Diane Dean-Epps: ’Tis the season for ‘foofy drinks’ | TheUnion.com

Diane Dean-Epps: ’Tis the season for ‘foofy drinks’

’Tis the season for foofy coffee drinks infused with peppermint, pumpkin, gingerbread, and eggnog yumminess.

I love my coffee, and at no time is it ever more apparent than when I’m headed, well, anywhere. It’s just extra apparent during foofy coffee season. It’s my jam. See. I even have an acronym for it.

However, there is one major problem. When foofy coffee season ends I need a 12-step program to get off the stuff. While I enjoy those bright flavor notes in the early days, the discordant jonesing I experience when it’s all over leaves me with a bitter taste in my mouth, and not in a good, “Hey, that’s some intense french roast” way either.

My first memorable experience imbibing fancy coffee drinks with built-in expiration dates was when the cinnamon dolce latte was first trotted out. Introduced to me by one of my many beloved baristas, its tenure was short, and then, “shurp!” (that’s the sound of the cinnamon dolce syrup vat running empty). No more good-time juice for me.

Why? Evidently they’d gotten the information they needed. Forty-eight hours is about all it takes for us java junkies to get hooked on a drink we’d never even heard of the month before. When they took away my dolce vita by discontinuing the cinnamon dolce, I must have stood staring open-mouthed at the revised menu for a full five minutes.

I just couldn’t wrap my under-served, addled brain around the fact that during this blessed season — it was late September — I couldn’t have my blessed roasted gourmet drink.

Worse, when I inquired as to the future of this fine brew I was told it was just an experimental run. They weren’t even sure it would return … ever.

What? How can this happen in America? Is this some sort of governmental plot designed to keep the little people down, and non-energetic? Hot, foamy tears of denial welled up, threatening to spill onto my light jacket along with the coffee jackets sitting on the counter.

I wanted to scream irrationally, “Give me my drink!” The only reason I didn’t is because a) My husband elbowed me letting me know I was holding up the line, which is one of his pet peeves; and b) I had already created a scene by knocking over the gift card rack as my hands also struggled for some sort of self-control.

The rest of that gloomy season of foofy coffee drink discontinuation is a flat white memory. I had to go cold turkey, which meant managing the detox process — if not by actually consuming cold turkey — then certainly by consuming anything else hot, cold, or marginally edible. In short, I ate my feelings.

A year or so passed, I recovered, and then the holidays were upon us. We’re all aware that the true holiday season begins with the October arrival of that most propitious of calendar moments — the unveiling of the pumpkin spice latte. I was back in the game, and I’ve never looked back. While most people look forward to dressing up for Halloween, I look forward to dressing up my caffeinated beverage with a sweet whipped cream hat, and layers of sensory goodness, all buttoned into a cozy cup/sleeve ensemble.

The months that follow are enriched by the added bounty of multiple specialty drinks rolling off the production line, ensuring I’ll be dwelling in my espresso-fueled happy place. Oh, Christmas tree, oh, Christmas tree, the drinks I’ve discovered. The crème brûlée latte, the caramelized apple cappuccino, and who can forget the simple, but exquisite gingerbread spiced coffee?

It’s “Joy to the World” every ding-dong day as I traverse the world with my daily luscious libation clutched tightly in my mittened hand.

I know these sweet treats are “knock your Christmas stockings off” high in calories, so I just work out 14 times a week, instead of my usual 10. I’m also willing to skip entire meals just to savor these treats, sparing no expense either as I purchase one top-dollar beverage after another with verve and plastic.

At this writing, we’re right in the sweet spot of foofy coffee season, but I feel trouble brewing. That’s why I’m determined to be ready this year.

After all, I know the drill. By nature, I’m a perky person with a can-do spirit, so I’ve got this. I’m fluffing out my imaginary cape as I yell, “(Café) au lait!” I’m all in, baby!

Diane Dean-Epps lives in Grass Valley.

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