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  • Cant get a decent coffee!

    I have been working away from home, in Northern Victoria, we are extending a shopping centre.
    In the shopping centre there are 4 or 5 shops with espresso machines, a donut place, and ice cream place and some food places.
    Now I love my morning capp or late, and not 1 of these shops can serve a decent cup, in fact it is so bad, sometimes it is undrinkable.
    They either boil the milk, or you can taste old grounds or it is simply crap.

    I have even spoken to the donut guy and told him how bad it is, to which he replys we have the best
    I told him that they are not texturing the milk properly, just blasting it with steam till it is like boiling water, and he just laughed!
    Dont get me wrong, they are not cheap either $3.55 for a medium, you would expect a decent cup.

    Anyway, all I do now is alternate shops and hope for the best.

  • #2
    Re: Cant get a decent coffee!

    Commisserations, Scott. Theres nothing worse than not being able to find a good cup of coffee.

    Oh. Wait. There might be...Nope. Theres nothing worse!!


    Having been away and sampled how the other half live, it seems to be the norm rather than the exception that coffee is ordinary. However, I will say, I did turn a coffee down at one place. Politely of course!! :P

    We were having lunch at a place that made a showcase of their coffee. Anyway, the one that I was made was not so great and even trying to put sugar into it didnt improve the cup at all! So when the waitress came and asked how everything was, I told her, "Food was great. Coffee was not." Her manager came over shortly, apologised, offered another cup, went and made it himself, waited to see if it was better. It was.

    It would have been a simple matter of a dirty machine or something similar but boy, it sure can make a difference to us CSers!! 8-)

    And as a footnote. I dont turn coffee back if I can help it. I dont want to be thought of as a serial coffee rejecter. But I believe that if the cafe/resturant is promoting themselves as a great coffee purveyor then I expect nothing less. And sometimes they dont know either if they are serving up a bad cup to you. Its nice to let them know, as I would also want the same feedback from customers.

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    • #3
      Re: Cant get a decent coffee!

      Hi
      As a cafe owner i prefer it when someone sends a coffee back if they dont like it so i can make another. The only time i get anoyed is when they send it back for being cold when they like it boiling but dont tell me, we now have a note on the menu stating that the coffee is served 65c to 70c and if they like it hotter to please ask.
      So far its worked well.

      LE

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      • #4
        Re: Cant get a decent coffee!

        One of the managers at work left to run a cafe in Burke st. I dropped in and he asked how it was . I said it was ok but not great (milk texture wasnt the best either) and that with in 2 mins walk there were 2 much better. He didnt seem to like it much. I also suggested that a little Latte Art would go astray to either. I got a whole speal on how to took to long yada yada............. "4FS man presentation and you wouldnt do it on takeaways anyway" (i was thinking)

        I never went back needless to say he isnt running it any more and the other 2 cafes are still brewing above average coffees.

        Cheers
        Rich

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        • #5
          Re: Cant get a decent coffee!

          ScottC, its a real pity - country towns arent always known for their high quality coffee. The real challenge is the absolute lack of options that are going to improve the situation, should someone dissapoint (again). Perhaps, as a coffee snob, you should offer to show him how its done and step behind the machine.

          I remember a mate visited me at my mothers home after a couple of days in the town, and I offered to make him a coffee on the Napolitana (thats possibly on its last legs now, but thats another story). After doing an OK job on the pour (without adjusting the grind), and doing an OK job on the texturing, he pulled out his wallet and handed over a $10 note, said keep the change, it was the best coffee hed tasted in ages. But now, theres a place that has lifted the quality bar about 50% - still not up to my high standards, but miles above anything else in the place - so much so that the "coffee" shop across the road closed down.

          And while speaking of presentation, I remember going to a coffee cart in Brizvegas where a CoffeeGeek Id heard of worked. His trick, he told me, was to try to pour latte art, but if it didnt work out he had the stock of lids close by and popped a lid on. If it did come out he left the choice of lid to the consumer, but he made sure he offered it to them right way around so they could see the art. Awesome.

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          • #6
            Re: Cant get a decent coffee!

