Monday, February 11, 2013

Cappuccino, Latte, Whatever....

I am not a barista. In fact, I loath the day that management decided to install a cappuccino machine. I worked in a coffee shop as a barista for about nine months so I know how particular people can be when it comes to their coffee drinks.

"Hi, can I get a half regular-half decaf, soy latte with extra foam and cinnamon but only if the cinnamon is organic and instead of all soy milk, can you just put in about a tablespoon of 2% milk? I'm lactose intolerant but I still love the taste of regular milk. Wait, make it whole milk. Why not, right? Wait, do you have almond milk? You do? Okay, I want an almond milk latte with caramel and chocolate sauce, extra foam, but no cinnamon on this one because it will fight with the taste of the caramel. But still put a tablespoon of whole milk in it. Wait, do you have heavy cream? You do? Okay, use that instead of the whole milk and put about two or three tablespoons for me. I also need to have two of those little cardboard wrappy things around it because I like it super hot and my fingers are very sensitive to heat. And can I get a glass of water with no ice while I wait? Well, a little bit of ice just to make the water cooler than room temperature but not so much ice that it's really cold. I have sensitive teeth too. Oh, and I want a a scone, but can I get that now because I can feel my blood sugar level is dropping. And I need my latte like two minutes ago because I'm in a super big hurry. Thank you so much!"

"Sure, lady. Why don't you have a seat and I will have a unicorn bring that over to you because you are living in a fucking fantasy world."

On the other hand, plenty of people are completely non-specific with their coffee drink requests and it can be frustrating when they don't know what it is they like and are upset when we serve them what they perceive to be the wrong thing. It happens way too often. I don't drink coffee but since I did my time as a Taylor the Latte Boy, I at least know what's what. Don't misunderstand me. Just because I did it for nine months does not make me an expert on it. I made all those capps and lattes but I was never so good at it that I could make a fancy design in in the steamed milk.

One time, I noticed that the milk resembled a penis but it was sheer happenstance and never happened again.

Recently a woman ordered a cappuccino from me. Cappuccinos can easily throw a server in the weeds and when it happens at the club, I try not to let it bother me even though I would way rather someone order a $15 martini that the bartender will make than a $5.95 cappuccino that I will have to wait forever for and go all the way downstairs to get. I go to make it myself instead of waiting for the food prep/coffee guy to notice there is a ticket coming out of his printer. I make the espresso and pour it into the glass and then steam the milk, being very careful to make plenty of foam. After pouring the milk into the glass of espresso while using the back of a spoon to hold back the foam, I gently spoon the foam on top of the frothy beverage making it as high as possible. I carry it upstairs and place it before the woman expecting some positive reaction to the beauty of my foamy peaks.

"Wow, that's a lot of foam," she tells me.

"Thank you," I say.

"I don't like foam," she says as she proceeds to scrape it off onto a bev nap.

I eye the bev nap and wonder why she thinks it's better to put the unwanted foam onto a napkin rather than on her empty plate. I turn to give my attention to another table as she raises the glass to her lips. As I am answering a question someone else has about their check, I hear the woman behind me.

"This is way too strong, my God. Excuse me, waiter? Can you fix this cappuccino? It doesn't have enough milk in it and there was way too much foam in it to begin with."

With a smile, I remove the mug.

"I'll make you another one, but how about a latte this time? A latte has very little foam and it has a lot more steamed milk. Maybe you would like that better."

"Cappuccino, latte, whatever. Nobody ever makes them right anyway," she says.

No, lady, not "whatever." If you want a latte, then order a latte. Now I have to go through all of this again just because you don't know what it is you like to drink. Educate yourself. Maybe the reason every time your latte comes out wrong it's because you ordered a cappuccino. Ever think of that?

I return five minutes later and deeper in the weeds with her "whatever" that was actually a latte.

"Here you are, ma'am. One cappuccino, with extra steamed milk and very little foam. Is there anything else I can get for you?"

She continues talking to her husband. and does not bother answering me.

"Very good, ma'am. Enjoy your cappuccino."

She drinks it all which I take to mean that she is satisfied with it. She will continue on with her confusion always ordering cappuccinos at Starbucks and getting upset when it isn't a latte. Good luck lady. Until you learn how to order, you will continually be disappointed. But I'm okay with that. After all, your lack of manners disappointed me, but I got through it.

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Mary A. said...

Fucking Starbucks. 20 years ago, the fanciest coffee anybody ever had was hazelnut or french vanilla. Now people order milkshakes for breakfast but tell themselves it's "blended iced coffee". It's a fucking milkshake and if you want to drop the next 30 lbs, stop having them for breakfast.

Wait. . did I just rant like an 80 year old? I did. I am so sorry.

Fucking starbucks. Why did they have to make coffee so fancy and delicious?

Anonymous said...

Hahahaha that is EXACTLY the man I had in my restaurant the other day. "I want some more coffee in my cappuccino"
Me " oh it's not strong enough? I can put another shot in for you"
Guy "no I want it filled with coffee"
Me "you would like an American with some milk"
Guy "no I want a cappachino but I want a PROPER one not one that is full of foam"
Ooookay dude you definitely meant to order a latte *sigh*

Anonymous said...

You made me laugh!

JoeinVegas said...

I'll have to start ordering decaf half caf lowfat cappuccinos after dinner more often.

MaeZ said...

Holy buckets, I had no idea the difference! For the record, I always order lattes (vanilla syrup please!), but I really had no clue what the difference between a cappucino and a latte was. Thank you Bitchy!

Indigo said...

Oh gods I hate people who don't know what they want when it comes to coffee. I don't even drink the stuff but at least I've learned the difference between a cappuccino, a latte, and a mocha.

We get so many people bitching about how our drinks aren't the same as Starbucks. Gee could it be because we're NOT Starbucks?

I had one woman come through the drive-thru with a cappuccino order. Made it, handed it out. It's not what she wanted so she banged on the window til I opened it again. Made her a latte. Rinse, repeat. Finally get fed up with her and go get her a cuppo'ccino from our self serve machine - which is basically hot water and some flavored powder. She loved it, but the manager still gave her a refund and a free drink coupon. Really, stupidity like that gets rewarded for some reason.

Anonymous said...

I own a cafe in Melbourne, Australia. If you don't know the difference between a latte, a cappucino, a mocha, a long black, a flat white, a short black, a machiatto, a ristretto, a chai or a vienna, you're in absolute strife. Melbournians are bloody brutal when it comes to coffee.

KC said...

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Anonymous said...

I am the least picky person ever about my coffee. I love the stuff. Bring it to me and I will consume every last drop. Love your blog, Bitchy. :)

Anonymous said...

I have to side with the lady - it sounds like you make a really awful cappuccino.

While it should get a little more foam than a latte, it shouldn't be an inch or even a half inch. It should be microfoam, which only good baristas seem to be able to accomplish. There's nothing (coffee related) I hate more than getting an inch of foam that "dams" up the espresso, only to have it burst out and scald me.

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