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Thread: Frustration, starting the day with a bad/average coffee

  1. #1
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    Frustration, starting the day with a bad/average coffee

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    So, I now start work at 6am.. Lucky me.
    Starting at 6am is not an issue as such as I get to finish at 3. What sucks about it is that my favourite Cafe, which is near home, does not open till 7.
    Where I work, which is in the city, but on the far east side, choices for good coffee are pretty much non existent. There is one cafe but I have to hope on a bus to get there.

    So, I pick one of the 3 cafes near my building..

    They all make a disappointing coffee.. Either too hot, burnt or just unsatisfactory in some way.

    These people are not Baristas, they are coffee makers..

    This morning I decided to go to the cafe I usually go to. Along with my flat white, I got a piece of Nut/Apricot bread, which was obviously old as it was so dry.
    So not only did I get a below average coffee, I could not eat my breakfast because it was not pleasant.

    I can tell that by coffee is not doing its job because my usual ability to produce eloquent sarcasm is just not there.

    This was just a rant as I know many of you will understand!

    Emille
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  2. #2
    Senior Member smokey's Avatar
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    Uni was an hour and a half drive away so when I got there I really needed some coffee. I would get in early enough to have my breaky, which, after some experimentation, became fresh squeezed orange juice and a danish swirl, mmmmm. The coffee at the cafeteria was so terrible that I had to go with the orange juice.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Rocky's Avatar
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    I think any Coffee Snob shares the disappointment of a lousy cup of coffee, topped off with a stale bit of cake. It's the ultimate insult to the palate, and tests my ability to 'keep smiling'.

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    It is even worse when they overcharge you for the "privilege". Or, in the US, expect a tip!

    TampIt

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    Took the missus to a very nice Italian cafe yesterday, and my coffee was one of the better ones I have had anywhere; lacked in depth a little but no tastes other than coffee. The missus had a decaf and it was vile. She sugared it up a bit and used the bicotti (sp?) to mask the taste but it was just not a pleasant drink. I stopped by the counter on the way out, mentioned my coffee was very good and how disappointing the decaf was - considering we get a very good decaf bean locally. She told me they use preground and they don't sell much decaf so they don't bother getting beans.

    AND they charged $4 a cup...!

    I wonder why they don't sell decaf?

  6. #6
    Senior Member Dragunov21's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TampIt View Post
    It is even worse when they overcharge you for the "privilege". Or, in the US, expect a tip!

    TampIt
    Off topic, but you understand why they still expect a tip, right?

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    STS
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    Good coffee should be a basic human right especially for early starters. My solution is an Aeropress, Porlex grinder, and a really good bean. All my work has to supply is hot water and a quiet, contemplative corner to allow me to come to terms with the day ahead. Problem solved. 😀

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    Senior Member Journeyman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragunov21 View Post
    Off topic, but you understand why they still expect a tip, right?
    Because they don't pay a basic wage that anyone could live on?

  9. #9
    TOK
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    I have a frustration with sub par coffee at ANY time of the day but will accept that it is much worse for the first of the day.

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    Senior Member Dragunov21's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Journeyman View Post
    Because they don't pay a basic wage that anyone could live on?
    Yes and no.

    Hospitality workers, as I understand it, are able to be employed for below minimum wage because there is a cultural expectation that they will be tipped at (from what I've experienced) 15-20% of the value of an order, give or take. This tip isn't "hey you did a great job, have some extra money", it's a performance-weighted part of their remuneration which forms the vast majority of it (which yes, they are entitled to, especially when wages are often $2 to $6/hr).

    When you under-tip, you are saying "you did such a crappy job that you deserve a pay cut in this instance". When you over-tip, you're saying "Hey you did a great job, have a little extra." When you tip 15-20%, you are merely paying your bill for adequate service. That is still money owed, it's just not included in the sticker-price of the meal.

    (So to answer your post yes, but it's not because they're slaves, it's because the majority of their remuneration package that isn't reflected in their wage.) It's little different to working on commission, except that it's down to the whim of a customer to assess performance.

  11. #11
    TC
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragunov21 View Post
    Yes and no.

    Hospitality workers, as I understand it, are able to be employed for below minimum wage because there is a cultural expectation that they will be tipped
    Nup- not in Australia. It's illegal and reportable.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Dragunov21's Avatar
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    No-one was talking about Australia.

    I'm interested that you say it's illegal; does that only apply to gratuities given directly to staff or also to gratuities collected and distributed equally among staff? Tip jars seem to be popping up all over the place here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragunov21 View Post
    No-one was talking about Australia.

