Coffee Hell – Diary October 19th 2009

Oh Lord! Out of all the coffee shops within 15 minutes walk, why can’t I find one in Birmingham that has both good coffee and service?

In New York, I am spoilt for choice within 10 minutes, I only go the 15 minutes for daily exercise.

On Sunday, I have bad service and below average coffee at Café Bebo, my regular second choice; I see a member of staff say goodbye to an exiting patron I wonder why I don’t ever get that recognition as a regular. On leaving, I catch the eye of one of the girls so I smile a goodbye and she decides to sweep her eyeballs to the floor instead! How rude!

I most certainly don’t feel like going back there today, even though I have now earned a free coffee on the loyalty card so I come to Brindley Place’s Costa, which by rights should be my regular coffee place due to the perfect 10 minute walk but the coffee is the worst. It loses points for lack of loyalty card scheme too.

The service and therefore ambience, however is good.

Until today.

Today I walk in and accidently leave the door open, thinking I’d pulled it hard enough for it to close after me. The barista, or the guy or makes coffee, nearly knocks me down as he leaps past me to close it. He comes back past me as I apologetically explain but this falls on deaf ears. I figure he doesn’t speak English.

The other coffee maker then returns to the till. I guess she’s ready to take my order although she hasn’t asked for it yet. The non-speaking male then proceeds to make my drink. Oh, I note he understands what I’m saying now, must have had a temporary hearing loss.

I unload at a table whilst I wait for the drink and notice a stray mobile. There’s only one other person being served and it doesn’t look like it’s hers so I point it out to a third member of staff. She takes it and proceeds to ask the staff if one of them has left their phone out. I would have thought the chances of a customer leaving it behind were higher but what do I know.

She thanks me profusely for my kindness and cheery attitude on handing it on. Did she heck. Not a word uttered to me.

Number one, how can this all happen in three minutes and two, why me? What have I done wrong except frequent this bad coffee, non-loyalty card place one too many times. I wish I hadn’t ordered the large cup now.

I’m either going to have to move or Urban Coffee are going to have to come nearer to me. That’s the only place I feel like a customer and not a nuisance. And the coffee is the best in the city.

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6 thoughts on “Coffee Hell – Diary October 19th 2009

  1. I don’t drink coffee – I’m a hot chocolate or strawberries and cream frappucino girl (if I’m in the right place at the right time!). My Mum always has tea and when I took her to Starbucks in Covent Garden she asked for a Tea and then when the barista asked what size she wanted Mum looked really puzzled so I had to order for her! DOH!

    Costa in Bedford always has a queue – I swear they don’t have enough servers! You know in You’ve Got Mail when Tom Hanks is talking about how Starbucks is created for people who can’t make decisions because then they have to make so many decisions in one go the queue is like double the length of the queue then.

    • P.S, if you are back in Bedford try Jaffa Orchard in Pembroke St – it’s a little further out of town (As I’m sure you are aware) and their only fail is that they don’t do takeout but the food and drinks are lovely the staff are super friendly – complete opposite of some coffee shops

  2. Ah Costas! I am affradi they are not my favourite coffee shop, their coffee is definatelly second rate.
    As a Bedford guy I also use Jaffa Orchard, due to conection with it and its proximity to where I work, however I don’t actually think their coffee is up to par! I agree with Han, the service is fantastic, staff really friendly and polite, but then we both know most of them!
    I prefer Starbucks to Costas for quality of coffee but we dont have a starbucks in Bedford.
    In Bedford I like Coffee House the best, in the town centre but its small and gets very busy.
    Also, BB’s, is that a chain or a single outlet in Bedford? thats worth a visit, their coffee is OK, not brilliant but pretty good but their lovely fresh hot muffins more than make up for the slight lack of quality in the coffee.
    When near work I like to go to a pub just down the road from Jaffa Orchard, Gordon Arms, the manager is the son of one of my coleagues/boss! the coffee there is pretty good.

    • Thanks for your comments

      I used to be based just off Castle Road so went past Jaffa every day but never actually got there for coffee. Occassionally I used to pop into Cheese Kitchen but only for Vanilla Latter – I don’t like any other latte – no-one can make it properly!
      Coffee House is OK but my fave for the whole time I was there was the one on the High Street opp Debenhams – I think Cafe Crema? – is that still there? They had a loyalty card, great cakes and good service and I went there all the time.
      Are you both talking about this one or the Costa chain – I know there’s one of those at the other end of town now.
      I used to be proud that Bedford hadn’t succumbed to any coffee shop chains until that got there.
      Starbucks – don’t even get me started! I will never go into Startbucks unless it’s the last coffee shop standing – and probably not even then! I loathe how they are on every corner in New York. In the UK, they have driven out the independents and I’m all for competive business but they are over the top. Their profits have sank in the last 12 month so I know they have been closing some. Good.

      • Costa is where First Choice used to be near the bus station (if that helps!)

        My OH loves the cheese kitchen and goes there for lunch when we can afford a treat lol. I don’t drink coffee at all so don’t know how good Jaffa’s coffee is!

        I think I like Starbucks because there isn’t one in Bedford – there’s still that novelty there or something lol and they are the only ones who do Frappucinos!

      • But I do also agree about the take over bid – there’s a Simpsons episode where they take the mickey out of the Starbucks invasion! I try to go somewhere local because people are more friendly and they are doing it because they are passionate about what they are doing (like Julia Childs she cooked because she loved food – little coffee shops make coffee because it’s what they are passionate about) – does that make sense?

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