In keeping with my theme on bad coffee shops, today morning I popped into the Online Coffee shop down on 1st Avenue. Since my office is pretty close by, there was a time I use go there almost everyday for my morning latte. Being that I have been checking out some of the other coffeehouses in the area, I have not been there in a while, and so this was my first time in over 6 months to go there for a morning coffee.
In the past whenever I went there, the baristas were pretty nice, they were quick to take your order and ‘dispense’ your coffee, and they made a good strong latte. No matter how big the line was, they were fast and efficient and that’s why I used to go there all the time. Convenience was a big factor too, but they did make good coffee.
Today’s experience was totally different. Right from the start, this was a pretty lame experience compared to my past experiences. I didn’t recognize any of the barista… but at least they were pretty friendly too. The problem was that they were slow. I mean they were really, really slow. When I entered the shop, there were four people ahead of me in the line and placing the orders was relatively quick. The problem was pulling the espresso drinks. It seemed like it took five minutes to get each drink ready and every time a drink was ready people would come out of the woodwork. After waiting for about 15 minutes for my drink I finally realized that a number of the people on the computers and on the couches were still waiting for their drinks. In fact one of them actually came up to the espresso machine guy to complain that he had been waiting for quite a while. Now I had a meeting in 15 minutes and after doing a quick estimate, I realized that at this rate it would be at least another 20 minutes before I got my drink. I knew it would be faster to simply go to another coffee shop for a latte.
I went up to the counter and at first I started asking for my money back, then I thought it might just be easier to get a credit and come back to the shop when I was done with my meeting. They kept apologizing saying how busy they had been. I just shook my head because there was barely a line in the place. I was thinking to myself, these guys don’t know what busy really means. If they want to see busy, they should go check out Caffe Migliore, one of the best coffee shops in Seattle, now those guys get really busy yet they have a fast and efficient system so you barely spend much time on the line. At least I got my credit.
To cut a long story short, thirty minutes later I was back, place my order, took a few minutes to get it ready at which someone who had ordered earlier ended up taking my drinks because the barista had forgotten to make his drink and he had been waiting for goodness knows how long. She quickly made up some excuses then started on his remaining order which meant that I was now once again waiting for my drink. I also heard that she had been telling someone else who was having issues with their service, that they had been really busy and his retort had been, “but isn’t making espresso what you’re supposed to be doing anyway?” I have a feeling quite a few people were not happy with the service.
I finally got my order… and the coffee was not so great. This is not up to the usual standard that I was used to from Online Coffee Company. I have certainly had much better coffee in the past at thsi particular shop, and they have two great stores on Capital Hill with great coffee and nice baristas. My take is that the baristas were not so great. And after this experience, I now have a greater urgency to finish up my next post which I had already started, the title being “How to Spot a Bad Barista.”