Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Perked Off

If I were king, I’d create a coffee shop. A coffee shop where you’d have to be 18 to enter and at least 21 to drink the caffeinated beverages. No toddlers, no teenagers, no strollers. Coffee does not get well with children. And children should not be drinking coffee. NOTE: This will change when I have children. At that point, children will be permitted in coffee shops.

Coffee shop is also synonymous for the phrase “you should hear nothing but the sound of an occasional grinder.” It is a quiet meeting place for talking with friends and family. No blenders, no chatty teens, no crying babies. It is not a lunchroom. It is not playland. It is a sacred place where the most sacred of beverages of served. Please take it’s quietude and sanctity seriously.

I’d create a coffee shop with two checkout lanes; one for those ordering two or less HOT drinks only. The other lane would be for those ordering large drink orders, anything iced, anything frapped, anything covered in whipped cream, anything that comes in a plastic cup. In fact, when I’m king my coffee shop will no longer serve anything cold. It’s hot coffee only. You want a cold drink, go to Jamba Juice. Get your froo-froo frapped ass outta my hot coffee shop.

I’d create a coffee shop that had an indoor line only, no drive-thru. If the success of the coffee shop was built on the idea of an experience economy then people should be patient enough to experience that economy. And to do so would require getting out of your car and getting inside, INDOORS to the shop.

I’d make a coffee shop with a “pe” on the end because that makes it sound more sophisticed. So it’s a coffee shoppe, dammit.

There will be no straws. If I were king, I’d banish those who drink coffee through a straw. A few years ago I was visiting my brother in Seattle, mecca of all things caffeinated and brown, and to my dismay I found that most of Seattle drinks their coffee through a straw which is so fundamentally wrong that even as king I would not be able to explain it.

We would not serve tea. Especially iced tea. In fact, if you drink iced tea you would be automatically exiled to my Island of Misfit Toys.

There would be no sale of other items aside from those caffeinated. No CD’s, no stuffed bears, no books, no mugs, no soy milk, no sandwiches, no, no, no. It is a coffee shop. We sell coffee. You want a sandwich go to the sandwich shop. You want a CD, go to the CD shop. You get the point.

In my shop, there are three sizes of cups – small, medium, and large. No poquito, intermezzo, and big gulp. Simple and consistent terminology within the English language; small, medium, large. There is no extra large. You don’t need that much coffee anyways. If you do, make it at home, you freak, and stay out of my shop.

In my shop, you could have any flavored coffee available to you on any given day. No more showing up at the coffee shop to find that the two flavors available are the two that most closely remind you of barfing or baking, flavors like Butter Cream, or Banana Nut. Banana Nut belongs in bread, not in coffee. Butter Cream is a type of frosting. Again, not appropriate for coffee.

I’m on the fence about hot chocolate. Chocolate has caffeine so it might be able to sneak by in my shop. But, no whipped cream. You are not allowed to fancify any drinks with whipped cream and sprinkles. That stuff is for the ice cream shop. It has nothing to do with coffee.

You would not be heckled to buy anything other than coffee in my coffee shop. You would not be asked if you want a doughnut, or muffin, or bagel. I did not come to the coffee shop for breakfast, I came for coffee.

The coffee shop would have a microwave because some people like their coffee really hot. No, adding hot water is not the same as heating it up. Caribou used to have a microwave, then they took it away. Bring the microwave back! Starbucks has never had a microwave. Put a microwave in! My shop would have one, maybe two microwaves. If you like hot coffee, you should be able to keep it hot for as long as it takes you to drink – which is sometimes two hours. And this is not a bad thing as coffee is meant to be savored, not slurped.

Half-caff, half-decaf? Not in my coffee shop. We’d call that half ass. Commit one way or another.

There would be no soy milk. Milk does not come from beans, it comes from cows. Soybeans are raised on farms just like cows so you might as well just drink cow milk. In fact, cows eat soy beans so you might as well just convince yourself that cow milk is soy milk and save yourself a few bucks.

Speaking of milk, we would only serve skim milk because – little known coffee secret that those of us who have worked in coffee shops know – skim milk makes the best lattes. And you don’t need all that fat anyways.

If you do like your drinks made with fatty fatty four by four can’t fit through the bathroom door whole milk, then we’ll call that drink the Fat Boy and make it with whole cream instead. Problem solved. And if your conscience can bear ordering a drink like that, then good for you.

If you want something sugar-free do not come to my coffee shop. We will have Splenda only because everything might just give lab rats cancer and they haven’t done enough research yet on Splenda so let’s just say ignorance is bliss and being sugar free is Splend - id.

Lastly, my shop would have a rewards card because all coffee drinkers should be rewarded for drinking coffee. For every 3, you get 1 free. At least once a week everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy free coffee.

If I were king, the world would be a much happier, more caffeinated place starting with coffee shops that are quiet, functional, entirely focused on serving coffee.


And if you don't like that, then perk off!

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