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Disrespecting the Brew

November 25, 2011


Hey guys, just got back from a trip to Chicago and I had something happen there that kinda annoyed me. I went to the Navy Pier and saw a coffee shop there with a sign exclaiming that they used Intelligentsia beans.



Since I’ve heard lots of good things about that roaster I decided to roll the dice and ordered an iced mocha. To say the execution was below average is giving it too much credit. A good mocha has to be prepared like so: sugar/syrup/powder needs to be added to the hot liquids so it fully dissolves. In the case of an iced mocha, (non-heated) milk needs to be added afterwards and mixed well to lower the temperature before pouring over ice (a great mocha is cooled down further before adding the ice).



This mocha looked to be prepared as follows: added (a lot of) syrup to the bottom (and sides) of the cup. pour in a shot of espresso, but don’t mix it. Put the ice in the cup. Pour some milk over that. Again don’t mix it. Do all of this as quickly as possible, despite the fact that you only have one customer in line. Announce that it will be $4.25 for the drink and tell me I might want to add some sugar to it.



I will say this, in spite of the execution the coffee part of the drink was quite good. I’m guessing the quality of the roaster just managed to shine through. If I’d ordered just coffee I would have been happy I suppose. But as a mocha, it was poorly executed.



Now, it isn’t “just” the bad customer service that annoyed me. It was also the fact that they took these beans that are so specially cultivated and prepared and in a rush of mediocrity denied them their true potential. I get that coffee preparation can be tedious and thankless job. I don’t get how muting prime coffee with lackluster techniques helps.






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