brewing embarrassment

It tastes like burnt.

That was my initial view and response to coffee. I’m not sure what it was, the flavour of the caffeinated beverage drunk by basically everyone was not something which I enjoyed. And that was despite the fact I am an arts student and should actually be taking coffee into lectures and/or tutorials, gripping the cardboard cup and ingesting its goodness in an attempt to stay awake and actually learn.

I’ve never claimed to be a coffee connoisseur. One of my cousins – they know who they are – is one such coffee snob. When I visited her a few years ago she promptly decided to lecture me in my coffee-drinking ways, and pointed out that there was, and is, only one coffee brand she likes to drink, therefore going out of her way to drive to places that supply her precious drop. Picky much?

Maybe because I was late onto the coffee scene I am therefore significantly more low-brow and laissez-faire about it all. After weaning myself onto coffee via the chocolate route – the mocha (mainly due to the fact that drinking red bulls in winter was way too cold), I have since become rather hard core switching to long blacks (with a tiny bit of skinny milk). My preferred coffee brand? (Don’t laugh) Gloria Jeans.

Commercialised, I know. Generic, I know. But hey, I know what I’m getting and baby I like it (the way you brew my long black (Enrique Iglesias style (and btw, he’s rather good looking these days, eh?))). Also, Gloria Jeans is easy to find. Success.

Ok so more to the point of this entry. After getting to uni early before class, I have become somewhat of a regular at the local Gloria’s. It became much of a routine –getting a coffee before class and enjoying the warmth and caffeine it provided.

‘Long black, with a tiny bit of skinny’, I would ask the trendy Asian barista, weekly. Then he surprised me.

Walking up to the counter and proffering my loyalty card (also, bonus points there, free coffee!), he smiles.

‘Do you want your usual?’

I have become a regular. Slightly embarrassed but also rather impressed I say yes and smile. How lovely.

A few weeks later though I am significantly more embarrassed. After ordering my regular, usual trendy Asian barista passes my order onto the other guy.

‘So I’m making a long white?’ he asks trendy Asian barista. He is given a yes.

A Long White? Wtf is that?

Stepping back and looking confused, I notice a huge sign behind the counter. The ‘Long White’ – an espresso with a little bit of milk.

Eh? That poster has so not always been adhered to that wall, I would have noticed! Is this something new? Is this a universal thing that all coffee houses do? How long has that poster been there making me look like a complete fool?! I would like some answers!

Deadpan. I thought it was easy to order a long black. I can’t distinguish between a cappuccino, frappucino, macchiato, or latte. I have absolutely no clue. They just have frothy stuff? I thought I had it right with the long black, but apparently I have it wrong! Oh the shame.

I feel like the somewhat regular customer I have at work and her embarrassing ‘wrong-coffee order’ moment.

The first time I serve her does not go well. Bending down to take out her groceries from the trolley is a struggle for her. As I start scanning her items, she’s up and down getting them on the conveyor belt rather haphazardly, her items rolling everywhere as the belt moves. One last reach into the trolley she grabs her chocolate and vigorously attempts to get it onto the belt. It becomes airborne and in her efforts, it hits me on the chin.

Stunned that I’ve become the victim of a chocolate attack, I step back to pick it up. As I stand up to scan it, I notice her face. She looks mortified; her face a nice shade of crimson (probably enhanced by her enthusiastic grocery-movement from trolley to belt)

‘Omg omg omg’ she rattles off, ‘I am so sorry I didn’t mean to throw my chocolate at you. I’m sorry, I’m really sorry. I’m so embarrassed I just don’t know my own strength sometimes!’

I tell her it’s ok – it’s only chocolate and I am glad it is not a tin can of tomatoes. I hope to instil in her a sense of okay-ness. She does not look relieved, her face still tomatoey-coloured and continuing to tell me about her embarrassment and shame. After paying, she quickly moves away.

The other day I serve her and the first thing she does is tell me she’s been avoiding me because of her shame about ‘the chocolate incident’.

‘I’m so embarrassed to be at your register because of that chocolate I threw at you before. I can’t believe I did and every time I see you, I try and hide. I’m so sorry; I won’t throw any chocolate at you today’.

As I scan her groceries, she again continues to tell me of her humiliation. I can’t believe she’s been avoiding me because she’s still embarrassed. But these things stick, don’t they?

To be honest, for the rest of semester I’ve been avoiding trendy Asian barista because all my I-know-what-coffee-I-am-ordering has come unstuck.

Maybe I should admit defeat – being the low-brow, commercialised coffee-drinker I am, it is only Gloria Jeans, right? And not everyone is like me and because of certain buying habits of customers gives them nicknames, right? Because, chocolate-throwing lady, there is no need to be embarrassed!


1 Response to “brewing embarrassment”

  1. 1 Alexia
    July 4, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    I’m not so fussy these days.

    Actually that’s not true.

    I AM fussy when it comes to my coffee and who is making it. But where brand is concerned, I don’t really mind so much… To a degree.

    The degree being Starbucks and other Coffee Shop chains *winks* and how desperate I am for a fix.

    But I DEFINITELY drink more than just Allpress now. In fact, I can’t actually remember the last time I had an Alpress coffee. I mostly drink Espresso Workshop coffee due to it’s proximity to my work and the friendly and talented Baristas. They do these pour over filter coffees, they’re new and hip, and most importantly for you – they’re REALLY tasty black with a little milk! ;) You should come over and try one soon.


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