Almost every day for the past four years, I’ve gone to the Starbucks in the Garage and ordered a Venti nonfat chai, a 20-ounce mix of steamed skim milk and sweet, slightly spicy syrup. As I now plan to move on from Cambridge, I’ve discovered a strange fact about this daily indulgence: I’m pretty sure it can’t be recreated elsewhere. Because the treat, it turns out, hasn’t just been the beverage—it’s also been the place where I’ve purchased it.
There’s something about the Garage Starbucks that just works for me. The location is perfect. Unlike its sibling store at the T Stop, there is almost always a seat available. And the décor—hardwood floors, counter seating, glistening tabletops—lends the place the aura of a childhood kitchen. Even with the latest easy-listening hit streaming over the speaker system, the place feels quiet to me, like a respite, a world away from the craze of classes, problem sets, and extracurriculars.
But I think the thing I’ve appreciated most about the Garage Starbucks is the employees. I’ve seen a few dozen baristas come and go since 2008, but somehow, they always seem to know my order and often prepare it for me as a wait in line. They’re always friendly, and I suspect they really do care when they ask about my day. It’s weird to know that while many of the faces have changed, the store itself has remained aware of me. It gives me a sense of permanence.
Harvard is hard, and in four years of learning, changing, and growing, sometimes it’s nice to have a little consistency, a little piece of peace. The Garage Starbucks has been that for me.