Love Macchiato

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For twelve years, I was fortunate to work for one of the world’s most respected brands in the coffee industry; Starbucks. The company was and still is known for coffee innovation, providing a great work environment for their employees and legendary customer experience. Starbucks was a great opportunity for me to build a foundation and  grow into a leader as well as realize how my decisions left an imprint or mark on those I led. I recall one espresso moment that would remind me how my handcrafted life would leave a macchiato.

One of Starbucks signature beverages is the Caramel Macchiato. The beverage is handcrafted to perfection with perfectly steamed milk, foam, vanilla, espresso shots and caramel drizzle on top in a hatch cross pattern with two circles.  The word macchiato is Italian which means to stain or mark. So in this case, you are staining or marking the steamed milk with espresso and caramel.

The taste of the caramel macchiato is somewhat sweet. Many who ordered the beverage, especially in the south, thought the drink should be prepared REAL sweet because of the caramel drizzle ingredient.  For some who were new to espresso beverages, they were in for a surprise. The shot of espresso, which was held by the foam, was more pronounced in flavor than that of a  latte. The surprise was more of a concentrated espresso taste which some didn’t prefer. Of course at Starbucks we prided ourselves on the philosophy of “Just say yes” and making the drink according to how the customer wanted it to taste.  In some cases, we made the drink “upside down” or like a vanilla, caramel sauce latte to accommodate the “espresso virgin.”

A few years ago, the company decided to promote the caramel macchiato beverage and introduced two new flavors; vanilla macchiato and hazelnut macchiato.  I recall tubes and drizzle bottles of yummy goodness everywhere. Each of the sauces had a unique taste and when iced, you would be sure to slurp up any sauce that made it’s way to the bottom of the cup! A true memorable moment!

With this macchiato promotion came a BOGO (buy one, get one) event.  For the customer, a true delight to partake, for the partner (employee) working the event, drizzle stickiness everywhere. There was a moment during this BOGO event I would never forget.  Amongst the sea of macchiatos a customer asked why we didn’t just do a swirl or some zigzag to make it easier or faster instead of going through the hatch cross and two circles for EVERY macchiato. After all, on the hot beverages, the beautiful design was covered.  My response, “We could, however this is the recipe, and the signature marking that distinguishes the beverage.”

Over the next few macchiatos I would make at this BOGO event I noticed how each drink was patterned in the image and likeness of the original hatch cross with two circles. Even though I followed the pattern each caramel macchiato was slightly different depending on the angle of the drizzle bottle or the consistency of the sauce. Each drink, although patterned, had it’s own mark.

As I look back on the beautifully handcrafted caramel macchiato beverage I am reminded of how we are patterned or created beautifully in the image and likeness of God. Gen 1:27 says “So God created people in his own image; God patterned them after himself male and female he created them.” Who is God? God is love! God loves you and He always will and we were patterned in the image of love. We were created by love, created for love and created to love. Love is our DNA, love is our mark, love is our macchiato.

So what is your macchiato or mark that you leave with others? What are you known for? Is your life patterned in the image and likeness of God and therefore of love? It is!  When we embrace that we are created in His image and likeness we can’t help but leave a mark, an imprint or a love macchiato with each individual we come in contact with. How we express our love to others may be different or unique to us, however our love macchiato is valuable and needed in the world.

One of my favorite phrases I love to say is: “There is always an opportunity to walk in love.” I will admit, I have often said this nonchalant, as to brush off what I was really created to do; which is walk in love, truly leaving a love macchiato. When we really look at it, every opportunity we have with others we make that choice to either walk in what we were created for or not.  When we walk in love, we are truly making our mark or love macchiato that will never be erased.

So I will ask you…What is your macchiato?

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