from nyc to gta, from coffee shops to starbucks

It all started with iced coffee.

I love iced coffee. I need it. In the summer, I am addicted to it. (I am a caffeine addict anyway, and in summer it becomes more intense.) I came to southern Ontario, and there was no iced coffee. To quote myself:
When we landed in Canada on August 30, 2005, little did I know that a smooth, cold, delicious iced coffee, ice cubes rattling in a plastic cup, my summer safety valve, my five-month-a-year addiction, would become an elusive quest.

Where is iced coffee?? Not frozen cappuccinos, not "Coolattas" or "Icespressos" or Mochafrappuyaddayaddaccinos. Iced Coffee.

. . .

Last year I was shocked to find that this simple recipe was unobtainable from my local Second Cup. Tim Hortons was no better. But we were very busy - painting, unpacking, filling out forms, buying everything in Ontario - and I ignored the warning signs of growing dread.

Here we are eight months later, warm weather on the way, and not an iced coffee in sight.

The closest I can find is Starbucks' Iced Americano. This is bad on so many levels. First, must I order something called an Americano? Next, must I go to Starbucks? And lastly, must I go to Starbucks and order an Americano??

This urgent problem was solved by two friends and Starbucks.

In New York City, I avoided Starbucks on principle. You cannot imagine how that company has taken over the landscape of New York, how much blame it assumes for The Great Homogenization. If I told you there was a Starbucks on every block of midtown, you'd think I was exaggerating, but you'd be wrong. World domination by coffee.

I wouldn't have minded so much if they weren't all exactly alike. You young 'uns may not know this, but there was a time when every cafe and restaurant had individual character and its very own menu.

I will admit I broke my private boycott after I got my iPAQ. Starbucks offered wireless hotspots from my cell-phone provider, and that was a big thing back then. But I still kept my Starbucks usage to a minimum, and only went there when I needed an internet connection.

Then we moved to the Toronto area, and I couldn't find iced coffee. Starbucks was my only option. I still tried to avoid it, and felt a bit guilty whenever I succumbed.

Then two things happened that put me over the edge.

One, someone at work gave Allan a Starbucks card as a gift. He turned it over to me. Free coffee! Free yogurt parfaits! Then I reloaded it...

And two, Starbucks started carrying iced brewed coffee.

The end. I am now a Starbucks user all the way, happily reloading that same card, guzzling refreshing iced coffees in the summer and yummy extra-shot lattes in the winter.

I don't like the coffee at Tim Hortons at all, and only drink it in a pinch. I do like Second Cup, but they don't serve iced coffee. What's a girl to do.

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