            I live in a coountry town- sort of- and have had the worst and a pretty decent coffee here. THe worst was a robert bins short black with no creme and bitter as all get out. 2.80 they charged me. You jsut cant tell.
            RH

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            • #7
              Re: Cant get a decent coffee!

              Sounds like to me there is a real business opportunity to be had - anyone looking to get out of the big city and moving inland a tad, say-- Bathurst, Orange, Dubbo (what ever takes your fancy) and start a high quality coffee shop. Im thinking... Even roasting onsite...

              Example - In the Hunter Valley Pokobin, theres an onsite roaster and cafe - coffee anywhere else in the hunter was woeful...paying for anything freshly made in that area was a bomb - coffee or food... but people pay it because theres nothing else on offer... While the food quality isnt bad, the coffee is another matter... my thinking cap is now on... :-)

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              • #8
                Re: Cant get a decent coffee!

                I suppose country towns suffer from a diminished skills/customer base.. from a purely capitalist perspective there is a critical mass of discerning drinkers and amount of cafes required to push an average cafe into a great cafe in order to stay competitive.. also any cafe professional passionate enough about coffee to turn out top stuff in the country would naturally move to the city where they would double or triple their client base, even just in the outer suburbs of melbourne or sydney. Its really unfortunate, but perhaps rich and successful city slicker cafe owners will make a tree-change/sea-change and run a great cafe in the sticks.. It has already happened, for example, at point lonsdale, etc., but these are more touristy by nature. I would bet as a rule that anywhere that has a monopoly or captive audience - like a one shop town or an airport - and anywhere that isnt aesthetically pleasing has bad coffee.

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                • #9
                  Re: Cant get a decent coffee!

                  ^I tend to agree and disagree with you Andrew.

                  I dont think that people living in the country who have discerning tastes want to move into the city! :P I mean, Im in the country and I dont want to move back there! And my bosses want great coffee to be made as well, hence why they hired me I guess. And I definitely cant see them wanting to move to the city either.

                  And we serve great coffee by the way, thanks very much! > Our town is not located in what you lot would call an aesthetically pleasing spot, theres no great ocean views or whatever it is you might call "aesthetically pleasing" but we like it and we serve great coffee.

                  I think some of you should get out to the country a bit more, the real country and not just a couple of hours from a city.

                  Weve discussed it before, and people have PMd me with some terrific places to get great coffee from. Particulary in NSW and as well as Queensland. We dont need "city slicker tree changers" to come and show us country people how to do it! We already know how! :P /rant...

                  By the way, for our town of 1500 people, we manage to go through on average 8kgs of coffee per week. Not bad effort apparently...

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                  • #10
                    Re: Cant get a decent coffee!

                    Hello - i think there is a definate degree of non coffee snobbery going on here!   The tendency for urban dwellers to imagine that rural cafes involve a few hay seeds drinking instant coffee is an old skool view of the scene. But you have to have lived out of a city or regularly travel beyond your ristresso zone to appreciate the quality food, wine and coffee that is lurking all around. I moved to Bathurst for 3 years to go to uni, and went from working in a high end Sydney venue to working in a very cool Bathurst cafe complete, to my surprise,  with its own micro roastery upstairs! That place pumped as hard as many a Sydney cafe id worked in, not to mention the several other similarly funky cafes in town that we competed with. After having lived and worked in cities, rural and beachside resort towns, my meandering point is this: information has transformed consumer and retailler behaviour. Websites like Coffee Snobs, Home-Barista, Coffee Geek etc reach far beyond the urban fringe. Consumer education and demand for quality is what sets the benchmarks, and a tree, sea [or coffee] change does not have to happen for a local cafe to produce great coffee, just a little passion, some practice, and like any cafe, as we so regularly hear amongst the pros and prosumers here, a competent operator on the other end of the portafilter.  ;D

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                    • #11
                      Re: Cant get a decent coffee!

