freshly brewed attitude

we have a customer who comes in every morning and orders a venti drip and a venti decaf drip. he is very particular - always insisting we brew a fresh batch of coffee just for him.

"how long has it been sitting?" he'll ask as soon as he walks up to the register. "half an hour!" he'll exclaim even though he knows bux policy is to rebrew every hour. "that's too old. it always tastes funny once it's been sitting longer than twenty minutes."

we go through this EVERY morning. i guess the guy is retired because he has no problem sitting around for however long it takes for a fresh batch of coffee.
the other day he was upset because the regular coffee was fresh but the decaf coffee was forty minutes old.

"can't you just rebrew it now?" he asked. "you're going to have to brew it again in twenty minutes anyway!" he whined. "it tastes awful once it's been sitting there too long," he said as if he'd never told us that priceless bit of information before.
"can you really tell the difference between coffee that has been there for twenty minutes verses coffee that has been there for forty minutes?" i asked him, not believing for a second that his taste buds were that discerning.
"of course!" he threw his hands up. "coffee tastes sour and burnt after it's been sitting around. i don't want funny tasting decaf!"

my assistant manager decided she'd brew fresh decaf just for him. seeing that he'd already nearly finished the regular coffee we'd poured for him, she asked who the decaf was for.
"oh, it's for me," he answered her.
"wow, you drink the decaf right after you drink the regular coffee?" she was shocked someone would consume forty ounces of coffee in one sitting.
"no!" he rolled his eyes as if she'd asked the stupidest question in the world. "i don't drink it NOW! i save it for the evening. after dinner the last think i want to do is leave the house so i buy my decaf in the morning."

uh, are you kidding me? this is the guy that complains about coffee sitting around for twenty minutes and he doesn't even consume it until twelve hours later! how in the world does he wrap his head around that logic? i swear - next time i'm tempted to give him REALLY old coffee just to prove the point that he can't tell the difference, especially since it will be stone cold by the time he drinks it (ew, just realized he probably nukes it in the microwave every night).

customer rant: please stock your bathroom. it's obvious you haven't checked it in hours so please don't blame desperate customers when they use paper towels to wipe their backsides because there was no toilet paper. keeping on top of the bathroom will help reduce the amount of clogged toilets - i promise.


Beth said...

Um ... I can taste the difference and hate coffee that's been sitting for a while ... which led me to my latte addiction. But I don't save it and drink it 12 hours later. Doesn't he need to nuke it or something? That would be worse!

Ben Heller said...

Haha, some people make me smile. Their stupidity just doesn't bear thinking about.

Benny said...

I understand when someone has a method-to-their-madness, but when they're just old and grumpy and their children don't call them and they don't make cotton candy the way they used to... then it's just annoying.

Ceetar said...

I doubt he would've been able to discern old coffee from new coffee(not a straight coffee drinker though, so what do i know) but I bet it stems from one incident where he'd asked how old the coffee was and was told 30 minutes, when in reality it was 2 hours. He didn't like the taste and deduced all coffee goes stale after 20 minutes.

BoB said...

I french press every morning (half bux sumatra decaf, half bux shade grown mex) and pour it into a pre-heated carafe (via boiling water). It tastes the same in the morning or in the afternoon when I end up microwaving a cup.

I say that because there is a difference btween fresh coffee and sitting coffee, but only when the coffee has a chance to oxidize. I'm guessing bux has a warmer for drip and the coffee oxidizes at a higher rate due to the increased heat energy which speeds up the chemical reaction.

In short, the physics and chemistry supports crazy old man's claim, but I wonder if he leaves his decaf in the paper cup. I'd think he can taste the paper after its been sitting in it all day.

Why all the hating on the microwave? It just adds heat energy. I guess if you aren't careful with the amount of heat energy you add you can cook all the flavor out of your coffee. If that's the case then you've proved his point that over-cooked coffe tastes like the ass.

Citymouse said...

Every time I read your blog, I wonder how you controll yourself. I'd be bustin' up the bux.

Film Aficionado said...

I think it's a sort of placebo effect. It is all in his mind that the coffee actually tastes different to him. And he's probably just lonely. He just wants someone to talk to or get into some twisted, emotional, conversation with. And to be catered to so that he can feel special. By the way, isn't the coffee that he drinks the cheapest possible coffee to buy at Starbucks?

The Girl with Moxie said...

My friend T. and I have this idea that people often mistake complaining for connection. The ego has us thinking it's much easier to bitch and moan about whatever, rather than ask someone "how are you today?" with genuine interest. People are so emotionally shut down, it's ridiculous.

silversonic said...

As always, you make me laugh my ass off!!!Serving the public gives a person such insight as to the exact number of kookoos there are in the world, doesn't it? I always thought about how it is amazing there aren't more serial killers and other such obvious nutsos. It's the coffee shop kooks and the beauty shop bizaros that really make the world go 'round, right?

Thy said...


you should just start telling him that the coffee is fresh.

then drop the bomb that it hasnt been a month later.

barista brat said...

beth - i hate coffee that's been sitting there forever as well. that's why i don't get drip coffee from 'coffee bean'!

ben - it gets less funny the more he whines, i promise.

b - haha, i think you nailed that one! (the reason - NOT the old man)

ceeter - very possible, but i still think he's just stupid.

bob - i'm going to have to go back to science class! i hate nuked coffee because it tastes different. same thing with nuked water to make tea - it tastes dirty, but maybe i'm being just as dumb as the old dude.

citymouse - that's why i get paid the big barista bux bucks!

bbakon - i can understand why he's lonely: he seems to be an expert at alientating people. and yes - the only way he can go cheaper is if he ordered a short drip!

girl with moxie - that's an intersting theory. it's true, people LOVE to bitch and moan.

silversonic - have you had clients come into your salon right after getting their coffee? i've had customers come in right after visiting the salon all the time. i never realized how they go hand in hand!

thy v. - i think i will do that, haha! i highly doubt he will be able to tell the old from the new.

BoB said...

When I use the microwave in the physics TA office at school to heat water, it always has this nasty scum floating on top. My theory there is that as the water evaporates, it cleans *some* os the scum off of the insides of that funky box. Then the box stops being bombarded with microwave energy and some of the steam condenses. It will condense on every surface, so the water in the cup is included. Before there was funky steam, now there is water with funk. I think this happens very quickly because the steam is at 100c and there is no way the water gets that hot.

Now I use a hot pot.

How clean is your microwave?

Dan said...

THAT is the funniest thing I've read tonight! Wow, am I glad I don't have to deal with customers... BTW, my first comment! woo hoo! You can thank Cup of Coffey for the recommend. =^)

lighterate said...

hey what happened there? I'm sure I was in here somewhere. Did I get censored by the barista committee? What did I say?

Not Perfect said...

I used to work at a restaraunt where you could have all the coffee you wanted for just over a dollar. Thing is, management was too cheap to buy any heating apparatus, so it stayed warm for as long is it could just stitting in a big metal pot. You have no idea how many people went into flying into a RAGE when they discovered that the coffee had predictably gone cold. Of course, I brewed a new pot as fast as once can in an understaffed restaraunt, but you know how sympathetic people are about that kind of thing. There was a 'bux right across the street that they could have gone to if they wanted quality coffee, so I'm amazed we had so many regualrs.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, you owe one, for never once did I mention the 'bux acrss the street to any of my irate customers.