Monday, February 09, 2009

Coffee, Tea and Customization

I am this typical tamilian who loves a good cup of home-made filter coffee ( Kaapi , as they call in Tamil). I have this strong thought that very few people can make good coffee. So, I usually avoid taking coffee in restaurants whenever I chance to eat outside.

Last month, I met friends in a popular coffee shop. I have no doubts on its reputation for coffee, because its chain of outlets is expanding, even as I type. Still, it is just hard to come out of the thought that no one can make coffee as good as my Mom. I ordered Assam tea. The name on the menu card reminded me of a friend who can sign for the taste of this tea. I had never tasted Assam tea in the past, so was not too sure, but then it didn't matter because I don't know the taste and I can take it easy... whereas, I know the taste of good coffee and can't take a flopped taste. Every other friend of mine had ordered some coffee or the other.

After about fifteen minutes, the waiter comes over carrying a white porcelain plate - A small and cute container with milk, an oceanic cup full of colored/flavored water ( tea essence), a tea bag, two small sugar sachets, a sparkling clean spoon, and a paper napkin.

It took me a while to realize that I had the option to have the tea plain or with milk; I could have it the way it was or could use the extra tea bag; I could have the tea without sugar or add sugar.

Agreed, I had these options, but coming to think of it, I am making my own cup of tea in a restaurant. Call it Assam tea or any other best of the tea produces, still I am left to making my own tea and probably paying a much higher price than it deserves.

I pay for the maintenance of the coffee shop on a pro-rate basis along with the nominal expense for the tea. I don't run a coffee shop business, so I have no question about the cost or price, but definitely have questions about why you would pay such a high price for making your own tea.?

I am not sure if there is an answer, because we all have become used to the customized solutions in everything today - Banking solution, Software solution, Financial solution, Investment plans, Combo Meals, Buffet meal are some examples of customized solutions. Anything the customer wants should be made possible is the rule of the hour. I didn't really think that coffee and tea shops would also opt for such customizations, in effect increasing the price we pay and making us do the extra work, to make it reasonably good tea to taste.

Its amazing to note that people who would just place their coffee and tea orders out aloud from the living room to the kitchen at home, are patiently mixing their own coffee and tea in coffee shops like this and paying an extra price too... Will these people be patient and willing enough to make their own coffee at home too?


My Space - My Thoughts said...

so valid..we pay for our own efforts!!On a sarcastic note..perhaps we are paying the rent to use their space and ingredients :)

nishitak said...

this is all the latest trend nowadays...don't we do this now in IT as well .... customization is the buzzword everywhere.

But you know, sometimes, I actually don't mind this at all. I get exactly what I want, so what if I have to pay a little extra for it !

Plus, I have to admit that I love the atmosphere and general aaraam sensation of sitting in coffee-shops. I think it comes of watching too many episodes of Friends.

sloppychronicles said...

Hahaha....totally agree!
In fact, there is an article written by a friend of mine on similar thoughts about coffee shops. Should ask him to upload it somewhere.
Anyway, thanks for visiting my blog and more importantly, for the comments and for liking it!
Not been able to go through your entire blog, but hope to do so soon. Your observations are really interesting and fun to read! Keep writing!

SG said...

Whenever I see this 'make your own coffee or tea', I am reminded of this scene in singara velan where Koundamani gets really annoyed on seeing black coffee, sugar and milk on a tray and says 'appo sadham ketta arisiyum sudi thanniyum kudupeenga, naangale pongi thinganuma ?!'....I totally crack up everytime I think about it and lets hope it doesnt come to that.

The other thing that irks me is 'dip tea' or 'tea bags' a country that leads tea leaf production, why are we getting tea bags ?! Although I am a total made-at-home coffee person, I get in the tea mood once in a while and I was shocked beyond words when I tea ordered outside the airport for 60 bucks and got a cup of hot water with a tea bag...this is what tea-leaf-less countries like Germany do, for crying out loud !! On the way from the airport, I stopped at a road-side tea kadai, paid 5 rupees and had a sugary tea, I had to...I wanted to feel at home (I was coming home after a year) and I can never do that with a tea bag !!

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