    I'm interested that you say it's illegal; does that only apply to gratuities given directly to staff or also to gratuities collected and distributed equally among staff? Tip jars seem to be popping up all over the place here.
    I think he meant the illegality here is paying below minimum wage.

    Tipping is fine.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Dragunov21's Avatar
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    Ohhh, gotcha.

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    Junior Member Kyoto's Avatar
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    Think you guys are generally much fortunate comparing against us CS living in Hong Kong. Despite been a NOOP, over the years, getting morning coffee at cafés around town, I could literally count how many cups I've had that's better than what I make at home. The general standard here has improved over the years, but are still decades behind Australian cities!
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  16. #16
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragunov21 View Post
    Yes and no.

    Hospitality workers, as I understand it, are able to be employed for below minimum wage because there is a cultural expectation that they will be tipped at (from what I've experienced) 15-20% of the value of an order, give or take. This tip isn't "hey you did a great job, have some extra money", it's a performance-weighted part of their remuneration which forms the vast majority of it (which yes, they are entitled to, especially when wages are often $2 to $6/hr).

    When you under-tip, you are saying "you did such a crappy job that you deserve a pay cut in this instance". When you over-tip, you're saying "Hey you did a great job, have a little extra." When you tip 15-20%, you are merely paying your bill for adequate service. That is still money owed, it's just not included in the sticker-price of the meal.

    (So to answer your post yes, but it's not because they're slaves, it's because the majority of their remuneration package that isn't reflected in their wage.) It's little different to working on commission, except that it's down to the whim of a customer to assess performance.
    But when a minimum tip is expected regardless of quality of service, this is not really a performance-related component....it is largely a means of passing a portion of the owners' business risk onto the employees (i.e. in the absence of the 'expected' tip base wages would be higher, but so would food/drink prices).

  17. #17
    Senior Member Dragunov21's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry O'Speedwagon View Post
    But when a minimum tip is expected regardless of quality of service, this is not really a performance-related component....it is largely a means of passing a portion of the owners' business risk onto the employees (i.e. in the absence of the 'expected' tip base wages would be higher, but so would food/drink prices).
    The 15-20% isn't a minimum, it's the expectation for average service. If you receive legitimately poor service that negatively influences your experience, then the expectation is that you will drop it down (let's say to 10%, for argument).

    The point I'm trying to make is that if you view any tip as encouragement/extra reward (in the US), then your standards are skewed. To drop a tip entirely, the service must be so bad that you feel they only deserve a dollar or two for the half-hour of effort they put put into serving you (assuming they're serving multiple tables.

    Thus, anyone who isn't completely shocking can, I feel, expect a tip in the US. With the overwhelming majority standard for coffee in the US being that "ok" coffee is what we would consider undrinkable swill, to penalise a barista for giving you such is way off-base.

    A bit like a foodie going to Denny's, ordering a stack of pancakes and then refusing to tip because they are not to his (high) standards.

  18. #18
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Many don't realize that wait staff earning minimum wage in the US ($2.13/hr rather than the $7.25/hr minimum everybody else makes.) are charged Federal Income Tax as if they are making the $7.25/hr. Those taxes are deducted from their paycheck which usually leaves them with little or nothing in the paycheck. This of course means that literally their only take home pay is what they get in tips. This topic has come up before.

    In many states it is legal for a business to put a tip right on your bill as if it were a tax. Even worse not all states allow you to challenge the tip!

    To bring things back on topic life is too short for bad coffee, in the morning or any other time of the day!


    Java "Who says slavery is dead?!?" phile
    Toys! I must have new toys!!!

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Emille View Post
    So, I now start work at 6am.. Lucky me.
    Starting at 6am is not an issue as such as I get to finish at 3. What sucks about it is that my favourite Cafe, which is near home, does not open till 7.
    Where I work, which is in the city, but on the far east side, choices for good coffee are pretty much non existent. There is one cafe but I have to hope on a bus to get there.
    #firstworldproblems

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    It's simples fella. Jump into 'hardware for sale' and take home any of the Sylvia/rocky packages that come up once a week or so and take control

    Depend on a cafe no more!

    Wake up the household! (My girlfriend hates me, my 5.30am alarm and my grinder/coffee machine.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragunov21 View Post
    That is still money owed, it's just not included in the sticker-price of the meal.
    How can you owe money if it's not in the sticker price? Sticker price creates a contract for that value.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Dragunov21's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hildy View Post
    How can you owe money if it's not in the sticker price? Sticker price creates a contract for that value.
    Not everything owed is legally enforceable. There is a societal understanding in the US that certain employment positions are "tipped" and that tipped positions generally attract a 15% tip, give or take for unusually bad/good service.

