This blog really wants to stand at a bar and drink his espresso.

Archive for September 2008

Peet’s Visit, Value Distortion, Are People Just Lazy?

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I went to the Peet’s Coffee in Evanston today, and had a single espresso. I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that it was a good espresso. Not Metropolis, The Coffee Studio, or Intelli good, but quite drinkable. The Evanston shop has two two-group lineas running abreast and a Swift grinder. The shot was mostly generic chocolate and caramel, the mouthfeel was thinner than expected, and the acidity was well managed. It was served in a ceramic tazzina (why isn’t this the widely used term for demitasse?!), but without a spoon.

Here’s the funny part. I was with my family, and my mother looked at the cup I had gotten and immediately asked “how much was that?”

“I dunno, $1.50? It’s a shot of espresso. It’s one ounce. That’s how big it’s supposed to be.” The other orders in my family? Iced latte, small coffee, some Freddo whatzit. The latte was more than $3, the coffee probably under $2, and the Freddo I have no idea about (I wasn’t buying). Nobody else liked their drink, but of course insisted on taking it with them so as not to appear wasteful. We lugged two paper, 12-oz, adult sippy cups and one plastic cup all the way home with us, with the drink owners discontentedly consuming their beverages all the way home. Most of the drinks remained when we arrived at home and were discarded. Did I mention that I was already done with my espresso, which I enjoyed, and didn’t have to carry anything? The coffee was over-roasted and bitter. The latte was not sweet enough for my father, who hasn’t figured out that the counterpart items at places like McDonald’s and Dunkin Donuts are already sweetened (this is a common problem). My sister complained that her Freddo wasn’t as good as a Frappuccino, and then said to me, “When you make me one of these at your shop, can you leave the coffee out?”

“So you want a milkshake? Go to an ice cream place. It will actually taste good there.”

Did I mention that I liked my drink, had already finished it, and didn’t have to needlessly carry anything home? I did already? Sorry.

In the car, my mom complained about the cost of the entire trip, which was frustrating for me, because nobody had spent the time to figure out what they actually want in a coffee. This can fall on either the customer’s or the shop’s shoulders. The placement of value on size and not satisfaction was baffling to me too, since size is superficial. the worst part is that I’m certain my mom has done this before, and continues to do it and complain about the same thing, instead of trying to find something different. She then dismisses any notion of a coffee shop that I present as an alternative as either a luxury approach or rashness. Infuriating, no? It seemed like I was watching the RNC again (“You should elect us to reform Washington. Oh wait, we’re the ones who messed it up.”) 

Did I mention that I liked my drink, and didn’t have to carry it home with me? And that it was less that $2? Oh, I did? Sorry.


Written by Nick

8 September, 2008 at 4:55 am

Posted in Coffee