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  • You should run a mile from the cafe when...

    What are the tell-tale signs on entering a cafe (or even before) which ring alarm bells in your mind, which tell you to run a mile, because you aint gonna get a proper espresso/cappuccino or whatever.

    In country towns, I peer through the doorway to see whether the machine has a commercial E-61 group for starters. Anything remotely resembling an electric jug or urn-- and dont bother walking in. Um, the display of lamingtons, jam tarts and other 1950s AD PE (pre-European) pastries doesnt bode well, either, in my humble experience. Chances are the establishment has just graduated from seving tea, to instant coffee. "Ex-presso? Whats that, love?"

    What are YOUR vital signs?

  • #2
    Re: You should run a mile from the cafe when...

    SIGHT - dirty  > or clean steam wand ;D/ cleanliness of hopper and level of beans in hopper relative to how busy they are/ level of ground coffee in the dosing chamber - hopefully none to minimal ;D/ cleanliness of staff uniform - tells a lot about how they work/ funky, comfortable, inviting looking decor (yes I am shallow and that draws me in!!)/ really good menu boards with clear bold writing so I can browse past from a distance and see prices and ingredients etc.

    SOUND - milk screeching  > vs lovely hissing ;D

    SMELL - freshly ground coffee  ;D / freshly baked cakes or muffins etc.- tells me they value quality and dont buy mass produced products

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    • #3
      Re: You should run a mile from the cafe when...

      Im talking about country towns here...

      Fair go.... You dont go to these places expecting a coffee of the standard we take for granted at home.  And you probably are better off trying some decent homemade soup or pies or whatever else theyre offering and having a decent cup of tea.  Id much rather go to one of these places and do that than pay $4.50 for a cup of rancid dishwater served up by a wanker in a black muscle-shirt whod sneer at you as if you were ignorant when you rejected the garbage he was trying to serve up after his fake-tan sporting offsider had just finished asking: "So whatve you got planned for tonight?".

      Id go for "slightly behind the times" over  "pretentious urban chic / shiny machine but no-one knowing how to use it" any day of the week.  :-)

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      • #4
        Re: You should run a mile from the cafe when...

        I am really offended by your reply and I was only trying to join in and offer an answer to your question.

        I am really, really upset.

        And give country towns some credit.

        They are not behind the times.







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        • #5
          Re: You should run a mile from the cafe when...

          Dont be offended C8....the issue is not that important I have seen good and bad coffee shops in the city and the country....

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          • #6
            Re: You should run a mile from the cafe when...

            "Chances are the establishment has just graduated from seving tea, to instant coffee. "Ex-presso? Whats that, love?"


            C8H10N402 -   The above is the quote that I was referring to - and I dont really think Robusto was even being that critical!  His post was a follow up to Andys funny picture from the houseboat. I agree with him!

            I thought my reply was pretty clearly in defence of country towns and an attack on wannaba city cafes, which I find more offensive than an honest place in the country trying to survive on a clientele which missed the turnoff to McDonalds.

            I certainly agree with everything you wrote, which is why I felt the need to value the archetypal Aussie cafe.  This is despite being subjected to the fare offered in places such as Goulburn throughout the 70s, 80s and 90s before the bypass.  My point is - and obviously I made it poorly - that these places have a unique charm (and often excel in areas other than coffee).  The analogy is that you dont go to certain parts of the world and expect air-conditioning and running water.  This is why you go there.  Sorry if you took it personally!

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            • #7
              Re: You should run a mile from the cafe when...

              The brand of beans a cafe uses can be telling. Having said that I cant remember the last time I saw beans that werent from Melbourne or Sydney, and would have been fairly old (2 weeks plus).
              Unfortunately I cant think of a cafe I frequent that uses locally roasted beans. A couple use Tobys which I must admit are better than average and delivered within a day or two of roasting most of the time.
              Grinders with an automatic refill mechanism so that the doser is always full, theyre a worry. Practical in a world of commercial realities but...
              Im from Tamworth originally, and when I go back there, country town cafes really scare me. Ask for a piccolo... quizzical looks followed by our latte glasses are pretty small anyway..." umm thats fine.
              Turnover can be an indicator. One of the cafes I go to during my lunch break here in Newcastle uses a 2 group ECM Veneziano. Nice machine, bugger to clean, but as a HX E61, if it isnt in fairly constant use a cooling flush would be nice, but not a common practice. The tamper (hey at least they use one) is sitting on a chux on the drip tray, this means the surface of the tamper is damp
              I see a tonne of fast pours or pours that turn yellow early and go on and on. If you make comment you are either a freak or that fussy guy.
              I think Im going to have to get into french press coffee. That way I can grind and prepare the coffee myself whilst at work.

