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Thread: Grrrr - the problem with being a CS

  1. #1
    KJM
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    Grrrr - the problem with being a CS

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Well, my middle daughter was awarded a University prize for her honours thesis work and we went to the prize giving dinner. This is at a (very) flash place in Adelaide.

    Food was great(ish). Then came the Tea or Coffee. Hmmmm.

    The prize giving dinners our faculty does are held in the same place. KJM was aware of how totally and completely crap their tea was, so he gingerly ordered coffee.

    Bad move. I cant believe just how insanely bad the coffee was. Percolated to well past the last inch of its life and prepared sometime in the last month (well, maybe not, but it certainly seemed so) and from beans roasted in the late 18th century.... Did I mention it was bad?

    Now, before roasting my own etc etc and being a CS... I probably would have been capable of drinking at least a sip.... Sigh. And there were no proper coffee places between the restaurant and the University where the car was parked so I had to drive all the way home to make a (late night) coffee to get the sodding taste out of my mouth!

    It staggers me that such a chasm exists between the food and drink side in some places....

    Anyway, enough whinging! Its raining now, so Im at least weather-happy!

    /Kevin

  2. #2
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    Re: Grrrr - the problem with being a CS

    Nothing out of the ordinary there....

    Functions such as the type you attended only serve tea and coffee as part of the "service" to "complete" the number of courses expected or arranged for by the organisers.

    Most of these places seem to have contracts with one notable "commodity" roaster brand. The coffee is not necessarily old or stale, but it always seems to have a particular character due to several input factors;

    a) Type of blend (ie origin of varieties used in the blend);
    b) Overly (unnecessarily?) coarse grind;
    c) Small portion control portions VS quantity brewed;
    d) time of brewing Vs size of function and the need to deliver all at the same time...

    When attending such functions, I always ask for a cup so as to taste. Only 1 sip is required, and the rest is left in the cup.

    "Commodity" portion control coffee whether it is percolated as above OR made with a liquid frozen coffee extract, is not purchased by function houses because of what it will give in the cup, it is convenience driven & is very probably price driven which also means, it is not necessarily the roasters problem if the clients want a certain product at a particular price to fit in with the costing of the "whole portion" in terms of the organised meal in toto.

    And I am not defending large commodity roasters, just stating a fact.

    If F & B managers dont place a control on the quality of coffee they serve in the various areas of their business, they buy what they buy what they buy.

    Also and having been in the situation a number of times, when a smaller, quality roaster tries to work with F & B people in hotels and function rooms to try and upgrade the product, it all becomes too hard for them (the F & B people), because what we ask them to do or buy from us in order to purvey a better quality end product, is not as convenient for them as flicking a switch on a frozen liquid machine that delivers a cup in so many seconds etc.

    They are not coffee people, they are hoteliers.....and for them the convenience of it all is the number one prerogative. You then have to ask yourself....can you blame them, in the context of their take on the services they provide?

    The need to want to elevate the level of product in this case has to come from the client themselves.

    .....No matter how bad the tea might be, it is usually safer than the coffee and sometimes (depending on "quality" of the function) you will get good brand name tea bags used.

    All that said the coffee served at these functions is always an occupational hazard, and its ok to say no.

    Regardz,
    Attilio
    very first CS site sponsor

  3. #3
    KJM
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    Re: Grrrr - the problem with being a CS

    I have to say, Attilio, that what you said is pretty much what I figured would be the background.

    The problem I have (apart from the sheer disrespect of serving up muck) is that Ive just come back from a 2 week fishing expedition to the Eyre Peninsula. I took beans and the AeroPress - which meant we had coffee to our taste.

    But we had 2 pub meals which included coffee. One at Streaky Bay. This is just south east of Ceduna - not exactly a metropolitan location. The food was terrific (and HUGE!) and the coffee was about as good as you get in Adelaide at better cafés. The other was at Cowell (just south of Whyalla - again, not metro! and again terrific food). The coffee there was drinkable, but not something Id order again.

    In both cases - busy pubs in the far flung bits of rural SA were able to serve up something infinitely more palatable than one of the more ritzy CBD restaurants. Granted - both pubs had less than the 100 diners at the dinner (but were still flat out!) but there seems to be a pretty big care-factor missing.

    Anyway, at all the places weve eaten I see people happily drinking coffee. So it must just be a CS thing ::)

    /Kevin

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    Senior Member Koffee_Kosmo's Avatar
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    Re: Grrrr - the problem with being a CS

    Quote Originally Posted by 0D0C0B460 link=1275176929/2#2 date=1275182619
    Anyway, at all the places weve eaten I see people happily drinking coffee.So it must just be a CS thing *
    Its all to do with an individuals point of reference
    If used to instant - then something more exotic is better compared to ones base line reference

    Your base line reference is higher than most and if tasting a coffee lower than that reference, then it will fall short of expectations

    KK

  5. #5
    KJM
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    Re: Grrrr - the problem with being a CS

    Quote Originally Posted by 7B5F565655556F7B5F435D5F300 link=1275176929/3#3 date=1275183090

    Its all to do with an individuals point of reference
    If used to instant - then something more exotic is better compared to ones base line reference

    Your base line reference is higher than most and if tasting a coffee lower than that reference, then it will fall short of expectations

    KK
    The thing I cant get past is how they lie straight in bed at night. Id be embarrassed at serving up things of that quality. There is a cost differential in going up-quality as Attilio said, and a time penalty too. But it cant be that big, in the greater scheme-of-things.

    The function of good restaurants should be to expose people to good food and beverages surely?

