Not Enough Sugar

About 8 years ago when I was a server at a smokehouse in Long Island City, a small coffee shop opened up a few blocks away. Tired of our restaurant’s terrible coffee, I walked over there before my shift and ordered “a large coffee, light and sweet, please.”

The barista poured the coffee, handed me the cup, and saw me make a sorta surprised face. 

"Milk and sugar are in the back," he muttered, clearly frustrated.

This was my first ever experience in a coffee shop, having only gone to Dunkin Donuts or bodegas. I hadn’t even ever been in a Starbucks, and yes, it is difficult to admit that I was once an adult who had never before walked into a Starbucks. Why did I just pay 2 dollars for a cup of coffee if he’s not even gonna put milk or sugar in it? I wondered. Does everybody know this?

That coffee shop went out of business about 3 months later. 

Probably for being assholes.

I don’t even drink coffee with sugar anymore, but from childhood to just a few years ago, I would always ask for a little White Pony in my coffee, and it was often difficult. Either the barista had to reach under the counter and give me not enough, or I’d have to leave a long coffee line to then join a long sugar line behind a man adding it to his coffee grain by grain.

When I was 10, I was having coffee with an uncle who had just arrived from Colombia, and my mom brought over some sugar. He passed, and I made a face before I put three spoons into my cup. He then looked at me seriously and said, “One day, when you are a man, you will realize that coffee is best without sugar, and only then will you know coffee.” It was a moment that has stuck with me, and I try to apply that lesson to every facet of my life. However, even though I’d like to consider myself an adult male, I gotta say - a little sugar never killed anyone.