It’s all caffeine, who cares how it’s made?
Photo courtesy of Paolo Asi
by Paige Hallows
Coffee. The sustenance of student life, morning, noon and night. Great for… just about everything, from hang-overs, all-nighters, dates, hand warmers’ and generally as a go-to beverage. It tastes great, improves concentration and response time (I’ve actually studied this personally) and is the ultimate social glue. But why are there so many options?
My first issue with coffee is, surprisingly, it’s versatility. I just spent a week in Italy, the home of traditionally great coffee and you know what I was offered (and drank) five times a day? Espresso. Good ol’ espresso and it hit the mark every damn time. Starbucks, however, has over fifteen types of beans, and over thirty coffee-based drinks! That’s not even all the caffeinated ones, but I don’t actually have a problem with tea. Iced, hot, milk, sugar and occasionally flavoured. These are the only questions you will ever get asked about tea - no one is going to hassle you on the semantics of shots, how your milk is added, where your milk is added, why your milk is added.
Why do we need so many? Are you a tea drinker or a coffee drinker? Say coffee and the question is answered, but I’d bet all my SAAS money there are personality differences based on whether you’re happy with your black americano or you’d rather have an “extra skinny, double shot latte with one caramel and two hazelnut shots” – which someone has genuinely asked me for at my job as a waitress for a tiny café in the middle of nowhere.
Second issue. Having a favourite is pointless. Over the summer I picked up an extra job as a barista, nothing too complicated, the usual latte, cappuccino, mocha, americano, flat white and macchiato (I had to learn what this was); however, you’ll imagine my surprise when my boss asked me to make a latte, and following the protocol of my first job, I made one. Wrong.
Place to place, every singular type changes, so what’s the point in going through the hassle of choosing in the first place? It’s pointless.
Being employed in the tourism industry, a side problem of the range is that most people who come in ask me for coffee. English speaking or not, I am obliged by my job to figure out which one you want, to give you the ultimate coffee experience, which is frankly just stressful for both parties and from what I’ve found after 50 customers a day, people want a cappuccino or espresso. They’re happy with that. Please, can the industry stop making it so damn complicated.Less is more, no?
The preconceived belief you make, is the reason why some places have coffee that tastes brilliant and some that are complete garbage, and since there’s no way to control what kind the company is going to churn out - unless you’d risk telling the barista to ‘swirl it a little more, and make sure you tap before you pour, and don’t let an un-warmed mug cool it down too quickly’ - you may as well give up now.
I want caffeine. Just caffeine. So I’ll stick to my black americano as I pour in twenty-three little sugar packets to make them all taste like the sweet, hot mess I need to get through my day.