Sunday, May 18, 2008

Living on the caffeinated edge

or... the perils of liking a good coffee!

Okay so my usual coffee is a double macchiato, which I affectionately call a Mac Daddy. I drink these because I like a strong coffee. One shot usually isn't enough, hence the double. Secondly, if the coffee isn't quite awesome enough, the teaspoon full of milk is enough to take away some of the edge. I don't put sugar in there.

What can go wrong with this beverage? Well I'm glad you asked. One confusion is that when I order it as a double macchiato, they put in quite a lot of milk to go with it and it ends up resembling some kind of strong latte. In Melbourne I can call it a long macchiato but in Sydney that usually results in far too much explaining what they need to do.

The reason I started on this rant in the first place is that twice this year so far I've asked for a strong macchiato, and, much to my surprise, I've ended up with a strong mocha. The first time was up in Terrigal and quite frankly what they gave me was vile. The second time was this weekend in a French patisserie in Stanmore. Not vile but I really wasn't after a warm milkshake.

What I'm looking for now is suggestions on how to order my beloved Mac Daddy and actually get what I want without being condescending to the maker of the coffee. I know that when I'm out and about there's already a risk that I'll have a not so good coffee; hence the tiny bit of milk insurance policy, but I really don't want to end up with a mocha again.

p.s. in case you are wondering why I don't take them back, I've really not wanted to wait again for something else potentially equally bad to turn up. I drink what I can to get my vitamin C, and then find something a little tastier.


Krin said...

Ah, the beauty and the danger of the macchiato. I hear your pain, and drink them for almost exactly the same reason, a dab of milk to take the edge off a potentially bitter coffee.

There are a variety of responses to a request for a macchiato. The oddest one I had was up on the central coast, where it was a shot of coffee in a small glass, with froth up to the top of the glass, like a mini cappucino. If I wanted a cappucino...

The worst one I've had was in America (not surprisingly). Went into what looked like a place that actually might be able to do coffee, asked for a soy macchiato (I like the nutty taste of soy milk) Had to tell the boy at least 5 times that he could use the small cup, no, really, the small cup, yes, that one!... Got my coffee, added some sugar, took one sip and it was cold! went back to tell him this and his response was: "oh! did you want the milk frothed??" Yes I bloody well did! At that point I gave up and just told him to give me a shot of coffee.

How do you insure against a badly made macchiato. Do an educated judgement against the barrista. Rule 1: don't even bother walking into a place that looks like they have a coffee machine because it's what you should have. Drink from a place that has a coffee machine because they understand that coffee is a close relative of ambrosia.

This is not always possible. So, in cases of mistrust like this, ask for a double shot espresso and the steamed milk on the side (with a smidge of froth) and add it yourself.

And if ever you get a mocha instead of a macchiato send it back, with an explanation that it was not what you ordered. That's possibly the waitress's fault, not the barrista's

anti ob said...

This is actually why I drink my coffee black - well part of why. I actually really like a machiatto, but many many fewer folks know how to make one than have one on the menu.

I'm with Krin. If you get the funny look when you ask for a macc, or they look a bit suss, just order a double espresso and a bit of milk in another cup. but then, you _did_ ask how to do this without condescending to your barrista, and making it yourself because you assume they have no clue is probably about as condescending as you can get. (This is how I order iced coffees, by the way. I love a double shot of espresso over ice, with about a tablespoon of milk dropped on top on a hot day - though its really better if you chill it first, so it doesn't melt too much ice and dilute things - but iced coffee apparently actually means a bucket full of whipped cream with an unopened coffee Moove waved in its general direction. Bleh. But there apparently it really is me differing from the entire rest of the coffee-drinking world, as opposed to someone simply not knowing how to make a proper macc.)

MrSnerg said...

Yeah probably a good idea to take the espresso if they look confused. I've seen the barista say yeah I know what he means when the wait staff were clueless. I guess I was a little surprised these two times because the wait staff put up a really good front of knowing what they were doing. Maybe I shouldn't take caffeine from strangers...

B.Trousers said...

Urgh coffee making woes urgh!

I have had one good coffee in the last 3 weeks. No wonder I'm ready to quit my job.

Translate to: new coffee guy is STILL clueless.

He can't make a latte. He pours a very hot, watery flat white. He doesn't get "double shot". Keeps thinking I'm saying soy. Asks if I want sugar, then doesn't stir it.

I've moved on to double macs, in frustration, because I figured he might be able to to that. Nope. I don't really want MILK in there - I was the smooth creamy cream. Not fluff, either. That amazing cream helps the coffee stay in my cup as I run for my train every morning. But no...

I'm crying as I type!

My whole day ends up lumpy because of this. I think the only way to solve it is to wait until my nice guy comes home...

If you figure out a flawless way to ask, Snerg, order me one too.

I'm off to price a gun.

B.Trousers said...

Oh, and Coffee + America = Money To The Man. It was the only place I could find an espresso machine without knowing the city really well.

They do look at you funny when you order 2 shots in one cup though.

And then come back for another.

And when you comd back for your third in 15 minutes, they start to reach for the emergency button under the counter...