It’s More Than Coffee

I have an understated addiction to vanilla lattes. When I first had coffee that wasn’t out of the pot in my kitchen, I ordered a vanilla cappuccino from our small town coffee shop. It tasted dandy, and once I knew I liked it (I don’t venture much with unique concoctions), I ordered it regularly. One day the barista asked me, “Have you ever tried a latte? It’s like a cappuccino, only richer. More milk, and fuller bodied.” I didn’t realize she meant it would make me fuller-bodied by drinking them (ha) but I relented, and let her talk me in to trying it.

Lord. Have. Mercy. If you want to be a real friend to someone, you talk them into trying a latte. Today. Be a friend.

That was more than 15 years ago, and I’ve been an avid latte lover since. Here in the biggest-small-town-in-the-US, we have a plethora of coffee shops. It’s one of the reasons I love living here. I can go anywhere in town, grab some heaven in a cup, and be on my way. I can. But I don’t.

Coffee

I don’t go just anywhere, because I go to one place. I can’t even sit down inside; it’s only a drive thru. But I’m loyal. Very loyal.

When I worked in Corporate America, I was in the wealth management division of a local bank. The branch I worked in was located in a plaza, with all kinds of businesses, eateries, shops…and one little coffee kiosk at the opposite end of the parking lot. I drove through one morning before work, ordered my latte, and was treated the nicest I have ever been treated by any barista ever. Ever.

Once I was in my office, I took a sip and about fell over. It was the best – BEST – tasting latte I had ever had. In my LIFE. I immediately became a dedicated customer, and returned several times every week for my morning fix.

It wasn’t just the latte, though. Amanda (who’s name I only came to know from overhearing someone else say it) is the most thoughtful, conversational, authentic, interested, loving, compassionate person I know on this planet. And I don’t really even know her. But she knows me. The third time I ever drove through, she asked, “The usual?” She had my order memorized after two visits. TWO. She cried with me after we lost Harlynn. She asked me about our move. Just this morning she asked me about the massage I had earlier this week. She remembers everything. And she asks about everything. She knows who my husband is, asks him if he’s going to get me a coffee if he drives through by himself, and she spoils us with the most delicious lattes ever. Have I mentioned they taste amazing?

The price can’t be beat, either. I don’t care that I live further away, that I’m no longer working in the same parking lot as the little kiosk, or that there are other kiosks of the same shop other places in town. I drive to the same one, to have “my” same coffee lady serve me up. Earlier this week when I treated myself, she said, “I really enjoyed your article in the paper – you did a great job.” She knows more about me than some of my friends, I’m telling you. And she remembers it all. This morning (treating myself again, because I’m not admitting I have a problem) I pulled up and said, “I think I need a big one today.” Boom. Twenty ounces of heaven in a cup, at the ready, asking about the massage I told her about four days ago, and how my day was going.

Every time Brent gets a coffee he comments about how amazing she is, and how he wishes he could remember half of what she does. She treats us like we’re her only customers. Or her favorite. And goodness knows, she treats everyone like that. She is incredible.

It’s more than just the coffee. It’s more than me paying so little for something so insanely delicious. I go back, and go out of my way, and look for excuses to get out of the house in the morning, so I can spend time chatting with Amanda and being poured into. It’s completely selfish, and an absolute indulgence, but God as my witness, Amanda gets it. She knows how to treat people, how to cater to more than their taste buds, and how to foster a business and a relationship. She is the epitome of the golden rule.

I would pay twice as much to get a coffee from her kiosk (but I’m so so glad I don’t have to).  I have my pick of the litter when it comes to local coffee shops, but hands down – my pick is the Northstar kiosk on 32nd Avenue.

I want to challenge you (and myself) today to pour into your relationships with as much purpose and intention you desire to receive from others. And if you’re local – you won’t regret switching up your coffee routine for a cup of genuine warmth from my favorite kiosk. Just remember who sent you there, and you can thank me later with a 16 oz skinny vanilla latte with whip. Or, you know, with a “thank you”.

What will you do to pour into someone this week?