Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Conversations With Our Customers - Mr Guatemala

A guy walks into the cafe oozing absurd amount of confidence. Says, "I'm after a pie. Yeah, I want a pie. You have?"

The daily pie special is a roasted vegetable, haloumi and tomato pie. This customer has too much confidence to eat a roasted vegetable, haloumi and tomato pie. This level of confidence requires something's flesh. He sees the house-made Moroccan lamb sausage roll. He announces that he will try a house-made Moroccan lamb sausage roll,  to takeaway.

Then he turns his confidence to me. I've been watching the guy deal with my helper and wondering just where in the fuck someone gets this kind of confidence. Is there a place you can go and swap some insecurity for some confidence? Why do I not know about this place? Why has no one told me? Perhaps I can trade a little paranoia for some sex appeal while I'm there.

"I might have a coffee while I'm waiting for my sausage roll," the guy tells me with a kind of nod and wink that is neither an actual nod or wink, his confidence a dazzling thing somehow magically just holding back from smarminess. How the fuck is he doing this?

"Um... okay," is my riposte.

"So what can you tell me about the beans?"

Oh God, I think. "They're not a brand you're going to recognise. They're not a 'label' brand. They're kind of our own blend."

"Your own blend?" His tone has turned its head ever so slightly to one side and raised one eyebrow as if to say prey do tell.

"Well it's our supplier's blend. I think she supplies a few select cafes around Melbourne. Like I say, It's not a recognised brand but we think it's good coffee."

"What can you tell me about the components?" he asks, his tone jutting its chin in a slightly outwardly-upwardly direction, making me want us to stop talking about things so that I can just make his coffee, since I can't be suddenly on a beach in Barcelona with my fellow nude Spaniards, sipping mojitos and discussing Gaudi.

Truth is, it's been so long since I've thought of the 'components' of our coffee beans that I can't quite recall them.

"Erm... it's a blend of beans from New Guinea, Guatemala... India..."

I'm really hoping something kind of big, like Armageddon, is going to happen right now because if it doesn't, I'm going to have to start pulling coffee growing countries out of my arse. And if I do that, I suspect this fucker will be right onto me.

"Ethiopia or - "

"I don't KNOW!" I whimper.

"Hmm. Well I like Guatemalan coffee. I'll take a long black."

"In a take-away as well?"

"Nah. hit me with ceramic. I'll sit outside and smash out a cigarette while I'm waiting for my sausage roll."

I fully expect him to shoot me with his two finger guns and make clicking sounds with his tongue.

I am very happy that he is gone, but equally sad that I now have to make this Guatemalan coffee appreciator a long black. On the one hand I am glad he is not a latte drinker because the result of my attempts at latte art are as unpredictable as Melbourne weather. On the other hand, with a long black there is nothing to hide behind. I like coffee and I think ours is good, but I am no connoisseur. This bastard, I feel sure, is.

Which is fine. All I have to do is not fuck up his coffee.

I make the coffee and take it out to him. The grind has been perfect. I manually stopped the extraction at 27 seconds because I like the number 27 (I just like to stop the extraction on a long black before 30 seconds - at 27 seconds - because some of the most legendary rock stars died at the age of 27 and so... er...). The crema - floated so deftly on the surface of the water - looks glorious in its deep caramel hue. It's a good looking cup of Joe. I feel confident.

But not confident enough to double shoot Mr Guatemala with my finger guns.

Service is busy. I'm getting nailed on the coffee machine but as Mr Guatemala's Moroccan sausage roll comes through, I grab it because I want to take it out to him and find out what he thought of the coffee. I need to know.

Outside. I walk towards him. I open my mouth to ask but he cuts me off with his diamond-hard confidence.

"You've got a good cup of coffee there."

"Oh really?" I sob. "Because you had me worried there. You obviously know your coffee." I wipe the tears from my eyes with the heel of my hand.

"Nah. I'm a discerning customer that's all. And a happy one. It's good stuff." His smile is all finger guns and click-clicks. He takes his sausage roll rides off into the sunset.

I skip into the cafe and kind of frolic in my Viking-frolicky way for the rest of this wonderfully sunshine-filled afternoon.

Not even Spoonwoman could bring me down now.

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