Pet Peeves – Issues Surrounding Coffee

The following might have you thinking me a miserable git, or nodding in vigorous agreement. These are actually two different pet peeves, but revolving around the same substance: Coffee…

Coffee Pet Peeve Number 1: Coffee-flavoured milk drinks

There are a few aspects to this pet peeve that drive me nuts:

  1. Most things that people buy in “coffee shops” are not coffees but coffee-flavoured milk drinks. That is the first strike against people who order such products. Neither a latte, a cappuccino, a white americano, nor a flat white are coffees. They are coffee-flavoured milk drinks. Coffee makes up approximately 20% of these drinks at best. Do not call them a coffee.
  2. If you like cappuccinos you do not like coffee. You are not a coffee lover if you partake of these products.
  3. In order to receive the double espresso or the black filter coffee that I require, which each take about 10 seconds to prepare, I have to stand in the queue behind people ordering coffee-flavoured milk drinks, which inevitably postpones the enjoyment of why I walked into the coffee shop in the first place.
  4. The typical coffee-flavoured milk drink customer’s indecision on what flavouring (!!!) they want added to their drink as well as the time it takes to warm up the milk and the intense concentration of the barista when he makes shapes on the surface of the finished product have me tearing my hair out in frustration.
  5. And God forbid if one has only 15 minutes to catch one’s train but ends up getting stuck behind four female pensioners who decide they want just a “little treat” or some such from the platform coffee shop. It is agonising. I once stood in a queue with only one party of four in front of me, and abandoned it after 10 minutes because they all wanted coffee-flavoured milk drinks with added flavourings.
  6. If you want hot amaretto-and-coffee-flavoured drinks why don’t you go across the street to the pub and order a Kahlua and amaretto and tell them to nuke it in the microwave for about 30 seconds? You’ll be good to go, and feel better for it. And you’d make my life more pleasant, as it would make way for people who actually like coffee.
  7. Because people don’t like coffee, but rather coffee-flavoured milk drinks, the quality of the beans in most chain shops is deplorable. Why should the chains care about decent-tasting coffee when most of their customers don’t like coffee?

[Oh and don’t I remember the late 90s when I first moved here and all you Brit sorts were making fun of my American accent by using the phrase “decaff skinny latte” with nasal tones at an attempt at some sort of ironic humour. The joke’s on you, buddy boy: Thanks to the hegemony of American culture (a la “Friends”) I only ever hear those words spoken with English accents without the slightest hint of post-modern irony. Hah!]


Coffee Pet Peeve Number 2: The office coffee ritual

As with above, there is more than one aspect to this. And if it makes me an unsociable bastard, then so be it.

  1. The offer to get coffee for everyone in the office. I hate this. I drink coffee when I want to, not when someone else decides they want one. As a consequence, I only ever buy coffee for myself, usually on my return to the office from some other location in the building. I do not make a point of coming back to the office to ask everyone else if they want one.
  2. And just because you ask me every time you go (and I never avail myself of your services), it does not give you the right to look hurt or shake your head in disdain at me if I got a coffee and didn’t ask you for one. I never asked you to ask me if I want a coffee: I have no expectation of you nor obligation to you; I should be given the same courtesy!
  3. And don’t say you do it because you’re naturally polite, you do it because it is “what is done” and you do not want to be seen colouring outside of the lines for fear of being considered an unsociable git like me. Get over it.
  4. Following on from the concept of people getting coffee for everyone in the office, is the people who go to the free coffee machine with one of those contraptions that holds multiple cups of liquid at once so that they can get coffee for up to ten people at a time.
  5. Whoever came up with the idea of the multiple free coffee cup should be shot, and whoever got the idea to include these contraptions in the catalogue for office supplies should be drawn and quartered.
  6. If I come and stand in the queue behind you and you have one of thes contraptions and I don’t, chances are I only want one coffee from the machine. If you are still pouring your first of ten, why don’t you stand aside and make way for someone who needs one shot from the caffeine delivery system. It ain’t that hard, and if you have time to pour ten coffees, you are not in a hurry.
  7. If you are curious as to why this coffee snob would deign to use the free coffee machine, see point number 7 from the first section…Occasionally I find it necessary to use the free coffee machine at work, because the coffee from the coffee shop is bad. And it is inconsistently bad, never tasting the same twice. At least I can rely on the consistency of poor quality from the machine. (I once worked directly for a the board level guy in charge of facilities for a large corporation. He loved it when the coffee in the free vend machine was atrocious; less people used it and he spent less money.)

Anyway, I don’t mind being considered unsociable as long as it brings a little sunshine to my life by being left alone.

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