After her bitch of a morning, Cally needed a coffee. She scanned the monolithic product board covering the wall behind the counter, looking for something simple.
‘Welcome to ‘The Fresh Cup. I’m Merv. How may I serve you today?’
Merv wore a staff waistcoat at least a size too small. The buttons appeared about to fire off at any moment under the strain. He pushed his horn rimmed glasses up his nose and smiled.
‘Just a coffee, thanks.’ Cally just needed a burst of caffeine.
‘I can recommend the Mint Chip Choca Cappucino, or perhaps, considering the weather, you’d prefer that as a Frappacino.’
Taking his glasses from his nose, Merv untucked a corner of his shirt and wiped both lenses, one after the other, before placing them once again on his nose.
‘Just a coffee, please.’
‘Or there’s our new Orange Java Chip Frappa.’
Cally looked up at the board.
‘Don’t you have, like, a regular coffee?’
Merv looked about himself as if he had forgotten where he was. He looked at the board before finally turning back to face Cally.
‘No one should drink regular coffee.’ He stepped back from the counter as he said this and looked Cally up and down. ‘I have just the thing.’
He turned to the complicated aparatus behind him and began slamming the knockbox to dislodge the expresso puck inside.
‘How does a Freshspresso sound? I can do you a Cherry Almond Freshpresso Swirl. Or perhaps you’d prefer the Gingerbread and Caramel syrup?’
Merv began clattering filters and switches and things began to bubble and froth.
‘I can do both of those as a latte if you prefer.’
‘I just want a coffee.’
Merv stopped what he was doing and turned.
‘Now there’s no need to get snippy.’
‘Snippy?’ Cally said. ‘Snippy? This is a coffee shop, right? You sell coffee? I have that right, you do sell coffee? Just that if you don’t, maybe trading standards might need to pay a visit here to put you straight.’
Cally waved her mobile at Merv. Both of them looked at the phone, unsure of exactly why Cally was waving it around like a vampire victim with a crucifix.
‘I just want a coffee,’ she said again before stuffing her phone back in her bag.
Merv waited until the phone was stowed away before speaking.
‘This is a speciality coffee emporium where you will find only the finest species and varieties of coffee. The Fresh Cup prides itself on being the premium coffee experience on the high street today, able to produce a cup of everything from Hawaiian Kona to Ethiopean of both the Harar or Sidamo variety, whichever you desire.’
Merv crouched down behind the counter, reappearing seconds later, slamming a heavy brown coffee chest in front of Cally.
‘This humidor contains two kilos of the most expensive coffee in the world, Indonesian Kopi Luwak, made from the beans of coffee berries that have been passed through the digestive tract of the Asian Palm Civet. As they pass through the bird’s intestine, proteolytic enzymes seep into the undigested beans which yield and aromatic and much less bitter coffee.’
Cally looked at the esoteric looking padlock and clasp that fastened the chest.
‘Seriously,’ she said. ‘You are seriously trying to sell me coffee made from bird shit.’
‘I assure you, the blend is washed clean of any harmful organisms and made further safe through subsequent roasting of the beans.’
Cally stared at Merv.
‘I see,’ Merv said and put the chest back under the counter.
‘Just a regular coffee, please.’
Merv sighed, then turned to a small pot and percolator. He began to scoop in grounds from a tin marked simply ‘coffee,’ his back to Cally and she thought she heard a small sniffle accompany each scoop of coffee into the filter of the machine.
‘Are you crying?’
Merv flicked on the pot and turned to face her. Tears were slipping down his cheeks and he wiped them away with a paper napkin from the stand beside the till.
‘Philistines,’ he said, ‘bloody philistines.’
Merv looked over Cally, the sudden steel in his eyes forcing her to step back a pace.
‘The Fresh Cup goes to all the trouble of importing coffees from around the world and crafting them into innovative and frankly beautiful beverages the likes of which the customer can’t find anywhere else, and what does the customer ask for? Regular coffee. I prepare connoisseur coffee for people who can’t tell the difference between a latte macchiato and a caffè macchiato. What bloody good is that? What bloody good am I?’
Cally listened to Merv rant as the coffee fizzed and popped beside him.
‘That’ll be two seventy-five.’ Merv said , pouring her coffee into a paper cup. His eyes bulged large behind the lenses of his horn rimmed glasses as he pressed the plastic lid on top.
Cally paid, Merv completing the transaction in silence before turning his attention to the chugging, frothing stainless steel coffee laboratory behind him.
‘Thanks,’ Cally said to Merv’s back.
Cally picked up her coffee and left, surprised at her own lack of anger at being spoken to in such way. She wondered what could make someone so uptight about someone else’s choice of coffee and completely forgot what it was about her morning that had left her needing the drink in the first place.
15 Responses to Caffeine Addiction – #fridayflash
Coffee berries passed through the digestive tract of the Asian Palm Civet is one reason I tend to order the Yerba Mate Latte when I go to the local coffee shop!
Great story and all so true. 🙂
This is so funny, but so true in a way. I am ashamed to admit I, too, have been a coffee elitist at times…
Brilliant and well executed. I’m still chuckling.
Can I get a double mocha swiss half-caf, steamed with a twist, please?
This was great; I’m one of those “Just a regular coffee, please” guys. I’ve never had to pitch a fit over it, though…
Your twist on this is creative! I love that the coffee man is so defensive of his elitism – usually when someone talks about the coffee elitist it’s the regular person who throws a fit and the worker is like “hey I just work here” – this guy would totally buy it even if he didn’t work there. I think we tend to have bad days to easily sometimes and all it takes is something crazy to calm us down a little. 🙂 Great story!
Nice shot man! I feel like this sometimes, but then I was corrupted by a free sample. Bird shit indeed. O.o
This was funny and sad. That is an unusual twist. I can appreciate the frustration with just wanting a simple coffee in a world of gourmet coffee shops. It’s crazy. At the same time, you nailed how the specialty owner who obsesses over his assortment must feel when people do not appreciate his varieties. Good job.
Wasn’t it Denis Leary who bemoaned the relative lack of coffee-flavored coffee in such places? I confess though, I do love me a Frappuccino. Fun story.
I had a great comment, blogger sucked it away. Must need a caffiene fix or something, stupid blogger.
LOVED your story. Loved how the coffee guy told her to eff off… heh
Ahh I love the crazy coffee creations available. Not that I want to drink them– I’d be the one asking for JUST COFFEE, please– but you’ve made them pretty fun here. I feel for Merv, but if I were Cally I wouldn’t have been quite so calm about it (especially before the first cup. 😉 )
I laughed hard during this one. It reminds me of a scene from the film, “L.A. Story” with Steve Martin.
I am not a coffee drinker, but I’ve seen the addicts and I’ll stick with tea. Best comment I heard though was 3 of my colleagues critiquing a Yugoslavian coffee: “You can still taste that it’s been passed through the barrel of a gun.”
Great story and so well told.
hahaha. People are pretty touchy when it comes to their coffee 🙂
Loved it! I think Merv is excellent, and of course this is wonderfully written.
Always a fan!
So funny and so true! I’m a total coffee elitist and my hubs is the “just coffee” guy! Very fun story – I’m noodling around a story in a cafe – you’re inspiring me 😉
Excellent! By the end I was laughing out loud. I can just see coffee snobs like this. Good story!
love it dan! I refurbishment to say “vente’ or “grande” or something stupid and just get a regular old cuppa-joe!
I used to work in a coffee shop, but yet I still side with Cally. Coffee shops should sell coffee!
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