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  • Communication Breakdown...

    Just returned from 3days at a conference in Brisbane. Unfortunately did not manage to get close to any of the recommended good coffee places. Had only two coffee experiences - both bad. First one at the Hilton where I approached the barista in the Bistro (I use the term loosely) to be told "Have a seat and someone will take your order" They did about 10 minutes after that, and I carefully explained I wanted a "long black with only half the usual amount of water - thats a single shot with less water" After another 10mins a waitress struggling with the language approached me to say "we got your order wrong and we are doing it again" When it came it was just a normal long black. So obviously nobody there understands English.
    I didnt drink it as it was very strong & very bitter.
    The second experience was at - wait for it - the Airport. Yes, I know, serves me right but I thought the place looked OK so I thought Id have a punt. It was the one down the northern end near the specialty shops on the first level. I ordered a latte but with only half the usual milk. Explained it twice in different ways but, you guessed it, got just the normal latte full to the top. Mentioned this nicely to the barista who promptly grabbed the cup, poured half down the sink and handed it back saying "That OK?" I just shook my head at her and walked away. I cant figure out whether the problem is that the person who takes the order doesnt communicate the message, or the barista is so fixed in their habits that they are incapable of doing anything that varies slightly from the norm. I never ask for variations when it is really busy as I can understand that under these conditions the barista is under a lot of pressure to just keep the coffees coming. I have never yet had a decent coffee from a young female in a coffee shop. I am sure there must be some around who are good baristas - I just havent met them.

  • #2
    Re: Communication Breakdown...

    Dont buy coffee at Brisbane Domestic airport
    I had a coffee with out any coffee taste whatsoever when I ordered
    The shop I went to was at the start of the food court.
    Water or Tea for me at Airports from now on :

    KK

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Communication Breakdown...

      You know, I consider myself to be a barista, and Ive certainly got some different orders over the years but I have to be brutally honest here and say that I had to read your coffee orders over twice, scratched my head and wondered what the...?

      Seriously, there is a coffee menu, I know you are the customer and yes, youre being very generous to mostly order normally when you can see that the barista is busy...but Im wondering why people think that when theyre getting someone else to make something for them, that that person should automatically get it spot on every time first go, no questions asked? I mean, if you really want what you want, then really, only you can provide that as you know exactly what it is. Why do we put huge expectations on others to be able to get it spot on...? Yes, I know, Im the barista and Im supposed to be all knowing... ;D

      Were not God you know... Well, at least I dont claim to be...others might... ;D

      Im sorry that your experience was bad...maybe you should not have such high expectations when youre out and just enjoy what you do manage to find. Maybe it will be more consistently reliable if you buy a bottle of water or a can of Coke...

      Mind you...the barista who halved your drink for you was actually spot on... ;D ;D It was after all what you asked for and how she translated it... ;D ;D

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Communication Breakdown...

        Originally posted by 19242820324B0 link=1249648323/0#0 date=1249648323
        I wanted a "long black with only half the usual amount of water - thats a single shot with less water"  
        hmm...Id call your order a doppio espresso (given that a lungo is a doppio over water)...or was that just an espresso and a little bit of extra water.... or was that a ristretto? :-/

        Originally posted by 19242820324B0 link=1249648323/0#0 date=1249648323
        I ordered a latte but with only half the usual milk.
        Erm- did you mean a piccolo Latte?  :-/

        No wonder they were confused....Its probably easier to learn the coffee menu (like the barista hopefully did) Id reckon and then try to make it easy rather than convoluted and confusing for the barista....

        For mine, no wonder they were confused....

        2mcm

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Communication Breakdown...

          I fully expected to get some flak about ordering custom coffees from non-connoisseur outlets, and I totally understand that a customer takes a risk when they try to muck around with the menu. I think the problem is that the kids the owners employ to play barista have little training and are probably marginally competent as long as they stick to the standard offerings.
          I tend to avoid asking for things like a piccolo latte as I have found that the waitress just looks at me blankly. I have found it is better to explain what is wanted in the simplest terms possible, although clearly this only works sometimes. Depends on the level of experience (& skill) of the barista.
          Scoota - my problem with the half latte was that the half that was left was consequently diluted by the fact that it had had a lot more milk mixed with the single shot.
          mcm - Id have thought that "single shot with half the normal water" was a pretty straight forward description, but maybe not.
          I think we are a very long way from a mature coffee culture in Queensland regardless of the explosion of so called specialty coffee shops in recent years.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Communication Breakdown...

