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Cafes: what makes you head for the exit without ordering?

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  • Cafes: what makes you head for the exit without ordering?

    Assuming that from the outside a cafe shows a semblance of appearing normal, what, upon entering, makes you do a u-turn for the exit?
    Firstly, anything but a proper commercial coffee machine would see me do an about face.
    Preferably a 3-group. A two-group would at least sow seeds of doubt and if I see a prosumer 1-group machine I'd also be out of there pronto.

    The choice of cakes....that could also be a turn off. If all I see is lamingtons and brownies I'll assume the owners are still mired in the '50s and '60s.

    Soft drink crates passing for furniture or weathered fence palings will propel me towards the door irrespective of how good the barista or machine is.
    If I just want good coffee I can stay at home and get it. I also want atmosphere.

    And perhaps, finally...whatever there is to sit on must have a backrest. Balancing on stools is not for me.

  • #2
    If they also serve fish and chips.

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    • #3
      If the cakes look like they’ve all been brought in from a factory and there’s nothing that looks like it’s made on the premises.
      I look at the coffee on tables and if they look like just milk or grey then I walk out.
      If the barista looks 15 or 16 I’ll also walk out.

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      • #4
        Cafes: what makes you head for the exit without ordering?

        Nothing wrong with a 2 group machine. A lot of very good specialty cafes run a 2 group Kees, Synesso etc.

        What scares me off is:

        A steam wand with cheese caked on to it

        Pimply teenager on the machine

        Cups or mugs the size of soup bowls.

        A clapped out Mazzer Major with a doser full of ground coffee.

        Bottles of hazelnut and vanilla syrup next to the machine.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by speleomike View Post
          If they also serve fish and chips.
          Whilst I haven’t been there for some time the coffee at Bell St fish and chips in Torquay on the Bellarine Peninsula was always great. They used CS beans producing a result that was very pleasant on the palate. Same goes for their chips too.
          There’s an idea coffee chips....

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          • #6
            Originally posted by stephen28 View Post
            Whilst I haven’t been there for some time the coffee at Bell St fish and chips in Torquay on the Bellarine Peninsula was always great. They used CS beans producing a result that was very pleasant on the palate. Same goes for their chips too.
            There’s an idea coffee chips....
            Agreed.... I recall a great day some years ago spent training their staff. Maybe just a little of it actually stuck.

            Wonder if it's still in the same ownership?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Caffeinator View Post
              Agreed.... I recall a great day some years ago spent training their staff. Maybe just a little of it actually stuck.

              Wonder if it's still in the same ownership?
              Any CS surfers willing to head down for a wave, 20 cents of chips, 2 tater cakes and a macchiato to find out?

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              • #8
                Here's an observation: (sorry if this is not exactly answering the Thread Heading, but I think it is the disease underneath some of the symptoms:

                Yesterday, pumped up by loads of practise shots from my new ECM Classika, I was so excited and happy that I decided to visit a cafe in town, run by guys that I know personally from years back. They are always friendly and I sometimes stop by there for a quick hello and a cuppa. I showed my friend (part owner of the cafe) pictures and a quick video clip shot upwards, showing beautifully pouring tigerstripy extraction hesitantly settling to the centre of my naked PF.

                "What do you think, mate?", I asked proudly, "my new machine!"

                I was shocked at his reply. Glum and serious looking, he said quietly and unenthused, almost like talking to himself: "hmmm, we don't really like those sort of things...."

                On my way home I was wondering what he meant:
                That they don't really like people drinking their coffee at home?
                That they don't like people discovering how good espresso actually can be?
                That they don't really get it when people are excited about coffee?


                Needless to say, cafe business is a tough game and most of them are chasing the dollar with the lowest cost commercial blend, instead of chasing some golden quality brew. But I was saddened to see someone in the coffee business being so unenthusiastic about coffee...

                Call me cynical, but sometimes I feel that nobody has time to produce quality anything. You gotta pump some good looking crap out in a hurry to be "competitive". Perhaps this is an underlying problem in many aspects of our world. Including cafes.

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                • #9
                  Hi

                  "hmmm, we don't really like those sort of things...."
                  after watching their loyal customer's
                  > beautifully pouring tigerstripy extraction hesitantly settling to the centre of my naked PF.

                  That's a shame. So long as they were not busy they should have been interested if they were really interested themselves in a career in coffee.

                  But when you look at a really good cafe in the morning at 9 am they have a queue of 20 to 30 persons. When I go at 10:30 for my sit-down double ristretto its a queue of several to a dozen. They do look at how mine comes out but its not out of a naked PF and they can't stand there and admire tiger-stripy extraction. They have waiting customers. I pay $3.70. Now if there was a cafe that had a naked PF and the baristas stood there and carefully made sure that extraction was very good (hey one could have it up on a wall TV!) each coffee would take longer to make. Would I be prepared to pay $5 or $6 for that coffee? They do need to serve customers quickly.

                  Mike

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                  • #10
                    No, they weren't busy. No customers and the young girl behind the machine. The boss had a moment, so no worries with the rush. And I didn't think it anything to do with the naked or spouted PF's. It sounded like home-espresso is just competing with cafe business. They have been struggling for some time with their cafes. There's one on every corner in the city.

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                    • #11
                      Dirty steam wand will always make me leave without ordering a coffee.
                      I usually watch a couple get made as well if I don't know the place. If they don't look good and/or I hear the milk screaming, I'm off.
                      If I don't hear the grinder whilst watching them make some, also a bad sign.

                      Having said all that, I've probably only bought a handful of coffees at a cafe over the last year. Mostly when away from home.

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                      • #12
                        Cafes: what makes you head for the exit without ordering?

                        The thought of what awaits me at home.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by LauriG View Post
                          I was shocked at his reply. Glum and serious looking, he said quietly and unenthused, almost like talking to himself: "hmmm, we don't really like those sort of things...."

                          On my way home I was wondering what he meant:
                          That they don't really like people drinking their coffee at home?
                          That they don't like people discovering how good espresso actually can be?
                          That they don't really get it when people are excited about coffee?


                          Reminds me of this:

                          https://youtu.be/BLXtHU_HGXs

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by herzog View Post
                            Reminds me of this:

                            https://youtu.be/BLXtHU_HGXs

                            Hahaha! Yes, I have always identified with George in Seinfeld. When I drive, I look at others and wonder what's their point in driving at all if they don't even indicate correctly.
                            I just want everyone else to be excited about things that excite ME! :-D

                            LG

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                            • #15
                              An obvious lack of cleanliness is the main thing that turns me off - piles of ground coffee on the bench around the grinder(s), a coating on the steam wand, excessively dirty towels hanging from a hook or the side of the knock tube, dirty milk jugs sitting around with scraps of milk in them, and a generally dirty machine (if I can see it). If I get past that there’s a few other bad signs such as milk being left on or under the bench rather than in the fridge, screaming sounds being made when steaming milk, and branding proudly displaying a ‘commercial’ brand such as Lavazza, Vittoria or Grinders. I’ll always try to watch a coffee being made if I’m in a queue and have the chance as well. One particular local cafe seems to the think a 7 second total extraction time is acceptable as I’ve been there 3 or 4 and it’s been like that every time. No idea what the coffee tastes like cause after seeing that I wasn’t willing to waste any money to try one.

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