Dear Independent Coffee shops of NYC…

We have to talk. I’ve been seeing you off and on for a while now, and I feel like we’re just not communicating very well. What is a relationship without communication?

See, when I say, “Large Iced Chai,” I don’t mean, “Please spill a tiny amount of sugar water into a great gobbing cup of milk and ice cubes.” Sadly, that seems to be what you’re hearing. That isn’t iced chai, that’s BABY FORMULA.

The proper amount of milk to balance any chai is so small as to not affect my stomach. When you hoodwink me into drinking 6-10 ounces of cow milk, however, you know how I find out? Half an hour of gastrointestinal distress. Yay! All right! When I get into the elevator with a cute girl at work, I want my stomach to be playing a fugue on the french horn!

All of this leads me to two somewhat painful decisions. The first is to be mostly vegan again. That’s painful because it requires effort, and I was brought up in the 80s, where the Mario Brothers taught me that it’s better to skip levels if you can. Who likes effort?

The second decision is the more final. Unless someone recommends a place specifically, my chai habit will have to be fulfilled at Starbucks once again. I know, it’s tough, but their chai always tastes like chai, and sometimes they even ask about soy milk when I forget to say it. Their chai is spicy, earthy, and savory, and tastes like an actual tea product. Sure, there’s milk and sugar, but it’s just enough to keep everything palatable, not the whole drink.

I guess what I’m really saying is, I’m sorry our relationship had to come to an end, but I think I’ll be happier. There is something to take away from this, though:

it’s not me, it’s you.

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