The first 4 waking hours of today were the most stressful I think I’ve ever had.

There’s nothing quite like the horrifying, jarring, grating experience to be woken up at 11am by your phone, turning round and slurring “mmmysmfusmlllllllo?” into the reciever only to find that it’s your newly assigned business account bank manager who you desperately have to convince that your business is financially sound and that you need a £30,000 loan to pay for a business premium. If there is it’s probably when, after have said how much money you need and what you need it for, your newly assigned business account manager asks,

“What is a business premium?”

Weird how seemingly no one outside of E1 konws what they are, anyway… I’d overslept by an hour and had about 12 different things to do before half past six so ran around like a headless chicken getting more and more worked up and less and less productive until I went off and went bowling with Seb and Pat. Suddenly I realised that all my deadlines were set by me, I could leave calling my supplier until monday, I didn’t have to look through materials at the card prining company, getting to grips with nvu could wait and actually all I had to do today was buy fruit, make dinner and make sure that the guy selling me scallops could sell me a few more. Today turned out really good.

Yesterday was a completely different matter… I feel a rant about coffee coming on.

Why is everyone in the coffee business so mind bogglingly incompetent? I am now firmly resolved to not buy a Gaggia and to not buy an automatic bean to cup cheat machine. I drank 8 cups of espresso yesterday (and felt really awful today because of it, it made me feel almost drunk and achey in muscles I just didn’t know could ache) and the people who gave them to me were either rude or useless at making coffee and sometimes both at the same time.

I don’t pretend that I know anything about coffee, so it really really pisses me off when it’s clear that people who know less than me try to act all snobby and that I should be forever in their debt for being able to sample their shitty products. The first and definitely worst coffee experience of the day was the Gaggia sales lady in the basement at Selfridges and it set the tone perfectly for the rest of the day. Please please please if you’re in London and especially if you’re looking scruffy and poor go down to the coffee machines and ask the sales lady if you can try an espresso from one of the machines, she’ll probably give you a really dirty look then say something like,

“You know we only sell machines.”

“Yes.”

“You know it’s not sweet.”

“Yes.”

“You know, it’s espresso.” (fake Italian accent… blatantly secretly Hungarian)

“Yes, espresso. Could I try one from the Gaggia Baby and one from the Titanium.”

“No, you try one from this one and this one if you want, (she says pointing to a Classic and a Synchrony) it’s the same machine.”

“They have the same insides?”

“Yes, this one is automatic and this one is manual, same!” (as she flings a pod into the semi-automatic) “Both beans are the same too. Arabica.

“Riiight… can you tell me anything about how to adjust the machines, like can you change the operating temperatures or anything?”

“This one is manual. This one is automatic, you change it with the buttons, see? Here it makes one cup, here it makes two. This is for milk”

Hopefully if we get enough people to bother her she’ll eventually pop.

The cup from the bean to cup machine was a lot better than the cup she made with the “manual” machine, the bad one was really bitter and tasted like (from what I’ve read) she was either overextracting or running the water temperature or boiler pressure too high… the pod coffee probably didn’t exactly help either. I don’t know about you, but I’d feel sad if my job was to sell coffee but I couldn’t make coffee better than £200 of machine. Somehow though it seems to be the trend, the best espressos I had all day (apart from one) were made by machine and anywhere that didn’t use a machine seemed to be painfully pretentious about it. Probably I just haven’t found the right coffee shop yet, but it worries me slightly that people are prepared to pay good money for not great coffee and shitty service.

Once I get my machine I’m going to practice and practice and practice until I can seriously kick ass, then I’ll make awesome coffee and smile at my customers… unless they’re shitweasels.

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