Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Rat coffee. As I may have mentioned, I refer to any nasty-tasting beverage as 'rat drink', especially coffee. I am drinking a goddamned rat coffee right now, trying grimly to get my $3.50 worth. I'm not sure what the problem is with it – I think the coffee has been packed too tightly and has burnt.

It comes from the closest cafe to my house, Big Harvest. Natalya took me there when I first moved into the house. Their food is very right-on and healthy, which means I mainly go there when I feel I need to improve my diet. They do a really nice spanakopita and vegetarian lasagne, and some delicious salads, but it's a total crapshoot as to whether a given day's salad options will contain something tasty or something dreary and bland, like a giant bowl of chickpeas and another giant bowl of grated beetroot. 

Lately I have been going there almost every day because I have just been slaughtering myself trying to get my book finished – all-nighters and semi-all-nighters for the last couple of weeks – and I couldn't face having to prepare my own lunch.

Anyway. They have several different people working there, and only one lady makes the rat coffee. She is somewhat older, and I think she is a country or blues singer because she often sings loudly along with the music playing in the cafe and talks about her upcoming gigs. She is very nice except she just can't make coffee to save herself. I don't want to make a fuss about it because she also seems like the sort of person who would take offence if you insulted her coffee-making skills. 

On Thursday or Friday (it's a blur) I went there and some doofus with dreadlocks made me a truly dreadful coffee. I suspected how bad it was going to be when I could hear the milk steamer screaming like an abused child. (Done properly, it should make a gentle hissing sound.) When he finally wobbled the damn thing over to me (with no teaspoon on the saucer), it looked like this:

The reason that caffe lattes are served in a glass is so you can see the head is a pale brown. (Also, it's to ensure the right temperature; if the glass is too hot to pick up, the milk is probably burnt.) Because lattes are made by 'fusing' the coffee with steam-aerated milk, as the hot milk separates it should carry the colour of the coffee with it. In a well poured latte, you can observe the milk 'falling' as the drink arrives. Any latte with a white head is shit because it means the milk hasn't been aerated properly – the barista has just poured flat milk into the glass and topped it with froth scooped from the jug. And no latte should have so little foam on top. I didn't order a flat white.

Jeez it was horrible. Both watery and burnt-tasting. I actually piped up and told the other chick that the coffee had been bad, and she made me a replacement coffee that was very nice.

So today when I went back, both this good-coffee chick and the bad-coffee lady were working. I timed my takeaway coffee request for when the bad-coffee lady was busy serving someone else so the good-coffee lady could make it. She went, "Great, I'll just get [bad-coffee lady] to make it," and so MY CRAFTY EFFORTS WERE IN VAIN AS I HAD TO DRINK THE FUCKING RAT COFFEE ANYWAY.

I couldn't exactly go, "Well, actually, if she's going to make it I don't want it after all," because she was right there and would no doubt have taken offence. Oh god, to watch her faffing about putting a fancy rosette on my takeaway coffee with a spoon when most of it would end up on the inside of the lid! And knowing that I was going to have to take this gross coffee away with me!

You might be thinking, "Why keep going back to a cafe that makes terrible coffee?" 1) The food is nice, and I need all the vegetables and pulses I can get; 2) The rat-coffee lady does not work there every day, and I never know when she'll be there.

Ahhhh, truly this is why I have a blog – to bang on about this crap.

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