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Something's bugging me about this cafe

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  • Something's bugging me about this cafe

    I drop in occasionally to a small place to order a takeaway flat white, maybe once every two weeks (I split my time between 4-5 different places). I have been dropping in there for around 4 years now.

    In the last 6 months, I have noticed that if I get there during a quiet time, I order my coffee and a short period of time later, sometimes <60 seconds, my order is ready. Without hearing a grinder, any shots being pulled, or any milk being steamed.

    Case in point this morning - I ordered and then moved across to look at the newspaper which is right in front of the grinder array. No one operated a grinder, yet I get my order in a minute or two.

    This has happened the last 5 times that I can recall going during a quiet period. My hunch is that they are pulling shots and keeping them warm somehow, ditto for milk. If so, I would imagine this is poor form?

    In terms of the quality of the drink - it was about a 6/10 but I do recall it being better once upon a time.

    Just wondering - is this something that cafes sometimes do? Or is this one just being lazy occasionally?

    I should note that when I got there it didn't look like they had just had customers, which would explain possibly not hearing milk steamed (they might use just-steamed milk leftover from a large jug). Anyway - this has happened too often to be a coincidence like a just-pulled shot that didn't end up being used in a previous order, or leftover just-steamed milk etc.

    Anyway - I was just curious as to whether anyone else had ever observed something like this?

  • #2
    That's ridiculously poor form if they are in fact doing that..

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    • #3
      Is the cafe one of those run down take away shops in the middle of an industrial estate? If so then this is perfectly normal and you can keep going there but make sure you don't enquire or sit down in the direction that they are putting together your coffee as they might get upset. If not, then sit looking towards the coffee preparation area and that should give you a clue as to whether they are extracting and grinding. 5 coffee's went by like this you say? Boy they must be very secretive in their coffee preparation. All the best P.I.

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      • #4
        I'm not sure why you are going back there. If it were me, they would have only been given one chance at making a coffee.

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        • #5
          I just might lean across the counter and give the barista the death stare as they make my order. :-) Yeah, just thought it was interesting and wonder if anyone else had come across the practice. Could be worse, I remember asking for an espresso in a bar in San Sebastian (Basque area of Spain) late one night a few years ago at my mate's Bucks night and I swear the guy pulled the shot through a spent puck that had probably had a few shots already pulled through it. Probably serves me right for asking for an espresso at a bar at 2AM.

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          • #6
            Maybe the barista has remembered your order and already has it nearly made by the time you pay?

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            • #7
              They might have pre-ground their coffee for the 'rush' coming after you leave. For a flat white they might easily just use the hot milk from a previous order. But I can't see any way they could get a possible 6/10 without actually pulling a shot.

              I'd be watching them closely and be buggered what they think - you are paying for the coffee. And if they try to serve in anything other than normal fashion I'd be asking for a proper coffee and if they give anything other than a proper shot, say, 'Thanks, but no thanks. I am a CoffeeSnob member and I want a decent coffee. Bye now" and walk out.

              If you, as a CS member, are willing to accept such treatment, what chance has the average Joe got of getting a decent coffee?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Journeyman View Post
                if they give anything other than a proper shot, say, 'Thanks, but no thanks. I am a CoffeeSnob member and I want a decent coffee. Bye now" and walk out
                Are you serious? I'd be more likely to give a "Push off then you arrogant muppet" than anything else, and that's speaking as a CoffeeSnob member. Dunno if they'd know what CS is but I'm sure they'd think you're a "member" alright.

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                • #9
                  Under normal circumstances I'd say you're right, but if they have sunk so low as to be doing what TheVard thinks, who gives a toss what they think> Just walkimg away lets them keep getting away with it - market forces don't work unless the market actually uses them. Shitty product should be commented on just in case it gives them motivation to improve.

                  And I did say, "And if they try to serve in anything other than normal fashion I'd be asking for a proper coffee and if they give anything other than a proper shot" so they have 2 chances to do it right BEFORE you say anything.

                  *grins* Unless you're not proud to be a member of a coffee group?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Journeyman View Post
                    *grins* Unless you're not proud to be a member of a coffee group?
                    Proud to be a member of an online coffee group? not particularly, nor am I ashamed of it, as far as I'm concerned it's an interest, part of everyday life.

                    Do I discuss my membership of CS with anyone and everyone who will listen, very seldom.

                    As far as using my membership as reinforcement of my knowledge of things coffee in a cafe situation, wouldn't dream of it, judging by some of the misinformed posts we see go up here, CS membership certainly does not imply any degree of expertise whatsoever, in some cases exactly the opposite.

                    About the only expertise membership of any forum guarantee's is the ability to type ones name and click a few buttons in the right order.
                    Last edited by Yelta; 15 May 2013, 10:43 AM.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Yelta View Post
                      Proud to be a member of an online coffee group? not particularly, nor am I ashamed of it, as far as I'm concerned it's an interest, part of everyday life.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Yelta View Post
                        Proud to be a member of an online coffee group? not particularly, nor am I ashamed of it, as far as I'm concerned it's an interest, part of everyday life.

                        Do I discuss my membership of CS with anyone and everyone who will listen, very seldom.

                        As far as using my membership as reinforcement of my knowledge of things coffee in a cafe situation, wouldn't dream of it, judging by some of the misinformed posts we see go up here, CS membership certainly does not imply any degree of expertise whatsoever, in some cases exactly the opposite.

                        About the only expertise membership of any forum guarantee's is the ability to type ones name and click a few buttons in the right order.
                        Very well said and I agree with all of it and I think it should apply to a lot of areas besides coffee. I will still grit my teeth and drink a poorly made coffee at a friend or relative's house. Maybe I'm just not one to insult the coffee-maker (didn't want to use the term barista) in question.

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                        • #13
                          You should be proud Yelta, as posting on CS seems to be your life, I swear you must post atleast once on every new thread?

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                          • #14
                            @David8 - there is a difference between commenting on a friend's attempts at coffee and that of someone selling you a product. If a mate comes round to help with a garden job and messes up, I wear it, but if I hire a gardener and pay good money and he stuffs up I want a proper discount or a replacement/restoration.

                            *shrugs* As for pride, there are different levels - telling a so-called barista you are a member of a coffee group is not boasting, it's letting him/her know you might know what you are talking about. And I repeat, this was not a boasting situation this was about what to do when after 2 tries at getting a decent coffee for which you are paying. There's a major difference in taking pride in what you do and bragging to score off others.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Journeyman View Post
                              Under normal circumstances I'd say you're right, but if they have sunk so low as to be doing what TheVard thinks, who gives a toss what they think> Just walkimg away lets them keep getting away with it
                              I don't refrain from being a self-congratulatory prat just because I'm worried about what people might think, so not caring what someone thinks of me isn't enough to turn me into one. But you saw where I was coming from, right? You might as well announce "I am a member of the South-Launceston Medieval Re-enactment Society and I will not stand for this". They will care just as much (no offence, Andy).

                              I'm not a "CoffeeSnob", I'm a guy who posts on a forum and makes coffee occasionally. It's just a drink dude, not a way of life. Motorbikes, on the other hand...

                              Originally posted by Wynton87 View Post
                              You should be proud Yelta, as posting on CS seems to be your life, I swear you must post atleast once on every new thread?
                              Anyone with a higher post count than me needs to get a life, anyone with a lower post count than me is a noob, right? Noob. =J

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