Saturday, December 20, 2008

A pressing need for average coffee

I'm spending my morning at the information desk at the Artsgarden ("What's the world's fastest land animal?" --"The cheetah."), answering questions ranging from the extremely common ("Where's the mall?") to the extremely obscure ("Which building on Washington Street had its facade moved across the street?" --"The Griffith Block, in the 100W block.") One of my more common questions is, "Where's the closest Starbucks?" And I always answer that there's two on Monument Circle, and I give them directions. Then I tell them that to get to either one you have to walk by the South Bend Chocolate Company, which serves better coffee, especially if you want any kind of coffee-based beverage with chocolate in it; they make their hot chocolate and mocha collection with high-quality melted chocolate, instead of Hershey's syrup. And a surprising number of people aren't interested. They aren't interested in experiencing the best possible chocolate-oriented coffee beverage; they want what they're used to.

The sad part isn't that they're missing out on a supreme beverage experience. The sad part is that anyone so locked into their mental routine that they can't even try a new coffee shop, is almost certainly locked into their other mental routines. I can't imagine the other interesting experiences these people miss out on because they're so attached to their routine of comfortable mediocrity. Rarely, someone will get actively angry that I'm daring to suggest a new experience for them. I feel a little sorry for them.

And, for reference, my favorite beverage at South Bend is the Cafe Wien, which is half coffee, half hot chocolate. It's an exalted level of yummy, if you like coffee and chocolate. If you want a really new experience, ask for a dark wien or a white wien: the same, but made with dark-chocolate or white-chocolate hot chocolate. Yum!

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