It’s been one of those days when I wish I wore a uniform and carried an electric cattle prod. As if my job isn’t excruciating enough without having to deal with large life forms in stretch pants meandering in pairs on the travelator and blocking my passage. It’s as though paralysis sets in the moment their lumpen feet contact the conveyor belt.  I just want to bellow as I struggle with bags and boxes behind them,

Listen up, you dolts (for dolt, I find, to be an tremendously underutilised word)  this is a MOVING walkway, the purpose of which is to INCREASE the speed at which you travel between floors probably in search of doughnuts – by standing stock still you are retarding the entire process for everyone and now I must, for the sake of busy or simply more energetic people everywhere, zap the crap out of you.

and then when I finish with you...

and then when I finish with you…

I don’t say this though; I just fume silently and mentally punch them in the head. Then I reward my great forbearance with coffee. I say this, but the reality of shopping centre cafes is almost universally undrinkable beverages and I curse my short-term memory.

I think I know good coffee. A mug-of-‘cino at Jill’s Café at Werribee Plaza is not good coffee and that sea foam atop the greasy beige mug is not an authentic crema.

bad coffee

I am compelled to cut short my high pressure work day trawling about far flung suburban shopping centres to ensure consumption of a decent coffee. Fortunately my inner city abode is amongst some serious cafes where coffee pretension has hit an all time high.

The streets are redolent with the acrid smell of burnt coffee residue from the overworked Synesso. Clusters of hipsters perch on upturned milk crates covered by hessian coffee bean sacks and order café latte’s made from Rwandan single origin beans that were possibly picked by  endangered Gorilla’s cared for by an order of blind vegan monks.


No, really.

The milk must be Jonesy’s and the muscovado sugar served in teeny rusted baby food cans that hail from the 60’s.  Yay, retro!

Of course the real aficionados huddle around counters where pour over coffee is prepared. They will peer through their non-prescription horn rimmed glasses as each precious drop filters through with glacial speed, eventually delivering an unrivalled caffeinated experience that is, I’m assured, simply impossible to achieve with a French press. Pppffttt!

hipster coffee

I order a soy cappuccino that is ready at the machine ten minutes before the tiny, tattooed waitress stops discussing a Jens Lekman song to deliver it to me. Tepid soymilk tastes like wet cardboard so I drink the water served in a jam jar, clanging my front teeth on the ridges of the screw top in the process and contemplate ordering herbal tea instead.

It is impossible not to feel ripped off by ordering peppermint tea at an inner city café. Even if the tea comes in one of those gossamer fine, chiffon bags, it’s still, after all, a pot of water and a tea bag…for $4.50. Coffee just seems to represent better value by satisfying more of your senses – the smell, the taste and look of a great coffee helps you ignore the fact you could be paying for your gym membership if you just stuck with water.

The only way I am going to procure a coffee of reasonable temperature is to order a take away. I hover by the machine flicking through a copy of WETHEURBAN magazine waiting for my cappuccino and nodding along to the Lumineers.

I know nothing.

I know nothing.

Heading back to the car I realise that drinking through plastic is nearly as bad as tepid soymilk.


I am forced to go home and find the gin.


About Learning the hard way

Jane is of the belief that her life's purpose may well be to serve as a warning to others. She is unsure as to why she speaks in the third person...
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9 Responses to Coffee

  1. Well Ms. Snooty Pants. I’m glad the story had a happy ending.


    • Learning the hard way says:

      Mate, if by snooty you mean utterly intolerant of sloths in polar fleece clogging up my escape route to the car park then I’m snooty. Or, if you mean I’m snooty because the swill that passes for coffee at a Gloria Jeans offends me, then I’m snooty also. My reaction to bare ankled, single gear bike riding, bearded twats that talk at top volume over single origin beans and lime syrup semolina friands however, is just irritated…not snooty, irritated. Man, I’m getting grumpier by the week…


  2. Anonymous says:

    Grumpier AND funnier 🙂


  3. barbtaub says:

    Coffee is something you can get right. You can’t exactly tell all the players in the Middle East to go to time-out and no dessert until they play nice and use their indoor voices. But you CAN tell the [surly/resentful/disengaged] barista [wannabe] to take that [transparent/ brownish/ gummy/ lukewarm] cup of coffee [wannabe] and serve it to some other [clueless/ pathetic] customer. And then you can get some decent beans and make a decent cup of [nectar] coffee and it will be damn good and it won’t cause cancer in lab rats and you can get it right. I’m just saying.

    And if you can’t, then you can come to my house and I’ll make it for you. I’m having a cup myself right now and life looks better already.


    • Learning the hard way says:

      Ah, lovely Barb, if only our service mentality didn’t follow the Motherlands model. Unfortunately, much like our invading forbears, we tend to grumble openly but never actually confront bad service head on. Silly really, but there you have it. The really bad brews hale (or is it hail? I can never remember) from perky franchises with largely sub continental staff.
      BTW, I would adore having a coffee with you!


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