A “Pam Latte” it’s been called at the cafes I’ve frequented. A CA friend (who owned a coffee/tea bar) named it “Tea Done Wight” and offered it on her bar menu.
That all changed when I moved from the Bay Area to New England. I had to re-introduce my tea of choice to the new establishment.
In the beginning, back in the fall right after I moved to this Boston suburb, I had to ask for the whole caboodle:
“May I please have a Grande tea latte, no water, Earl Gray, skim milk, steamed hot with a quarter pump of vanilla, foam, double cupped.”
As with my other favorite cafes (before they got to know me, and my drink), the barista looked confused, maybe even a bit worried. He also scared me a little. He wore a short frizzy ponytail, a frown, and a worry line down the middle of his brow.
“Gary’s nice,” my daughter assured me when I first began meeting her here at the crack of dawn, before her day of teaching and mothering and wife-ing. “He’s just quiet.”
“No water?” he asked in the beginning (as they all do).
“No – non-fat milk please.”
“Does that mean skim milk?”
I’ve discovered that in CA they call it non-fat milk. In MA, they call it skimmed milk. Goes back to the old days, when housewives actually had to skim the fat off the top. Or so I’ve been told.
Those in both the left and right coasts call my hot drink “weird,” until I get them to try it. Then they become converts.
Now, five months later in my new, New England cafe, I walk in the door at 6:08 a.m and feel welcomed. Gary nods at me when I stagger in sleepily. As soon as he sees me come through the door he begins my latte.
He doesn’t have a name for it yet.
But more importantly, he hands it to me with a smile.