Posts Tagged ‘Coffee Shops’

Now there’s a loaded question. I enjoy nothing more while practising a little retail therapy than to pop in somewhere for a coffee, especially if an almond croissant is involved.  But try going into your local high street coffee chain and just asking for a cup of coffee. Please. You’ll be met with an incomprehensible stare from the ‘barista’ who will gesture towards a blackboard behind the counter where a never ending list of coffee related permutations, in cup sizes ranging from thimble to bucket, is waiting for your confused perusal.



Cappucino, Skinny Cap, Macchiato, Latte, Americano, Espresso, Espresso Doppio, Ristretto, Mocha, Mocha Mellow, Babychino; the list is relentless – now repeat with a de-caff option and what have we got?  A coffee mocha-ry, that’s what. And can someone tell me what Flat White is? I have visions of slurping from the saucer.

 When push comes to shove, I stick with Americano. I like my coffee unadulterated and strong – with a dash, a mere dash – of cold milk, which I prefer to administer myself, so it’s a bit of a relief that my coffee shop of choice provides miniscule jugs from which to dispense said dairy addition.


No, of course it isn’t; whole milk, semi-skimmed, skimmed or cream; or perhaps soya?

If all this choice is not perplexing enough, there is now a vast array of syrups to contend with. Why not add a shot of caramel or hazelnut or butterscotch, suggests the barista – or even a splash of passion fruit? Why on earth would I want to do that? And since when has someone who serves coffee been (bean) called a barista? The word sounds like a Bond villain summoning his defence lawyer.

I accept that this penchant for themed caffeine has a place on the high street (okay, I admit it – I have a loyalty card), but it’s beginning to filter into our homes; there’s no getting away from it.  Twice of late I have been invited to different friends’ homes for morning coffee and a catch up, which is lovely on all counts except that both have recently purchased  new-fangled coffee machines complete with colour-coded coffee capsules. These capsules are the same size and shape as the tiny, impossible to open, catering packs of milk or cream which you balance on your saucer with a mass produced cup of tea or coffee sold  in such establishments as a hospital canteen. The colour coding on these  capsules corresponds to different flavours and strengths of coffee. They have tantalisingly operatic names, such as Rosabaya, Fortissio Lungo or Volluto.

These capsules are put into the machine at one end and a wonderful cup of steaming espresso is supposed to come out at the other. Except that it doesn’t. What actually comes out is a tiny cup of warmish coloured water that does not taste remotely like anything I’d call coffee.

 Nothing-like-espresso.  (I think that must be what the N stands for).

I’m no stranger to  coffee machines: I’ve dabbled in the past. We had an Italian espresso and cappuccino maker once which I persevered with for a while but it eventually found its way to the charity shop for some other poor soul to struggle with.000309921alt2[1] I went back to my trusty cafetière and have enjoyed perfect coffee ever since.

 So when you invite me round for coffee, no offence, but I’ll be bringing my own flask of home brew.

 And you can blame George Clooney.

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