When I started writing about coffee and this Grail like hunt for the perfect sip began, I wasn’t really aware that it would turn into an actual quest followed by a surprising number of people out of which I know, maybe, 15%. And it got me thinking about what I’m really doing here. I’ve had positive acknowledgement from some coffee houses after they’ve been featured. There’s also been one or two vague suggestions in the comment section of the blog that I should try this or that place because of the amazing coffee they always have there. Most likely that’s because they are staff or owners of the recommended place. Yes, I can see the email address when I approve a comment so try to be subtle. Please? But I really appreciate the amount of hits the posts get so I shouldn’t be too sensitive on the subject I suppose. What I’ve also been thinking about is what different criteria and qualities I’m looking for. I think the main things are from my own time as restaurant staff when I was younger. Having filled basically all positions available, and imaginable, in restaurants and cafés from the age of 14 I have a pretty good idea about what I like and don’t like. And also what is possible and what’s not. When I see a coffee house owner being lazy I see red and start hyperventilating. Not using his full imagination and his or his staffs’ capacity makes me really cross. If you have the opportunity to create something stunning and unique: do it! That’s what makes people like myself talk and write about you and your place. That, after all, is what you want isn’t it?
Anyway, these are some of my main concerns:
Regardless of it being contemporary or housed in a 17th century building, it must fit its own environment. Brushed stainless steel might very well work in a baroque building, it just demands more of the owner and interior designer when creating the coffee house. Clashes of styles from different eras can be the coolest, most up-to-date and inspiring ever, as long as it’s done well. It is such an important part of creating a nice atmosphere.
You might think this an obvious thing not needing to get mentioned. Well, no one is as sorry as I that it has to be brought up. A beautiful, virtually perfect place can be ruined because of bad staff. Laziness, noninterest, slow service and rudeness are just not on. Waiting for over ten minute for ones coffee when it’s just me and the barista’s boyfriend there is unacceptable. It happens much to often. When you’re lucky to be served by a genuinely service minded and smiley person though, it’s such a joy and my belief in humankind and my hope for the service sector is always restored! Usually to be shattered in time for my next visit.
This really isn’t something I care too much about when writing about these places. A coffee won’t set you back too much. Never ever. Just enjoy the fact that a good macchiato will never be as expensive as a glass of Chateau Petrus. Luckily.
It needs to be top notch, top of the game, go the whole nine yards and, well, you get it now I’m sure. A lousy coffee can make me swear never to return. If the drink is beyond saving, I can’t even be arsed to send it back. If you have a barista who is incapable of handling the machine in the first place, why believe that he could do so on a second try? Cynical perhaps, but I have better things to do than drink putrid acid claiming to be an espresso. Basta cosí.
Small things like an exceptionally clean toilette, lack of a toilet etc. might either turn the visit into a perfect experience or it might destroy the picture-perfect little pink bubble I was floating around in before I was taken back to reality. It is always such a disappointment when that happens. However, it is equally an indescribable joy when it is the opposite. Like a few weeks back when the toilette at this particular coffee house had personal cotton towels instead of a noisy hand dryer or paper towels. I would expect that at Fortnum & Mason, but not at a regular coffee house. That experience made my day. Other things that might prevent me from returning (apart from lousy coffee) is dirty spoons, dirty tables, uncomfortable chairs and…well…I’m sure you get the picture…
So all in all it is pretty basic and easy, wouldn’t you say? Do the best you can, make a real effort and there you have it: success. The food and drink blogging community will love your place and it will be the thing everyone talks about, the place that serves the best coffee all categories. I can’t wait to pay You a visit!