08/09/2004 Entry: ""
Posted by Maynard @ 11:13 AM MST
Coffee, the liquid hug
Gilby likes coffee. So does James Lileks. From today's bleat:
Off to Starbucks to read the book. I was behind a fellow who had ten years on me; he was schooled in the old ways of joe. He placed his order thus:What Lileks is really identifying here is the same problem I have with indescriptive color names: too many words with not enough meaning.
"A cup of coffee, black."
"Room for cream?"
I was next. What would I like?
"I’d like a medium coffee," I said, since I’ll be gol-durned if I ever say "venti" to these people. I’ll give them Beijing for Peking, Hindu for Hindoo, but medium will be Medium until the day I die. "Black."
"Room for cream?"
Kids today. They don’t know. They’ve lost the lingo.
Of course, there is the tacit point that he and Gilby make about waitstaff ignoring what customers ask for. That's besides the point, since its found everywhere. Gilby always mocks me for taking cream & sugar with my regular coffee. I like sweet flavors in my coffee, but I'll always try a new coffee flavor black. I'll occasionally drink Gloria Jean's Chocolate Forest Mint black, but mostly I add cream & sugar to bring out the sweetness. And espresso always comes black. I have no problem with proliferation of flavors.
What grates me is the use of words that add no understanding to the name of the product. It should be that you can ask for a cup of coffee by saying you would like a
(size) [temp] [flavor] [specialty] coffee, [cream] [sugar]
where the items in parentheses are required and the items in brackets are optional. For example, a "medium coffee, black" or a "large mint espresso coffee" would be valid orders. Hot would be the assumed temperature, Black would be the assumed sweetness, Regular would be the assumed caffienation. Instead we get Starbucks words like "Tall", "Grande", and "Venti". Tall used to mean large. Now it means small. Why?
Why add words that don't help? I understand that cappuccino and espresso are coffee types that are specially brewed, I don't have a problem with that. But what the FLIP is a macchiato or frappuccino? Did a monk sit up all night trying to figure out the perfect blend of macchi and coffee? Or coffee and frappe? I could understand if they were words derived from other languages, then it could be a simple case of ignorance (which is excusable the first time, but not the second). But Venti does not mean anything, at least in English.
As for the black vs. cream & sugar debate, its a matter of personal taste. Like I said, espresso and new flavors I take black, but I do like to add cream & sugar otherwise. At least I'm clear that its cream & sugar, instead of saying "frothe and glucosiousness".
09Aug2004 1342 MST: I went to the Barnes & Noble today at lunch and asked for "an espresso brownie and a medium coffee, black". The clerk asked me if the house was okay, I said yes. She poured, without asking if room for cream was needed, put on the lid, and handed it to me.
There was room for cream. An inch worth.
I feel cheated.
With all the "choices" in coffee, there is an easy solution to the whole problem. Don't drink the caffine-laced liquid. That's me. I never learned to drink the vile stuff, especially the tar-like stuff my parents brewed. I used to get my caffine from cola products. Now, I have even given up that stuff. If you want/need a morning pick-me-up, try 30 minutes on an exercise bike or other physical work-out. That and 2 quarts of water will wake anybody up. And you don't have trouble going to sleep at night because of the caffine-induced jitters. And you won't be as dehydrated from the caffine and not drinking enough water. See simple solutions.
Posted by Philip Maynard @ 08/09/2004 01:52 PM MST
Another Jeremy-Quote: "If you want Hot Cooca, order Hot Chocolate, don't add cream to your coffee. Put the cream down!"
*sniff* its nice to know I'm not alone.
Posted by Jeremy @ 08/09/2004 05:22 PM MST
Matt has a good point. In Venezuela, coffee (café) is consumed sweet, light, and small. It’s brewed with the cream and sugar. Therefore I soon learned “Café Negro Grande por favor” to which came the reply “Gringo!” and a regular black coffee without sugar every time. The locals would say “Cafe con leche y sucar”.
Regarding the wait-staff’s ability to understand BLACK COFFEE, maybe if they got paid more and we paid $2.50 for a cup --- wait, maybe that won’t (didn’t) work.
I had an interesting stop at Arby’s in upstate NY to get a small coffee to keep me awake on the road.
Welcome to Arby’s, can I help you?
Thank you, small black coffee to go please.
Is that for here or take-out?
Cream or sugar?
I looked at the manager in the back and grinned. She came from the back, poured a black coffee and handed it to me.
Cashier – That will be $1.26.
Manager to cashier – you pay for it.
Manager - And I hope you come back soon, please?
The next week and every week after that, I made it a point to stop for something to eat and coffee. The manager always greeted me with a warm “welcome back, how’s the driving weather going to be tonight” and the employees gave me the name, small black coffee.
Posted by Dad Gilby @ 08/10/2004 05:30 PM MST
Great fun! MM.net is turning into a place where curmudgeonly old men can rant with their curmudgeonly young sons.
Posted by Maynard @ 08/11/2004 06:26 AM MST
Dad always has entertaining stories.
Posted by Jeremy @ 08/11/2004 04:19 PM MST
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