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 faced)Cafe, Almond or Choco ma'am?
Me : (confused, my choice would have been plain coffee) Hmmm...Cafe
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 :-)