Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A lot did not happen over Coffee!

I longed for a nice cuppa coffee after my 1.5 hours of swim session this Sunday.

After my swim, each time; I would rush to the cafe located in the club and order for a cup of coffee. It would be served hot in a paper cup. I would rush outside while sipping my coffee to catch the next bus to get home. The order was simple, The waiter would ask "What do you want madam?" with a smile. I would say "1 coffee please" and further add "In paper cup. :-) I would not want to stand here". He would say "No problem madam". My coffee arrives, I pay 6 Rs and leave sipping the ecstasy!

This Sunday, however; more than a cup of coffee, I longed for a perfect ambiance to relax and savor my coffee. I coaxed my friend to join me and we hunted down a famous coffee joint which advertises itself as A Lot Can Happen Over Coffee". We chose a plush couch with pillows thrown in. Dead tired we were, we just sank into the couch, snuggled a pillow. The environment was good, Bryan Adams' "Summer of 69" playing in the background; i was humming the song while waiting for the waiter to fetch us the menu card.

A grim looking guy came with a menu card, forwarded it to me. A smiling acknowledgement of "Thank you" was returned with another grim stare. Ohhh..alright, I thought the poor chap might have had a bad day so far. Browse through the menu, a wide variety of never-ending choices....

- Hot Coffee / Cold Coffee /Cappuccino, Espresso, Mocha, Latte, Frappe, Macchiato, Chococinno, Irish coffee, Coffee on the rocks.............
- Iced Tea, Lemon Tea, Peach Tea. Strawberry Tea.......Granitas....

The list had all combinations and permutations of coffee and tea. With/without cream, with/without ice cream, toppings with honey, whipped cream, chocolate sauce, with soy milk.........

After lots of shuffling and choosing, I decided I would try tea; cold tea(I don't know why I wanted tea after longing for coffee. Maybe the variety!). So my choice was Lemon Tea and my friend's - a Frappe. I waved at the waiter and the grim-face came by.

Me : 1 frappe and 1 Lemon Tea please
Waiter : (grim fa
ced)Cafe, Almond or Choco ma'am?
Me : (confused, my choice would have been plain coffee)
Waiter : With or without ice-cream?

Me : Without ice-cream(impatient now)

Waiter : Some cream ma'am

Me : No, thanks(Now with a smile actually hinting him to go away!)

Waiter : And the lemon tea ma'am, hot or cold?
Me : I quickly glance the menu and mention "Lemon Freeze" (That meant cold tea)

Waiter : Anything else ma'am?

Me :
That's about it (A smile again!)
Waiter : (Still grim faced) 1 Cafe Frappe with no ice cream and 1 Lemon Freeze...

Me : :-)

We continued our conversation as the waiter went with our orders. Hearing to "Summer of 69" repeatedly playing. A couple walked in and they made themselves comfortable.

While another guy took over preparing the frappe(I could hear the blender breaking ice cubes), our grim faced man went about his service with the just arrived couples.

The waiter brings in just 1 Frappe and says "Sorry ma'am, No Lemon Freeze". I quickly decide on ordering a Frappe. I obviously didn't want to be put into the interview session of my choice of Frappe; I ordered "A cafe frappe with no ice-cream and no other toppings".

I got my Frappe few minutes later. While sipping our frappes, I noticed something on the wall. It said "Anything missing in your coffee? If its the smile, you get your coffee free!"

I pointed it out to my friend and then looked at the grim-faced guy who coldly did about his way of serving a COLD COFFEE in a perfect COLD manner. Just then, my mind thought about the simple 6 Rs coffee served in my swimming club with a perfect smile by the canteen guy.

No ambiance, no "Summer of 69", no decor, would probably not know the meaning of "Customer Service and Value for money" - but it was all there.

Compared to this - Decor, ambiance, presentation, choice, variety....yet what a COLD environment.
I am not complaining. After all, I chose this. Where else can I hear to "Summer of 69" relaxed on a plush couch? So a little bit of grimness is fine.

But a perfect business to go about. This is what we all prefer isn't it?

And to think of how our humble filter coffee still manages to pull crowd against the tough competition of mocha, espresso and cappuccinos.

By the way, my title for the post is inspired from Cafe Coffee Day :-)


  1. Aaaah. I am glad they have soymilk.
    It is tough being a vegan in India.
    There is milk everywhere .I mean, they dole out ghee on snack too.
    Hmmmmm.As far as my experience is concerned, They mostly do smile there. Atleast they used to smile last year. Maybe something changed this year.
    The first thing i do when i get to a cafe is to look for the jukebox and queue up four of my fav songs.
    Then i do the clearcut
    "latte ,very hot, no toppings just plain and fast please"
    I have said it so many times that i can say it in my sleep now.
    So, they gava you a free coffee?i have written about one particular restaurant experience in my own blog too.Look in the archives.You might find it amusing.

  2. Hey,

    Thanks for your comment.

    In India, you get everything in extremes, either be the ghee on your snacks or the smile!
    Few waiters are friendly, there are few stern and grim; as if they would have to pay from their own pocket if they were to smile.
    This cafe had no jukebox. Hmm, yeah nice idea to define your order before hand.
    I didn't ask for a free coffee, lest he gives me a stare again. I left him a 10 Rs tips; hoping that would bring a smile on his face.

    Read your blog, indifferent attitude of people that it leaves you curious as if you committed any crime. I am interested to know your reaction thereafter

  3. Excellent blog. Nothing can beat our filter coffee.
    I am glad you did not make the waiter angry. I have heard that in these type of high class restaurants, an angry waiter would spit on the food while they are bringing to your table. That would be gross.

  4. hi
    nice post

    yaar same coffee is served at both the outlets..........even these fancy ambiance fails to attract customers id warmness is missing...thats why I prefer a particular chaatwala and not big and fancy outlets like haldirams where even gol gappe are self served hahahah !

  5. Hi Mano,

    Scary!. Do they do such disgusting stuff? Oh dear!, Thank heavens, I didn't make him angry.

    Nothing can beat our degree coffee. The only thing that makes me long to go to spite of the heat..he he he

  6. Hi garima,

    Thank you. Yeah, what's important is customer service and relationship. That's abundant at our local road-site eateries.

  7. nothing better then 2 rupees sukaapi by the beach while playing cricket. :-)

  8. Yeah Gautam...heaven isn't it...


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