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  • Ouch! You burned my tongue!

    There we were, outrunning the bushfires in Gippsland, so we  awoke at 6 am, packed, skipped breakfast to save time..... and by 9 am were almost a safe distance away... but starving.

    So we stopped at a bakery in a major Gippsland city.

    I love to judge these country kitchens by the offing: jam tarts, funny faces, meringues, lamingtons and the like generally spell bad news, whereas croisants and danish pastries are a good sign of having unshackled themselves of bleak 1950s regional Australia.

    This shop had the jam tarts etc, but at least they had a reasonably- looking 2-group coffee machine. And we were starving.

    Two lattes and toasted fruit bread, please.

    The young girl put some milk into a stainless jug, sat it on the drip tray and left it while she.....flushed the portafilter from the machines hot water tap, then stuck it under the grinder and dosed, water still dripping from the spouts.  

    Oh-oh. Alarm bells.

    Minutes later, she brought to the al fresco area: fruit bread white as snow, not even a hint of browning, limp as a dead fish handshake.

    Lattes without even a hint of foam --- flat.

    Lifted the cup to my mouth and ZZZZZZZZZing.  
    Ouch, burned.   (that was seven hours ago, and the tongue is still sore).

    I went inside and spoke to her.

    "Excuse me, but that latte was so hot it burned my tongue. It should not be made that hot.  When you make it," I somewhat rudely proceeded to tutor her,  "put your hand under the pitcher and when it starts to feel hot, stop steaming.  If its too hot to touch, imagine what its going to do to the tongue."

    Perplexed, she said "thats the way weve been taught to do it."

    "Well, youve been taught wrong," I said, and stormed out.

    Her supervisor came out and apologised, also explaining  "thats the way weve been taught".

    Again, I repeated that theyd been taught wrong. Damned. Here it is, Saturday morning in a pleasant area and the place should have been teeming with customers. Not so. No need to guess why.

    I said 60 degrees should be max. Above 80 and the protein disintergrates.

    "But weve been told to steam to 90 degrees," she said.

    My urge to go inside and give them a gratis lesson on latte-making was strong --- but we had bushfires to outrun, and time was getting on. Let their lack of patronage be their "punishment".

    --Robusto

  • #2
    Re: Ouch! You burned my tongue!

    I think that there is a right way and a wrong way to steam milk and also to be a customer. I hate to say it but both in this situation arent good examples of the right way. I realise youve got the s**ts Robusto and that youre obviously concerned about the bushfires but perhaps you might have handled this a little better.

    Had I been on the receiving end of your righteous wrath, Robusto, I think I would have ignored your "instruction", seeing as I dont take to well to being spoken to in that fashion. I believe that people respond to postive instruction rather than negative and considering my background in sports coaching, I do know what Im talking about.

    Maybe lessons learned from both sides here...


    And shout me down in flames if you dare ...but I usually flush the portafiller from the grouphead and wipe dry. Usually too there is water dripping from the spouts but by the time Ive loaded and locked it in, the water has emptied out of the portafiller. Be thankful that they even bothered to clean it out. Most wouldnt.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Ouch! You burned my tongue!

      Sorry Scoota girl ---- burning tongues, Im sure, is not in the barista training manual, and rightfully deserves reproach. Neither is serving up warmed bread as alleged toast. Both are inexcusable, made more so by virtue of the fact that it is their professed custom, rather than an isolated incidence.

      If they are doing it Sooooo wrong, they shouldnt be doing it . Simple as that.

      Yes, customers can be rude -- but I had every right to be.
      Just ask my tongue --- its still smarting from their service!

      --Robusto

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Ouch! You burned my tongue!

        Here we go again.... So easy is it, that our emotions come into play... Opps, sorry should not go down that path.

        Some where between Scoota and Robusto is the truth.

        1: Not being there, I can not comment as to the tone and manner, that Robusto used. Nor as to his state of being and emotions, in light of the external situation, that was also having an impact.

        2: I do not know why, but I have come across many that have been told HOT is better, and they bloody well do their best to met that requirement.

        However, full marks to the supervisor who actually bothered to at least talk to Robusto and in doing so, was also showing support for their staff.

        The fact that both, made the comment that that was what they had been taught.....

        Should have been enough of a Flag waving exercise ( We often assume that many have more understanding than they do) to realise that the fault may be with the person who did their training.

        Hindsight is a wonderful thing; however it only really is useful if we take something away with us from looking back. Not sure who, but some one once said the only true way forward is by making sure that you are looking behind you mor than forward. That way you really do know how far you have come and have an idea on where you actually might be heading.

        1: The Opperator / Manager could be more proactive, even with their tost. My wife likes it warm and only just starting to brown... Me ... I am happy so long as it is not total charcoal

        2: They could have offered to make a second round on the house. (burnt tongue would have defeated the outcome)

        3: Robusto could have provide extra information – explained his background, offered to provide extra information for them to follow up on… Maybe he did ?

