When we were preparing to open Moku Roots and were trying to nail down all of our recipes and ingredient sources, we were faced with some decisions to make regarding coffee. I know nothing about coffee as I’m not really a coffee drinker, but luckily we had some friends in town who own a string of award winning coffee houses on the east coast called The Mudhouse who informed or maybe enchanted me with the idea of Nitro cold brewed coffee.
So we set out on a Maui wide hunt for a place to buy kegs to sell at Moku. We quickly stumbled on an article about a shop in Kihei having Nitro so we called…. and called…. and called…. and apparently they don't have a phone number that works. Around this time, I’d heard Starbucks carries it and against my better judgement after numerous times of going to various mainland Starbucks with my own mug, watched the baristas measure my chai in a single use plastic cup, throw it away and pour it into my mug without even a glimmer of consciousness of why I brought the mug in the first place, I went to Starbucks in Lahaina just to try Nitro…
…….Aaaaaaand Lahaina didn’t have it.
Fast forward roughly a year to today. Bill was grabbing some things at Target, I was sitting in the truck reading Freakanomics which we’d parked way the hell over by the entrance to Starbucks so the truck could be in the shade. I notice the only advertisement on Starbucks’ storefront, a logo and the word “Nitro” prominently and exclusively on the door. I wasn’t in the mood for coffee, but today seemed like my day, I had a 12 oz jar with me, albeit a somewhat dirty one, but a billion dollar corporation should certainly own a sponge right?
I walk in to by far the weirdest energy I’ve ever experienced in a coffee shop in my life. There is no one in line and probably 5 people sitting on laptops separated from the rest of the world by noise cancelling headphones and the ambiance is completely devoid of the typical hustle and bustle of a coffee shop or busy restaurant. There are easily the same amount of employees doing various seemingly unimportant tasks. One is replacing the half empty trash bag with yet another plastic trash bag, one is staring sort of blankly at the food display case, possibly trying to mind control the fly that’s made a home on the turkey melt away out of customer’s eyeshot, 2 are chatting in the back, and another is more or less standing waiting to make an order. Approximately 30 seconds later, someone acknowledges that there is now a person who wants a beverage from them and I present my 12 oz mason jar to mind control fly guy, pay my $4.84 for a small, ohh pardon me, “tall”, Nitro coffee and instruct him that it needs to be washed in case he cant tell that it is visibly dirty. He pours a little filtered water into it and dumps it into the sink, not really clean, but I don’t really care enough to say anything at this point, they still haven’t somehow managed to sacrifice a single use plastic cup on my behalf yet so I’m just trying to tread lightly.
I mosey on over 5 feet to my left to the designated pick up area where the anxious-to-barista lady stays. I feel a little awkward just standing there, but you just pull a tap right? No brewing required? But how would I know, I’ve never had it. Then about a minute later, the lady who has been within 4 feet of me this whole time, says “we don’t have Nitro, I haven’t set up the keg in the machine yet.” Even though, it’s literally the only product that this establishment claims to have to the outside world!
So at this point, I’m laughing at myself for even thinking that I could ever have a satisfactory experience at Starbucks, I ask for a refund, and since its one of those days, it takes way too long because now they’re counting the drawer. I wait for my $4.84 and walk out, now noticing that every single person who is on their computer who will probably occupy that same chair for at least 2 hours or about 20X the time it takes to quaff down a frappaccino not only has a single use coffee cup of some kind but also a single use plastic cup with a plastic lid and a plastic straw for water!!!
So I can just put this little gem of an experience into my “get some goddamn reusable dishes!” category, and yes, I’m talking to you Mr Schultz!