            Originally posted by 2535393922370931373A560 link=1249648323/2#2 date=1249653224
            Well, at least I dont claim to be...others might...
            I resemble that remark.

            -----

            I agree with Rocky that his "single shot with half the normal water" was a pretty straight forward description.

            I also understood how he wanted his latte made.

            I also agree with everyone else that thinks he set his expectations too high.

            Rocky, common sense isnt that common; you can try to make the description as simple as possible but the odds are not in your favour.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Communication Breakdown...

              Originally posted by 0539243F353423363E35510 link=1249648323/5#5 date=1249690233
              Originally posted by 2535393922370931373A560 link=1249648323/2#2 date=1249653224
              Well, at least I dont claim to be...others might...  
              I resemble that remark.

              -----

              I agree with Rocky that his "single shot with half the normal water" was a pretty straight forward description.

              I also understood how he wanted his latte made.

              I also agree with everyone else that thinks he set his expectations too high.

              Rocky, common sense isnt that common; you can try to make the description as simple as possible but the odds are not in your favour.

              ROFLMAO...  So true...

              Court case teh other day over an electrical  event (serious injury etc etc)..

              The judge made the call and some were shocked....


              Common sence is nothing, it is the reality that counts....

              WTF...  We are well on the way to really downgrading socity...  As this again paths the way for people to go to court over the most stupid things...  As their argument is that was the reality, thus some one must pay....

              Sorry OT and I have ranted on this previously...

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Communication Breakdown...

                Originally posted by 5F70797B6C537F707F797B737B706A1E0 link=1249648323/6#6 date=1249690950

                Court case teh other day over an electrical event (serious injury etc etc)..

                The judge made the call and some were shocked....
                ;D ;D

                Good one...

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Communication Breakdown...

                  The sad truth is that we are not very advanced here in Brisbane with regards to coffee techniques or cup quality in the average local cafe. The things that the really good cafes attract attention for; like grinding to serve, freshly steamed milk, latte art, interesting and unique blends are things that were first explored by David Schomer and others like him and that was from around the 1990s... Twenty years on and were still a long way off from coffee utopia. But the more successful the progressive coffee roasteries are, the better the overall average level as the training filters down and gets spread around.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Communication Breakdown...

                    Hey, dont be too down on yourselves up there in the Sunshine State...after all, you do have the Australian Barista Champion 2009 living up there! Things surely have to be on the up and up!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Communication Breakdown...

                      Sorry, thats not to say that coffee on the whole in qld is nasty, as youll find that the same is equally true to a lesser or greater extent in each state.  We need more cafes at the ground level to be aware of the fact that good coffee training leads to better coffee skills and thus increases coffee cup sales which also leads to them possibly buying other products that you offer in the shop. :P

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Communication Breakdown...

                        Im a big fan of reality, but its ideals that improves standards.
                        Id guess that the main reason that standards are so poor is that the vast majority of punters dont ask for much. I watched the customers at the Airport coffee shop and I estimated that 90% bought the biggest milk-based coffee they could get. Therein lies the problem. The milk masks most of the flaws in a cup of coffee and the owners of the coffee shops quickly decide that an untrained 17yo can serve up McDonalds-style coffees just as well as a trained barista.
                        What it comes down to is that you are only likely to get really good coffee in a specialty outlet because they will develop a clientele who wants what they serve. Pity for those of us who might like a good coffee at the Airport.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Communication Breakdown...

                          Im with you rocky, its not that hard to stop pouring the milk half way up the cup.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Communication Breakdown...

                            if you wanted a stronger latte and they dont do small, why not ask for a double shot instead of less milk. that would make it easier for young barista.
                            i always ask how many shots they use and i add more to get the strength i like

                            LE

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                            • #15
                              Re: Communication Breakdown...

                              Single shot with less water or latte with half the milk, its not brain surgery. Im with Rocky, these requests are no brainers.

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