    /Kevin

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    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Grrrr - the problem with being a CS

    My kids recently took me to dinner at a very upmarket place.
    The food was as good as expected (read superb) however when it came time for coffee I declined.

    Id noticed they used a well known big name brand and previous experience led me to decide not to risk spoiling the evening.
    I doubted even they could get the coffee up to the same levels as their food.

    I dont usually drink coffee of an evening anyway so it was not a big deal. Curiosity was not going to kill this cat.

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    Senior Member Luke_G's Avatar
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    Re: Grrrr - the problem with being a CS

    We are comparable to chefs in this respect... an unhappy chef will no doubt be fussy with there food when eating out.

    Dont be affraid to send coffee back at a coffee shop...thats what they specialise in and if they cant get it right for you...then they need to be informed of a poor quality product.

    The problem?.... Coffee is an afterthough at most resturants due to lack of knowledge. Dont blame them for not knowing any better...simply offer your thoughts from a snobs point of view and hope for everyones sake that they can take the constructive critisism.

    Luke.

  8. #8
    Wine_of_the_Bean
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    Re: Grrrr - the problem with being a CS

    You cant possibly expect espresso based coffee at a function. It is just not practical.

    Most of the time, the establishment is looking at not forking out too much extra capital with the coffee crockery. In steps brand name and looks after it.

    In such a tight market such as food, you can see where operators will stretch their dollar as far as they can. Most see coffee as an afterthought, and treat it as such. You can hire a sommelier and push $100+ bottles of wine, but in a fine dining restaurant, you cant push a $10+ coffee.

  9. #9
    KJM
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    Re: Grrrr - the problem with being a CS

    Quote Originally Posted by 5D647A744E56110 link=1275176929/6#6 date=1275195554
    We are comparable to chefs in this respect... an unhappy chef will no doubt be fussy with there food when eating out.

    Dont be affraid to send coffee back at a coffee shop...thats what they specialise in and if they cant get it right for you...then they need to be informed of a poor quality product.

    The problem?.... Coffee is an afterthough at most resturants due to lack of knowledge. Dont blame them for not knowing any better...simply offer your thoughts from a snobs point of view and hope for everyones sake that they can take the constructive critisism.

    Luke.
    Well, I kind-of basically agree with that, but I personally know 2 current chefs and 2-now-doing-other-than-chefing and none of those would contemplate bad coffee. It is a bit like having really, really nasty wine or maybe just bland wine on the wine list rather than something nice. Why are tea and coffee so different from wine??

    TG - that has always been my modus-operandi. This time I weakened! (But I did really fancy a coffee!!!)

    Still unable to cope with my disappointment :P

    /Kevin

  10. #10
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Re: Grrrr - the problem with being a CS

    Quote Originally Posted by 193D343437370D193D213F3D520 link=1275176929/3#3 date=1275183090
    Quote Originally Posted by 0D0C0B460 link=1275176929/2#2 date=1275182619
    Anyway, at all the places weve eaten I see people happily drinking coffee.So it must just be a CS thing *
    Its all to do with an individuals point of reference
    If used to instant - then something more exotic is better compared to ones base line reference

    Your base line reference is higher than most and if tasting a coffee lower than that reference, then it will fall short of expectations

    KK
    Well Put KK, if you set your sights too high your bound to be disappointed.
    When I go out to dinner Ill keep an eye on the coffee prep area during the course of the meal, if its getting a workout I just may take a chance and then will only order a cappa, you can disguise a lot with milk and chocolate, a shot is a shot.

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    Re: Grrrr - the problem with being a CS

    I just want to say there are several other problems with being a CSer besides the obvious inability to tolerate sub-standard coffee...

    1. You have perpetual acute upgraditis
    2. You constantly oogle everyones elses equipment - machine envy
    3. You always get asked to clean/fix friends machines

    But then, the list of good things is much longer!

    :)

  12. #12
    Senior Member simonsk8r's Avatar
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    Re: Grrrr - the problem with being a CS

    Yeah, there are way more good things.

    Could even take a spiritual standpoint... aiming to perfect oneself yet realising that perfection is unattainable and just living in the moment... Direct experience which allows one to transcend all thought and limitation...

    Just a thought :P

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    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Grrrr - the problem with being a CS

    Quote Originally Posted by 7B6E7C67666A0F0 link=1275176929/10#10 date=1276003410
    1. You have perpetual acute upgraditis
    I jumped in the deep end so this wasnt a problem.
    However I have had the occasional thought.....

    Quote Originally Posted by 7C666260617C64377D0F0 link=1275176929/11#11 date=1276012372
    Could even take a spiritual standpoint... aiming to perfect oneself yet realising that perfection is unattainable and just living in the moment... Direct experience which allows one to transcend all thought and limitation...
    I see my karate and coffee making in a similar light; always aiming to improve.

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    Re: Grrrr - the problem with being a CS

    Quote Originally Posted by 544E4A4849544C1F55270 link=1275176929/11#11 date=1276012372
    Could even take a spiritual standpoint... aiming to perfect oneself yet realising that perfection is unattainable and just living in the moment... Direct experience which allows one to transcend all thought and limitation...
    Like that, quite Zen but more excitable cos were all caffeinated!

  15. #15
    KJM
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    Re: Grrrr - the problem with being a CS

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Quote Originally Posted by 7A606466677A62317B090 link=1275176929/11#11 date=1276012372
    Could even take a spiritual standpoint... aiming to perfect oneself yet realising that perfection is unattainable and just living in the moment... Direct experience which allows one to transcend all thought and limitation...
    Ah, so you mean I should skip bad coffees and go straight to a single malt then 8-)

    /Kevin



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