To Drink in the DivineBeing raised in a home without the daily smell of freshly brewed coffee, the smell became acquainted, for me, with the sense of adventure and, eventually, comfort. We didn't go out to eat a lot when I was a child so I wasn't able to soak in that earthy, rich smell from restaurants. The only place I was able to float on the thick, luscious smell was when I slept over at Grandma and Grandpa Guercio's house.
During those times, I would wake up early as the morning sun burst through the sheer curtains and the gentle breeze touched them, causing them to sway. The sound of sizzling bacon, "old" music from the "old" radio atop their fridge and Grandma's voice floated on the air. The smell of freshly mown, dewy grass, crisp air and coffee filled my head and, something in that entire sensory experience, solidified within me the knowledge that I was so loved - am so loved.
I didn't actually try drinking coffee until I was 16 and had started my first job at a McDonald's located near one of Salt Lake's water parks. When I would work the morning shift and they would be cooking bacon and brewing coffee, the only thing I would be missing was the musical aspect of waking up at Grandma and Grandpa's house. I would feel happy and curious and decided if coffee smelled that good, it had to taste good too. Right?
I remember taking a huge gulp of the scalding liquid one morning when my curiosity finally got big enough to create bravery. Aside from burning all the skin off the top of my mouth, the acrid blackness tasted nothing like I had imagined it would. I sputtered and spewed out the nasty-tasting, steaming fluid and gagged. My friends laughed hard enough they began to cry. I swore off the horrible stuff for life, swearing to never drink another drop, yet still cherishing the rich scent of early morning brews.
However, years later, I began to dabble in the art of coffee. Our fair city had quaint coffee shops popping up all over the place and "going for coffee" began to be a way of life for many of my friends. I loved to go sit with them for hours in that smell of contentment, never drinking anything, but loving being there. Then I heard about mochas and lattes and fancy hot chocolate drinks. My curiosity piqued and I could feel my bravery growing and the journey began again when ventured into splashing drops of coffee into my hot chocolate.
My love of drinking coffee began in a coffee shop called Beans and Brews. I've tried almost every other coffee shop in the valley but none of them can get the exact taste I love. Beans and Brews nails it every single time. My favorite? 20 oz. White Mocha Latte with only one shot of espresso, caramel sauce and hazelnut.
The days I choose to indulge my senses and treat myself to that gift I have eight different Beans and Brews locations to choose from on the way to work. I've tried them all. There is only one location wherein I have experienced the entire pleasant experience I hope to have with my coffee and that is because they have Tony. I happened upon this location on 5600 West 3069 South merely by accident and it has been one of the happiest discoveries of this decade.
Without fail, when I step into that coffee shop, Tony has a real smile on his face. He seems to thoroughly enjoy his job and is courteous and helpful and SMILING! He smiles while he welcomes me. He smiles while he takes my order. He smiles while he prepares my coffee. He smiles while he cleans the espresso machine. He smiles while he hands me my coffee. He smiles while he bids me goodbye.
There is an element of pure joy and love radiating from within him out into the space in which he stands. It touches me and those around me, as a gift of priceless divinity. I feel my day turning around and have realized I will purposefully seek out his coffee shop to raise my spirits on days I feel down or sad.
The world can be a pretty dark place at times these days and a place where customer service is seriously not the top goal on most people's list. I remember a time when the most important training in a customer service position was that the employee was there to pleasantly serve the customer. In a world where, more often than not, I am greeted by a person with as much oompf! as a limp, sour dishcloth at the register, it is a pleasant reprieve to order my coffee from a young man who tells me he smiles because he absolutely loves his job.
It has become a reciprocal circle. I'm growing to love coffee and wanting a taste more frequently than I used to. Tony loves his job. I love going to Beans and Brews because they do it right, but I truly love going to Tony's location because he does it right. They get more business. I get comfort. Tony gets the opportunity to do what he loves. I get the opportunity to feel love. And that circle of joy is what has created within me loyalty to that location.
Because, when I find a good thing - something I truly love - I will hang on to it and cherish it. Raise your cups to Tony, my friend. Through his innate, seemingly joyful nature, he is changing this world one cup of coffee at a time!
© Angie K. Millgate 5/26/09