Swanson | Interrobang | Opinion | September 12th, 2005

Editorial opinions or comments expressed in this online edition of Interrobang newspaper reflect the views of the writer and are not those of the Interrobang or the Fanshawe Student Union. The Interrobang is published weekly by the Fanshawe Student Union at 1001 Fanshawe College Blvd., P.O. Box 7005, London, Ontario, N5Y 5R6 and distributed through the Fanshawe College community. Letters to the editor are welcome. All letters are subject to editing and should be emailed. All letters must be accompanied by contact information. Letters can also be submitted online by clicking here.
I like Starbucks. Specifically, I like a tall Caramel Macchiato with non-fat milk and sugar-free caramel syrup drizzled on top of the foam. I like drinking my Caramel Macchiato at one of the little tables while I read the newspaper and listen to the new Bob Dylan album (a Starbucks exclusive) that is singing through the speakers. It is a nice place to be when you've got nowhere else to be.

Don't get me wrong; I am a true Tim Horton's addict. I can do absolutely nothing until I've brewed a cup of Tim's take-home, and at 9:30 am I will be in line for the sacred mid-morning caffeine fix that I could not live without. This is the coffee that keeps me from throwing rocks and pushing over little kids' snowmen.

But the must-have Tim Horton's coffee isn't the same as the occasional Starbucks indulgence. Its grandiose presentation ensures, at least for me, that there isn't enough time on most days to wait while the Coffee Sommeliers craft my hot beverage. But on a Saturday morning or after an unusually taxing day at work, I just have to make time to sit and enjoy my fancy coffee.

If coffee was clothes, Tim Horton's would be underwear — you wouldn't dream of continuing the day without them (although there are exceptions to the rule) and everyone has their favorite kind that they rarely deviate from. Starbucks, on the other hand, would be a teal blue sequined leisure suit with matching wing-tipped shoes and a loud tie. It is so over-the-top, so complicated and so fantastic that you can't help but enjoy it. You wouldn't want to see a teal blue sequined leisure suit every day, nor would you want to drink a grandé Iced White Chocolate Mocha Espresso every morning.

In fact, everything about the two chains is polar opposite. A honey-glazed Timbit is quickly replaced by a chocolate hazelnut biscotti; Tim's sells coffeemakers, Starbucks markets espresso machines and French presses; and most importantly, my large regular at Tim's only costs $1.35, while my extravagant cup of java at Starbucks runs somewhere around $86.50 and my left index finger.

Regardless of where I fuel the need or with which blend, method or milk-to-coffee ratio, I have accepted that I will live with this necessity for the rest of my adult life. But coffee makes me happy — the taste, the smell, the sound it makes as it perks in the morning — and I like my addiction.
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