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7:07pm on Sunday, 5th September, 2010:

Another Latte to Remember


Last month, on one of my hated, frustrating and totally unnecessary wastes of a Sunday afternoon, I went to a Costa Coffee in Newmarket and had a latte to remember. I went again today.

This time, it was a different barista. Hoping that she may be more competant than the previous one, I ordered a gingerbread latte — £2.40 instead of the £2.05 a regular latte costs.

Oh gawd...

So this one went as follows:

She checked the temperature gauge on the steaming jug and looked inside it. She added no more milk, and stood it under the steaming rod. She switched the steaming rod on for about 5 seconds, until the temperature got up to where she wanted it. Then she switched it off.

Next, she reached for the syrup. The first one she picked up had "pain d'épices" on it, which is what the gingerbread syrup is called. She read the label, put the bottle down, and picked up another one. It was when she was about to pick up her sixth bottle that I pointed to the first one and told her that was the one she wanted. She poured about half an inch of it into the bottom of the cup and asked me if that was enough. I suspected it might be too much, but what do I know about coffee syrup? I told her it would be OK.

She poured the milk from the jug into the cup on top of the syrup. There was no froth whatsoever. It was just warm milk.

Her attention turned to the coffee. She did the same trick as the previous barista, wasting half the coffee by using a dual spout dispenser that sent half of it straight into a drain and the other half into a sludge-stained espresso cup she had (almost, but not entirely) emptied seconds earlier. When the coffee stopped running, she tipped the contents of the espresso cup into my cup, and put on the plastic lid.

I took it to the side, opened it up, stirred it, and had a sip.

Hmm. Yes. Next time someone asks me if half an inch of syrup in a regular coffee cup is enough, I'll know the answer: it's about twice as much as you need.

Oh well, at least I didn't need to put any sugar in.

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Copyright © 2010 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).