5:30 in the morning. That’s pretty early by any standards… and once again I find myself at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport, this time however, a brief stopover on my way back to the US. This is also the time I figured would be as good as any to get a Douwe Egberts coffee or espresso and see if my feelings about the coffee at Schiphol Airport would change from my previous experience.
So I go to one of the numerous ‘Grabandfly’ stands that you’ll find all over the airport and I order a my drink. The lady who made the coffee did not do the barista thing i.e. pull any espresso shots. Rather, she simply pushed a couple of buttons and stuck the coffee cup under the spout and waited while the automated coffee machine did its thing. This was the one thing I noticed at this airport, that no matter which coffee/concession stand you go to, they all use the automated coffee machines… which I guess is ok for those who want that consistency regardless of where they order their coffee and who also don’t care to experience the skills of the barista.
The price came out cheaper than I expected and at first I was pleasantly surprised, then I realized that rather than order a latte, I had ordered a drip coffee. Since it was too early in the morning to start worrying about a mistaken order and all that, and since I was going to be here for at least 4 and a half hours I decided to just drink the coffee knowing that there was plenty of time to go back and order a latte later if I so wished.
The first thing I did was to taste the coffee before I put any sugar or cream(er) in it. What I found interesting about the tasted was that the coffee tasted and flavor started to remind me of the IKEA coffee I had a while back that I didn’t really care much for. But what was even more interesting was that after I added sugar and creamer… yes shockingly enough I actually added creamer to my coffee… the coffee was actually drinkable. Certainly not anything to write home about, but I felt that it was certainly better coffee than the Segafredo coffee had I drunk a few weeks back.
It was a couple of hours later, feeling even more tired now, that I went to a different ‘Grabandfly’ stand and ordered an actual latte. Once again the person who made my espresso drink pushed a couple of buttons and there was my latte. A little bit of sugar added to it and I was ready to go. And once again the latte, though certainly better than the Segafredo latte, was not ok, but not something to sing praises to or write long adoring missives about.
I am starting to feel like maybe European espresso is really not my cup of tea… or cup of coffee neither. The one good thing that I was at least able to glean from all this is that at the very least, then next time I find myself at Schiphol airport and in need of coffee, I know for sure that I will probably be ordering the Douwe Egberts coffee and not the Segafredo coffee…