14 September 2006

I only wanted a coffee

The other evening I went to a local station at about 5:30 to catch a train into London. I thought that I would have a double expresso and popped into the coffee bar and placed my order to be told that "we aren't serving coffee now". It was a bizarre conversation, one worthy of a TV sketch, particularly since the 3 people who followed me also wanted one variety or another of coffee.

Any line you draw is always going to be arbitrary. Effectively closing at 5:30 while the staff clears up for the following day may be logical, but it still left me feeling that I was short the coffee that I had been looking forward to. Maybe the next generation of coffee bars will have self-serve expresso machines. Assuming that they could get it through the Health & safety legislation without taking all the flavour out of the coffee.

In a high footfall area, expresso machines can be cash fountains. A manager of a coffee bar at Gatwick once told me that the 2 machines in his tiny bar space had cleared £12k on the previous Saturday. That's a lot of hot drinks. But I bet he didn't do it by saying "we aren't serving coffee now"!

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