Sunday, March 02, 2008

Java Java Java Java

A long time ago I worked in the coffee bar/cafe section of a fairly well known book store as a manager. It sounds pretty easy, and it sounds like fun, but it's neither. One reason was that I had to deal with people asking me for coffee in cup sizes that I had never heard of. I'm sure you've seen the new Dunkin Donuts commercial where they say a large is a large? Yeah, that's what I ended up telling people. I even think that we did have kooky little names for our sizes, but I refused to use them if we did. In fact, quite often I'd even pass by the small, medium, and large and go straight to, "Do you want 12, 16, or 20 ounces?" Made life easier for me. 

I hated that job. Seriously, I had absolutely loved coffee before I started working in that section of the store, and by the end of 18 months the smell made me want to gag. I came home every single night smelling like damp, nasty, old, used coffee, and it was vile. The floors smelled like spilled coffee no matter how much they were cleaned (and frankly, I can think of a couple of people who really didn't clean that well). People used to take their mugs to a seat, and then when we went to retrieve them, because heaven forbid someone take their dishes to the bus bin, these mugs would have wadded up napkins and stirrers and often empty Sweet N Low packets in them. So yeah, thanks you asshat for making it so simple for me to clean my dishes. UGH having to reach into the cup that someone had just had his/her mouth on to get the trash out. I hate touching things that other people have used in this way. Bussing their silverware always made me barf a little in the back of my throat.

Anyway, back to coffee. Well, let me tell you that after 18 months I could make you any type of coffee drink you could ever think of. I made them well too. Being a control freak I'd usually have to walk away from the espresso machine if someone else was making a drink because otherwise I'd criticize technique. I mean, seriously. Like we're assembling automobiles or something. I often made my own drinks when I decided I actually wanted one, but there were one or two people that I trusted to make a drink for me without fucking it up. I didn't decide I wanted one often. I basically preferred opening in the mornings because I would make the pots of coffee, fill myself a mug, and get to work. Because that's what I drink. Coffee.

After I left this bookstore cafe and no longer had access to free coffee I started going to Dunkin Donuts almost every morning before work. I had a machine at home, but I was never inclined to use it to make my own coffee after 18 months of making coffee for other people. I never wanted to see another coffee pot again. And let me tell you something I'm sure you've already heard. Dunkin Donuts has COFFEE. They don't have any fancy-ass bullshit yuppie drinks. They have kick ass coffee that is absolutely by far better than ANY of the Starbucks or Seattle's Bests out there. It was lovely walking into the store and having the guy behind the counter start getting my order ready even before I made it to the counter. Medium coffee, double cream double sugar. It was always consistent. It never tasted any different. It was amazing.

After I left that job and wasn't near a Dunkin Donuts any longer I finally broke down and started using the coffee maker. Dealing with the grounds still makes me want to choke someone for not putting the pastries away, or for leaving their headband near the clean plates and cups (hello health inspector!!), and sometimes as I deal with them in the morning I can STILL hear "Manager Call 460! Manager call 460!!!" in my head. I'm drinking coffee though, and coffee is life. I apologized to it for our love/hate relationship, and it seems fine.

Oh, my brand now? Maxwell House. 


Dagny said...

yeah, that job sounds like it sucked.

I can smell the stale coffee in my nose even now, from the days of waitress. ick.

And up here we have Tim Hortens. It is the coffee of Canada. We still have stupid starbucks, but I'll tell you, the line at the drive through at Timmies in the am is something to see.

So go Dunkin Donuts!

Michele said...

lol, I can relate.
I worked at Mr. Donut for 6 mo and that pretty much burned me out on donuts for 15 yrs. I can eat donuts again (unfortunately) but I can't go into a donut shop or I feel like puking. The smell of lard and frying donuts and sugar icing... blech. I even had to store my coat in a remote closet at home, and the closet had nothing else in it, as anything in that closet would stink.

Nina said...

When we were working at that there bookstore about a million years ago and I wanted a double espresso americano with a hint of air (in an eensy little cup) I always came to you. You are goddess of coffee making.

jennyquarx said...

I love coffee. I would never take a job that would jeopardize my love of coffee. :) I don't do Starbucks. I can't justify that. If I want super awesome coffee, I will buy Johnson Brothers (local) and make it at home. Best coffee on EARTH. If I buy premade coffee, it is from McDonalds. They too have righteous coffee. But mostly I just make Hills Brothers.

Cyn said...

My mom bugs me that I moved to Seattle and do not like coffee or fish. According to her it is a law that I must now "convert", lol.

LizB said...

Like Jenny, I could never take a job that compromises my love of coffee. It's bad enough that the coffee at school is absolutely horrible; it always smells burnt and that odor wafts down the hall making me glad I brought my coffee from home. I buy fair trade coffee locally and make it in a French press.

Annie said...

I worked at a coffee bar once. I hated it, but I still love coffee.
I am an espresso girl, I make my own
every morning :-). Yumm

Em said...

Maxwell House is not bad! I drink the half-caff. :-)

Anonymous said...

Holy shitballs. I worked in the bookstore cafe of a very large bookstore chain too! (Bookstore)

I think I love you.

And dagny...when I think about what I miss the most from my residence in Canada, Timmies is always at the top of the list. Extra Large Double Double. Mmmmm...