    This understanding is also accounted for under Federal labour laws. If you're interested, have a look through the following links:

    Gratuity - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Tipped wage in the United States - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs15.pdf

    Just because a debt is not legally enforceable does not mean it is not owed (ethically) if the person receiving the service was aware of the expectation to pay it when they chose to ask for the service.

    If you walk into a cafe and say "Can I please have a coffee", they make it, then you pretend you were just asking for one for free and not trying to purchase, then while they may not be able to do anything about it legally, common sense dictates that you have screwed them over. Similar (though not completely parallel, I know) deal.

    *EDIT* Also worth noting that when talking about goods to which sales tax is applied, they will often (state dependant) be listed exclusive of sales tax. Total PITA when I have $1 in my pocket, see a chocolate bar and only find out I can't afford it once the servo attendant rings it up.

  23. #23
    Senior Member askthecoffeeguy's Avatar
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    I take my hand held grinder and a pour over device when Im on the road or interstate - and that way Im never disappointed !

  24. #24
    Coffee Nut fg1972's Avatar
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    I religiously have a coffee or two at home in the morning regardless how early it is. Machine is on a timer so it is ready to go.
    At work, instead of having potentially bad coffee (very likely), I just bring some quality tea bags and settle for a nice tea instead.

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    Toward the end of last year, I woke up for my 7am, Gaggia classic had cacked itself. (Mild headache)

    I can make it to school , where i have a lovely old Krups which has served me for all of my working life, and just cut to my regular 8:35.

    Ready... set.... shoot........

    and the seal around the group head has perished, causing coffee, cup, basket to fly off the handle. (Tears are close.)

    One hour of my class before I get a break on this morning, which I spent performing mouth to mouth on Krups.

    Got her going in the end, but God... I don't want that to happen ever again.


    Gaggia since been repaired beautifully, and the Krups has been replaced.

    PS Anyone know where to find a group head seal for a 15 year old Krups?

  26. #26
    Senior Member Dragunov21's Avatar
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    You could measure the ID/OD and thickness and sees if anything currently available matches it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragunov21 View Post
    You could measure the ID/OD and thickness and sees if anything currently available matches it.
    Good idea. Will try. I actually did buy one online that claimed to be for a Krups but just did not fit. $5 punt. Didn't work.

    sbm

  28. #28
    Senior Member Dragunov21's Avatar
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    I imagine Krups have changed their design some tone in the last fifteen years and most online sellers wouldn't realise.

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    So yesterday, I went to the lunch bar in my building, knowing the coffee would be bad, but it was better than walking further for a coffee that would be just as bad. I also picked up a coffee for one of my bosses who starts a little bit later than me. I watched the guy make the coffee, I watched the shot come out of the machine, it gushed out, I reckon it blonded in less than 10 seconds. I just wanted to say to the guy, "Please, grind a little finer and tamp a little harder and your coffee will be so much better".

    Anyway, this morning, my boss got in and offered to buy me a coffee to return the favour. He always goes to the lunch bar in the building, I accepted.
    When he brought it back to my desk, he said "Be careful, it is nice and hot, a bit burny".
    All that went through my head was "coffee and nice and hot do not mix". I took the lid off, and let it cool for a few minutes before I even attempted drinking it. The coffee could have been worse, so I finished it.

    The interesting thing is, this lunch bar uses Fiori coffee, which in my opinion has always been great when in the hands of a skilled barista. I think they would sell enough coffee to maintain freshness levels, so that leaves grind and technique. I am assuming that Fiori provides the Wega Machine they use as well as the grinder, so what interests me is that they are not training the resellers of their coffee to prepare the coffee correctly and tweak the grind as needed, which is not doing good things for their brand..

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    Nothing worse than a bad coffee first up in the morning, especially on the half-dead espresso machine at home. Freshly roasted beans - check, milk ready in jug -check, machine heated - check....then boom......a pale white show of pure sadness and frustration! Prob not the best for the spouses happiness either when you end up red in the face "stupid machine...argh etc etc". Ah well, birthday present here we come!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragunov21 View Post
    I imagine Krups have changed their design some tone in the last fifteen years and most online sellers wouldn't realise.
    Yes. Fair enough... Come to think of it, I have not see n this model anywhere since I bought it. I remember my mate got one only a couple of months later and that type I notice still floating around... but not mine.


    If I were any good with hthis sort of thing I'd take a photo and put it on here, but I'm not.


    I will try measuring though and see how I go.

  32. #32
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    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    I would agree it is a first world problem.

    the trouble with rotten product/service is often the people dont even realize there is a problem.

    Starting work at 6 am try being a baker we are often finishing about then.



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