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              • #8
                Re: You should run a mile from the cafe when...

                What about when you ask for a double strength espresso and get a large cappucino cup almost overflowing?

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                • #9
                  Re: You should run a mile from the cafe when...

                  Have you ever seen a setup where you walk in and are reassured initially by the sight of some fairly flash hardware on the counter, only to be presented with something that would make the dreaded "International Roast" look like nectar?
                  The cafeteria that is owned by the business where I work has a reasonably new 3-group Rancilio and a big Gino Rossi grinder, but they STILL persist with serving coffee from a sort of glass refillable heated resevoir that is part of the espresso machine, so you have to insist "No! not from there, grind me a fresh one please" which is banged out from the 1 litre capacity, always full, auto-fill doser on the Rossi. I dont drink milk drinks at home but if I have a coffee from work, I usually do to disguise the taste!
                  My boss has a fully auto Saeco with fresh beans in his exec kitchen which is marginally better.
                  I think Im gonna put something small like a Carezza on the spare desk behind me in my office :-)

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                  • #10
                    Re: You should run a mile from the cafe when...

                    I avoid them ALL. I refuse to pay 30-40 times what it costs to make my espresso at home for what at BEST will only equal my homebrew and in the vast majority of cases not even be in the same league.

                    Java "Coffee Snobs of the world unite!" phile
                    Toys! I must have new toys!!!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: You should run a mile from the cafe when...

                      Im with you, Java.  I simply wont buy it from a cafe. (With a very few exceptions).

                      At work, people ask why I dont drink coffee, and I say "I dont drink coffee at work because I drink coffee."  Seems a little cryptic - but hey - being a CS is about alienation and separating the USes from the THEMs, aint it?

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                      • #12
                        Re: You should run a mile from the cafe when...

                        My learning experience took me from bumming around Rome for a couple of weeks, where I couldnt find any bad coffee to Australia (Perth), where the first coffee shop that I found served one of the worst cappuccinos Ive ever tasted. Well thats what I thought at the time. Since then Ive found that the coffee shop where I work (which has a wonderful atmosphere and decent food) serves coffee so bad that even a hot mocha tastes bitter without extra sugar.

                        These days I view buying coffee from a coffee shop more of an adventure. Besides, coffee is more than a drink, its an experience, so a good coffee from a shop with a good ambience is worth looking for.

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                        • #13
                          Re: You should run a mile from the cafe when...

                          Ive found that ever since my whole setup came together I simply have no interest in brewed coffee. The few times Ive stooped to buying some out of pure desperation it tasted so horrible I never took more than that first sip. All the espresso drinks Ive bought in similiar desperate straights while generally of a higher caliber were made drinkable only by ordering a latte with the liberal addition of flavored syrups. :-X

                          Ive since given up getting my java fix when away from home and on extended time away have turned to other sources for the needed caffine. :-/ A sad state of affairs when every other corner has a coffee shop.

                          Java "If the Aliens ever beam me up theyd better get my java toys too or things will NOT go well!" phile
                          Toys! I must have new toys!!!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: You should run a mile from the cafe when...

                            Originally posted by sharkboy link=1117440807/0#6 date=1117458355
                            Unfortunately I cant think of a cafe I frequent that uses locally roasted beans.
                            We were in Melbourne recently for 10 days of holiday. As we were staying in Flinders Lane, we tried out a few coffee places around there. There was one little shop just up the Lane between Elizabeth and Spencer that had a counter top roaster. Thats where we had our morning fix before heading off to sight-see.

                            Ron

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                            • #15
                              Re: You should run a mile from the cafe when...

                              When you walk in to the place and place your order and PBTC no. 1 says to PBTC no. 2 a short distance away "How do you make them again?"  Looking at my friend with worry in my eyes, we walk outside and not so eagerly await our drinks.  
                              Out they come, with a few flecks of white/blonde stuff on the top of the black water inside the cup.  My very Italian friend takes the said concoctions back inside and tells PBTC no. 1 that he wouldnt use these to put out fires with.  PBTC no. 2, who gave the instructions to PBTC no. 1, then makes us 2 more concoctions.  These were marginally better than the first, but drinkable.
                              We then attend another cafe, which had been serving excellent espressos the day before, we order and sit down.  Looking over at the young PBTC, past the shiny grinders, she then turns around away from the grinders and opens a plastic container full of ground coffee.  She then scoops the coffee out and goes to work on the shiny 3 group.  Out they came, thin, watery and with with a crema that had just about dissipated in the time she put the drinks down and we turned to say thankyou.  We then walked out and went to the nearby pub and had a few ales to clear our throats.
                              I can name and shame these places if desired.
                              All the best,
                              Steve.

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