        The staff need to have a positive outcome as well, if they are to learn and become better at serving their clients. Even a bad coffee or poor toast, could be a small step in moving forward.

        They themselves, may have had family and or friends also in the path of the fire… and thus also not fully focused.

        It is times like these, that we have to all rise above our raw feelings and count to 20.

        PS. Both of you start counting as this is not intended to start a flame……

        I had a major contract review meeting last week where one attendee could not see that a minor problem with their service was an opportunity for both sides to learn and grow. He just wanted some one to blame, and felt that that was then the end of the issue.

        The shop could or may perceive Robusto as just another grumpy, uppity, know it all customer, who is best ignored… Thus, missing out on a client and a potential point of future sales.

        While, Robusto may have lost an opportunity to extend his CS knwloge in real life, instead of across the internet.

        Robusto… I hate burns at the best of time’s and it is the one thing I fear in life, above all else. On top of that a burnt tongue is a right pain along with the roof of your mouth. It may not hurt after a while, but it sure stuffs up any pleasure you might hope to get from eating or drinking for some time.

        End of rant… I have lost my train of thought….. Actually I think I lost a lot more that that....

        Please count to 20 yet again before any one responds...l

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Ouch! You burned my tongue!

          I understand where Robusto was coming from.
          I got upset at Kmart yesterday because they took for ever to do a price check.
          I as the customer waited far to long for them to correct their error.

          Also, last night friends and I went out to dinner.
          The place ended up too "trendy" for our liking.
          The food [u]was[/] excellent but servings were very small.
          I must say that we did not leave hungry though. In the end it was deceptively filling.
          BUT, overall it was overpriced.

          I did ask what brand of coffee thay had served me as the cup said Vittoria but it didnt taste that bad.
          They girl ran back to the kitchen and came out with a bag of coffee to show me. Not Vittoria, dont ask me what it was, I cant remember now (old age - started with "A").
          I then asked her to relay to whoever mde my coffee that my flat white had far to much froth.
          There were other employees around but none of them took the opportunity to question me further, and as I was leaving anyway, I left it at that.

          I gave them the opportunity to learn, but if they dont want to know, its their problem, not mine.
          I wont be going back.

          I know they didnt burn my tongue, only my wallet, so I wasnt as upset as Robusta understandably was.
          We can only take each incident on its own merits and sometimes you just have to let fly (I did at Kmart).

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Ouch! You burned my tongue!

            Alls Is knows is that a day and a half later... my tongue is still smarting, and I have little sympathy if the bakery peoples ears are too!

            I dont want to labour the point, but it takes several days to get over a burn, one delivered through the establishments sheer incompetence at that.

            This was a major place in a major regional town. Dont they get out much, check for developments and progress in their industry?

            Do they see that, hey, elsewhere lattes have froth while ours are flat?

            That toast, by its definition, is bread which has been browned?

            This is not ye olde rocket science, but fundamentals of the hospitality industry. If you charge money, and yet cant get the basics right.....cop what you get. Including deserved "abuse".

            And for the record, my complaint was far, far from abuse.

            --Robusto



            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Ouch! You burned my tongue!

              robusta,

              I believe its your fault you burnt your tongue... especially considering you sat there and watched her make the whole thing. If the alarm bells are going off, wouldnt the first thing you do when you receive it is hold the mug in your hand to see how hot it is? Obviously if its too hot too hold, its going to be too hot to drink!

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Ouch! You burned my tongue!

                Times in the past I have gotten truly undrinkable coffee, too (hot / stale / lifeless / bitter / pale) and I must admit that on more than on one occasion I have been too (busy / lazy / disinterested) to go back and complain or offer helpful advice.

                I think at least raising the issue with the staff in this case might trigger a change or at least an awareness that there might be a better way to make coffee. I doubt that their “trainer” would change his mind but those same two staff might order a half decent coffee somewhere else one day and at that point your words might ring true.

                Maybe one day we will have a “coffee cheat-sheet” that we can cheekily leave behind to offer some thoughts on ways to improve their processes. How snobby would it be to have a one page checklist with tick boxes that could be left as a “personal unsolicited coffee rating” and a comments area of what “I would like to see changed next time”?


                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Ouch! You burned my tongue!

                  Originally posted by Andy Freeman link=1165641557/0#7 date=1165733827
                  Times in the past I have gotten truly undrinkable coffee, too (hot / stale / lifeless / bitter / pale) and I must admit that on more than on one occasion I have been too (busy / lazy / disinterested) to go back and complain or offer helpful advice.

                  I think at least raising the issue with the staff in this case might trigger a change or at least an awareness that there might be a better way to make coffee. I doubt that their “trainer” would change his mind but those same two staff might order a half decent coffee somewhere else one day and at that point your words might ring true.

                  Maybe one day we will have a “coffee cheat-sheet” that we can cheekily leave behind to offer some thoughts on ways to improve their processes. How snobby would it be to have a one page checklist with tick boxes that could be left as a “personal unsolicited coffee rating” and a comments area of what “I would like to see changed next time”?

