by Marc Cullison [mcullison.com]
The other day I had a few minutes to kill so I dropped into the local coffee shop for a cappuccino. Now, I have to be honest with you. In this small town, the term coffee shop is used loosely. They do sell coffee, pastries (they are ordered in), sandwiches (fairly decent), and other things like cutsy stuff and knick-knacks (not the kind of things one would expect to find in a coffee shop.) Well, I ordered a cappuccino. I should have known better, since on previous occasions, the cappuccinos were little more then espresso-flavored milk, but I thought I’d be fair and give them another chance.
I asked the girl at the counter, “Can you make a traditional cappuccino? One part espresso to one part milk?”
After a quizzical look, “Oh, sure,” she said.
I told her I’d take a medium.
She ground the coffee beans, heated and frothed the milk and assembled the drink. The cup was full to the brim with much more milk than espresso. I took a sip, knowing what I’d experience.
“This isn’t a cappuccino,” I said. “It’s nothing more than espresso-flavored milk.”
“Well,” she said, “that’s the way we make our cappuccinos.”
And what is wrong here? The girl didn’t give a hoot about the customer. And, I suppose, neither did all of the other baristas (I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt) who had worked there and served me an espresso-flavored milk.
So, what possesses a person to open a coffee shop that serves espresso drinks and doesn’t know how to make them? Why would anyone ever choose to go back there? Well, there is a television that spews its drivel through the room. If I wanted to listen to that, I would have stayed home. And there are the sandwiches, which are not too bad. Oh, and the lovely view of the barren parking lot in front of the establishment, replete with heat waves radiating upward into the hot air.
Well, there you have an idea of the cultural offerings of my town. That’s why I don’t go there much. Not unless I have business there. It’s just not a pleasant place to be. There are a few, and I mean only a few, decent places to eat if you don’t want fast food. Only two grocery stores, one of which is Walmart (and I’m not going there, right now) and the other is an IGA with limited selection of food stuffs.
But I enjoy my coffee. As I wrote in a previous blog, I am a coffee snob. I like cappuccino. What a shame that the only shop in town capable of making one won’t do that. The customer is not a factor. Only the desire of the barista and, I’m guessing the owner of the shop, who is never there that I’ve been able to tell. Without supervision and training of the employees, what does the customer have to look forward to?
That’s why I will probably never set foot in the shop again. I’ll make my cappuccinos at home. I can do a pretty decent one with my espresso machine. Right now, that’s my only option.
So, another business might bite the dust any time, but if the local population enjoys mediocre service and products, it might just continue to survive.