Thursday, May 01, 2008

I'll drink to that

Has the Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino® Blended Crème Grande had its day?

With 87,000 coffee choices on offer from just one beverage chain – do we really need anything more than a decent espresso or latte? Would the coffee drinking world be a poorer place without skinny cinnamon dolce lattes with sprinkles?

Starbucks stock is falling faster than a widow’s face before botox. This is good news for baristas everywhere. I want just one good cup, not thousands of permutations in takeaway containers identical the world over. It seems maybe I am not the only one.

Confessions of coffee sins past

I have drunk at Starbucks once. Eugene, Oregon 1999. Long black. My British host in this strange land insisted I undergo at least 2 cultural experiences - a coffee at the aforementioned chain and one diner meal (6 different types of fat on the same plate). He thought it was fair that I understood how the average American ate. The rest of the time was spent eating organic food, dairy free Mexican with tofu on the side, coffee from the best little cart in town and massive, wonderful American breakfasts at local knowledge cafes. Needless to say, I haven't been back to Starbucks since.

I drunk a mocca once. Auckland, New Zealand 1985. I liked it. I was young. I didn't know any better.

I still drink the odd soy decaf cap. Ok shoot me. It's unforgivable. It's when I have already had a coffee and another will do my head in, I've never finished one yet. I eat the froth then have a sip. It just isn't coffee.

Since the Significant Eater moved in with the trusty espresso machine, I've rarely drunk coffee out. I know how I like it (double shot, Columbian, longer than a short black but much shorter than a long one). Why wait til you've got your clothes on to risk someone else's attempt at it?

The coffee confessional is now open. Feel free to leave your caffeinated sins in comment for absolution.


The weekend just gone saw the running of the Australian Barista Championships. Even if the aforementioned chain eventually dies a slow death, I fear it is too late as our barista's appear to be infected. The fact that the competition calls for each maestro of the bean to serve up a 'signature coffee' is frankly alarming. But it is even worse to hear that those at the top of their profession are pandering to the judges to whip up concoctions like the following:
A NSW competitor, Hazel de Ios Reyes, came up with a creation that included chopped raisins, syrup, citrus zest, black truffles, baileys and porcini mushrooms. The savoury flavour impressed judges.


Congrats to Abbotsford barista David Makin for taking the crown, sans mushrooms.

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Blogger Antoinette said...

I'll confess to having drunk coffee from Starbucks in New York, May 2000. I was desperate and about to go and present a paper at a conference. Just had to have it. That coffee was not pleasurable - too weirdly big. Although it was supposed to be 'small'. Felt like Alice in Wonderland. I behaved afterwards like a fried and aggro speed casualty. So I blended in with midtown NYC crowd perfectly.

Can't go near decaffeinated - that belongs in the same category as self-flagellation, hair-shirts, and doing aerobics.

1:44 pm  
Blogger Desci said...

I confess that I don't get the FUSS over coffee. It smells nice and tastes ok, but why be a caffeine junkie every single day? I don't get why EVERYONE worldwide is so dizzy over it. I further confess to hating the typical 'not until my morning coffee' 'I neeeed coffee' clichés... Good coffee should be like good chocolate or good wine: discussed at length, and consumed sparingly.

Ok, I'm ready for my flaying now, hehe.

9:36 am  
Blogger said...

Hi there

Have just found your blog and it is yest another example of all the great food blogs that are out there! I just don't have time to read all the blogs I have saved at this stage! I started off blogging myself and have just set up which is a place for foodies, bloggers and chefs to hand out and share their recipes, photos and food videos. Would love to see you there sharing some of your great photos! Keep up the great work on the blog, have bookmarked it so will be a regular reader!

8:52 am  
Blogger Johanna GGG said...

I don't drink coffee - don't like the stuff - thought I was making a breakthrough with chocolate covered coffee beans but have discovered I can only eat them in very small amounts!

Am not much of a fan of starbucks (given that I don't drink coffee) but I did notice living in Edinburgh that there were very few nice coffee houses and so starbucks was quite acceptable place to go (compared to what else was on offer) but in Melbourne I don't think I have set foot in one - why would I when I can go to any number of fantastic cafes!

9:38 am  
Blogger GS said...

Welcome all the newcomers and good to see some regulars back again.

Caffeine divides us. I've never been a tea drinker. I can't even stand the smell of it. It all made sense one day in a specialty tea shop in Convent Garden, I picked up a sample of some loose tea and had a sniff - instant headache and nausea - "ah I get it, I must be allergic to the stuff", I thought.

Coffee is a mean drug. She woos you, then screws you with just one cup more! I wonder if it would be a different world without it? But til the spring detox I can dance with the devil a while. Just once a day and only if it tastes really good!

10:15 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been to Starbucks, too, but it was in Seattle and 1995.

Here's the killer though - I keep a jar of instant for my Dad, who drinks drip filter at home and finds a stove-top espresso too strong. (I also keep the Sugarine(!) he likes to drink in it.

10:32 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I second what Desci said in that I now don't get what all the fuss is about although I guess I got a little swept up in it many moons ago back in Fremantle. We have a good friend who is the consumate "coffee slut" who sells coffee by day and is right now in Italy attending a coffee forum!
I buy one cup on a Friday morning on the way to work for a hit and have a couple on the weekend and that is it. Detox for the rest of the week and it seems to work for me. As for Tea AOF...I pity you my dear, tis a wonderful thing if you get the taste for it.

4:14 pm  
Blogger GS said...

Oh Zoe how did I ever miss your comment about sugarine?! Artificial sugar scares me even more than the real stuff.

Clyde, I will never get tea. My body hates it. I can tolerate genmaicha, a Japanese combo of green tea (hands up people who didn't know that green tea is the same plant as regular tea, just not fermented?) and roasted rice. Just. But it doesn't impart the pleasure of that other brown drink.

7:07 am  

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