                      Originally posted by Baristacrat link=1153526177/0#9 date=1153910045
                      I moved to Bathurst for 3 years to go to uni, and went from working in a high end Sydney venue to working in a very cool Bathurst cafe complete, to my surprise,  with its own micro roastery upstairs! That place pumped as hard as many a Sydney cafe id worked in, not to mention the several other similarly funky cafes in town that we competed with. ;D
                      Where was this cafe that you speak of??  Please tell me as I go to Bathurst often (family commitments) and Ive yet to find a decent espresso there. I certainly havent tried every where, but Ive been to a heap of cafes there and they were  :P.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Cant get a decent coffee!

                        Hi Lovey,

                        The cafe is Zieglers in Keppel St, lower end. One caveat - I recently heard a rumour they had sold, the previous owner drove the roasting side of the business, so if he is gone I am unsure whether the new owners would have taken that on. There is another good place, a hole-in-the-wall style gallery/cafe up in Rankin St ( I think, near Piper St, it is on a corner) run by an ex Zieglers barista. I havent been up there for about 18 months, so things may have changed. The Zieglers guys used to also have a coffee cart with their beans and brews at the farmers market there. Another great place is Resturant Le Gall, also in Keppel St, but I think they are not open all the time, more resturant than cafe.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Cant get a decent coffee!

                          Originally posted by Lovey link=1153526177/0#10 date=1153911332
                          Originally posted by Baristacrat link=1153526177/0#9 date=1153910045
                          I moved to Bathurst for 3 years to go to uni, and went from working in a high end Sydney venue to working in a very cool Bathurst cafe complete, to my surprise,  with its own micro roastery upstairs! That place pumped as hard as many a Sydney cafe id worked in, not to mention the several other similarly funky cafes in town that we competed with. ;D
                          Where was this cafe that you speak of??  Please tell me as I go to Bathurst often (family commitments) and Ive yet to find a decent espresso there. I certainly havent tried every where, but Ive been to a heap of cafes there and they were  :P.
                          I double that request for the secret details (including barista-in-the-know handshake please) of this Bathurst hide-away as I have family committments just a little further afield (Oberon). i hope it wasnt the guy who sold the cafe and as part of the settlement wasnt allowed to roast coffee in the shire or sell roasted coffee in the town (so Ive heard).

                          I agree and disagree with whats been said before (perhaps even what I said - what did I say again??) I think you CAN find good coffee in the country. Its like I see in Sydney - theres plenty of places making GREAT (up to coffeesnobs standard) coffee but you have to know where they are, theres more that are making OK coffee which are so much easier to find, and theres plenty more that should stick with instant that are even easier to find..... In the country where theres only a dozen coffee machines in the town, playing the averages says that youll be lucky to find a place that has GREAT coffee.

                          I cant count all the shops that may have a coffee machine in them in Oberon, but theres only the one place that has a machine that sees much use. There are probably coffee machines in the pizza place, a couple of the pubs, and something that resembles a cafe, but none would see any serious use, and would not have baristii with any more than handed-down training, if that.

                          Scootagal, 8+kg a week is awesome in a 1500 ppl town, good on ya, and good on your boss for having the guts to make the decision to go for quality. I absolutely think theres a market for high quality coffee in towns, I suspect it takes time to build up the clientelle as people come to expect more from their coffee and as word of mouth spreads.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Cant get a decent coffee!

                            wow, there you go, passed in transit.

                            yes, it is the same guy, I now remember that the farmers market is the only place he sells coffee now.... and I think he roasts out of town. One of my relo-in-laws knows him, I believe......

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                            • #15
                              Re: Cant get a decent coffee!

                              Crap poundy, that confirms my suspicions that Zieglers has sold, I was hoping it wasnt true, as no one else was roasting in the locale. Sad blow for Bathurst, on the upside, there may be a small commerical roasting outfit going cheap  . As for Obe - it is a bit more of a challenge to hunt for espresso there! So my secret barista handshake is a bit shakey for other venues in the central west :-/

                              I agree with yr law of averages in country coffee machines, I guess in my travels now I see a lot of effort by cafes to change and improve their standards,  which makes me uber optimistic that the bar[ista!] is being raised and the odds are getting better for a decent to maybe even great coffee.... humour me here!

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