A few weeks ago, I came across a story about the Murky Coffee shop on Capitol Hill that had many Americans in a maelstrom of passion and opinions when one of the baristas at Murky Coffee refused to serve a guy (who just happened to be a journalist for The Washington Post) a triple espresso on ice.
“It’s against company policy,” he explained. It was a boiling hot day and the journalist’s temper was also at boiling point. He ended up ordering a triple espresso and some ice cubes on the side. That was not against company policy. Then – of course – he ended up pouring his coffee over the ice cubes in order to make his own iced espresso.
The journalist was so incensed that he wrote an article about his experience in the paper – and the rest, as they say, is history. The owner of Murky Coffee replied, explaining that the coffee shop had several policies: no sleeping (for the customers), no espresso to go, and no espresso over ice.
Why? Because they take great pride in their coffee and in keeping the highest possible quality for their customers. Coffee is so much more than we think it is.
Yes – I could appreciate this reasoning. Pride in work. Great coffee. Unbeatable drinking coffee experience for me, the customer.
That is – until today! After lunch, and before returning to work (which has the worst coffee in the world, I might add), I desperately needed a cappuccino. So, I went down to the local bakery where I have been buying cappuccinos to go for years. Years, I tell you!
This is an Austrian bakery famous for its pastries (NOT its coffee) and run by a very strict Austrian matriarch. “A cappuccino to go, please!” I say sweetly.
“No. We only serve cappuccino in cups.”
“Since when?” I gasp. “Since last week?”
“Cappuccino in cups. You can have a latte to go.”
“I don’t like latte,” I reply.
“Cappuccino in cups.” (It was getting a bit repetitive.) OK – time to get creative, I thought to myself!
“OK. Can you make me a latte but with half the milk?” I suggest.
“What about if I promise not to drink the coffee until I get back to work and then pour it into a proper cup?” I say in my desperate I-need-caffeine voice.
“No. No cappuccino to go. No espresso to go.”
“No.” I declare. “You have now lost a faithful customer. And anyway, you’re not a coffee shop. You’re a bakery!”
I go up a flight of steps and get a really good cappuccino to go in another store.
It’s one thing for a coffee shop who does nothing all day but serve coffee to refuse to serve an iced espresso … maybe. But it’s quite another thing for a bakery to refuse me, Lady Fi, a cappuccino to go.
Doesn’t the customer have any rights left? Can we not decide how we want to drink our coffee? Do we not have freedom of choice?
My dad refuses to drink his tea in anything but a china cup. So, I’m sure he would appreciate all this coffee refusal. But not me – I’m still quivering with righteous indignation.
Oh yes – and one more thing! Remember that the only right way to drink tea from a china cup is to hold the handle delicately with your fingers and thumb – but with your little finger sticking out at an angle!