                  Its a good thing K-man is busy and has not seen this post ;D as He is the Senior Qualty advisor for our division in Queensland Health. Trust me, this whole post would been seen by him as an ideal oppertunity for all of us to learn and take on board a culture of continious improvement. After all the providers and the consumers all have a significant role, as we depend on each other.

                  A check list - Oh how I am ROTFLMAO... Survay and Client feedback is the topic at work at the moment.

                  PS. Let me start another post on Monday.. Knee opperation and I was miss identified, including which Knee, a total of FOUR Times

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Ouch! You burned my tongue!

                    If in doubt I order a long black with cold milk on the side, that way at least you have a degree of input into the end product.

                    Also, when heading into uncertain territory, local holidays etc, if I am uncertain of the qualtiy of the local brew, I pre-grind my own before we go, and make a flask for the road!

                    Having been on the receiving end both as a customer and as a barista / owner I can definitely say that unless you are prepared to have a vested interest in the long term longevity of the joint, i.e. offer to come back and train their staff properly, then its not usually worth the effort...

                    Also, if you want to bend someones ear, mention that you write for / contribute to an online coffee discussion forum, and see if the dont jump to attention at the thought of some bad publicity!

                    I have also been down the track of recommending that the establishment consult with their coffee supplier and / or local rep vis a vis some hands-on training.

                    Even if it means a trip to the big smoke (no pun intended) additional coffee sales is likely to be the end result.

                    And at the end of the day, dollar signs are a sure fire way of grabbing and maintaining attention

                    Ive been disappointed too many times to go to more than a handful of coffee places Melbourne wide, but what can you do when youve got a long drive ahead, and a fire to outrun!

                    Cheers and better luck in future (try some paw paw ointment on that lip!)

                    Pat


                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Ouch! You burned my tongue!

                      Great idea for a take-with-you-everywhere check list, Andy. Sounds like the beginning of a new post: what items to check

                      Robusto

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Ouch! You burned my tongue!

                        Robusto, your profile says today that its been 666 days since you joined. Something beastly going on there...

                        Does this thread remind anyone else of the lawsuit that McDonalds copped in the USA a few years ago because someone spilt hot coffee on themselves driving over a speedbump? You cant legislate common sense.

                        Scoota Gal, I tend to agree with you that the way something is said is pretty important. People who havent worked retail dont always make the best customers. I would LOVE to start/run a cafe, but a big thing that stops me is that a percentage of the public are downright rude, aggressive and selfish. I reckon the most abused cliche around is "The customer is always right". It should be rewritten to be "Most customers are usually right."

                        The tick sheet to leave at cafes??? Sounds like a good idea at first, but I think it carries a high level of risk. CoffeeSnobs is a catchy name, but I imagine the "Snob" part of it was intended to be a bit of a p***-take, but not too literal - this could get the name out there as literally snobby. I also think it has the ability for "self proclaimed experts" to go around proclaiming themselves a bit too much.

                        Mocha"Understated is better"Master

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Ouch! You burned my tongue!

                          Originally posted by MM-MochaMaster link=1165641557/0#11 date=1165804287

                          The tick sheet to leave at cafes??? Sounds like a good idea at first, but I think it carries a high level of risk.  CoffeeSnobs is a catchy name, but I imagine the "Snob" part of it was intended to be a bit of a p***-take, but not too literal - this could get the name out there as literally snobby.  I also think it has the ability for "self proclaimed experts" to go around proclaiming themselves a bit too much.

                          Mocha"Understated is better"Master
                          Ahhh - I reckon there is a way to do it without being preachy, snobbish etc. If someone will start the list of coffee must dos then Ill happily write up a draft and post it up for comment.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Ouch! You burned my tongue!

                            Originally posted by grendel link=1165641557/0#12 date=1165807061
                            Originally posted by MM-MochaMaster link=1165641557/0#11 date=1165804287

                            The tick sheet to leave at cafes??? Sounds like a good idea at first, but I think it carries a high level of risk.  CoffeeSnobs is a catchy name, but I imagine the "Snob" part of it was intended to be a bit of a p***-take, but not too literal - this could get the name out there as literally snobby.  I also think it has the ability for "self proclaimed experts" to go around proclaiming themselves a bit too much.

                            Mocha"Understated is better"Master
                            Ahhh - I reckon there is a way to do it without being preachy, snobbish etc. If someone will start the list of coffee must dos then Ill happily write up a draft and post it up for comment.

                            Tact. Some people have it. Some dont. You appear to.

                            Would that be in triplicate? One for the establishment, one for the snob, and one for coffeesnobs to compile a database?

                            Mocha"Database R Us"Master

                            (Ill stop borrowing from our american friend now)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Ouch! You burned my tongue!

                              Is there a point that too-hot coffee becomes an OH&S issue? I always cringe when some silly wait-person passes me a coffee over my 16 month old daughters head.

                              Comment

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