Wednesday, May 04, 2005

bad coffee part II

This rant will be {kinda} brief. So one obvious reason that espresso is, on the whole, not made very well is because the staff doesn't know what they're doing. To mitigate this, the owner needs to either hire better staff or take the intelligence out of the equation. Hence Starbucks move to full automatic machines. A machine made coffee is like a machine built bicycle wheel. It works but the handmade is much nicer in the right hands.

So I decide to get an espresso with my gelato last pm and they have semi automatic machines. This means that the flow of water handled by pressing a button with an icon for one cup, two cups, etc. I order a double and she puts a cappucino cup {error #1, cup way too big} under the spouts. She grinds and hits the #2 button. All is well and what's coming out actually looks quite good. She peers into the cup and then....

... presses the button again.

"Noooooooooo" I say frantically, "that's good. That's good. I'll take it as is." She's not happy but it's hard to care. They dumbed down the system so the staff wouldn't make errors and then staff goes out of their way to make a huge error. She would have turned a decent drink into a puddle of nasty bitter dreck.

[Footnote] One might call me extremely particular (not a compliment) that I would notice or care about the cup size but, hey... it does. An espresso is a delicate fleeting thing. It tastes decidedly better within the first 45 seconds of its life and degrades rapidly. It's best to finish it inside of 3-4 minutes. To speed up its death, put it in a cold big cup and it's already sub optimal and not nearly as hot even before you get it. So there it is. If you go to a top notch cafe, you'll notice that they preheat the tiny cup with hot water and you tend to get your espresso without even a moment's delay. As the last dribble lands, they're handing it to you. That's because they get it.

So much for this being short. :^S

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