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  • Sugar 'n' Spice
  • Post author
    Rinaldo Colombi

Sugar 'n' Spice

In the light of some mega-heartening news for all those with a sweet tooth,  I’ve turned off the roaster this afternoon to recount the conversation I recently had with a barista* (well… it said so on the back of his tee-shirt) in a well-known high-street coffee chain. This exchange is absolutely verbatim, as it happened, unabridged – at least that’s what I told my social worker:

Barista: [impeccable  manners] “Hello sir, what can I get you?”
Me:        [unfailingly polite] “Could I get a flat white without any sugar?”
Barista: “Just add your own sugar once it’s been served to you”
Me:        “Oh sure, but could I get a coffee without the pre-added sugar. Didn’t you hear about it the news yesterday? Just take a look at this link” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-35593007
Barista: “Um… yes wasn’t it interesting reading….
….I’m afraid we have to serve it with the sugar quota”
Me:         “Really?”
Barista: “Yup, it’s company policy, you see.”
Me:        “Understood. I’ve seen your customer training manual – it’s excellent… I can scarcely fault its sincerity. Couldn’t you just turn a blind eye and serve me a sugar-free cuppa?”
Barista: “Sorry, sir, that would be going against company policy.”
Me:        “Of course. Exactly how much added sugar is in that particular drink?”
Barista: “That would be 25 teaspoons”
Me:        “Aye, that’s what I’d read. Well, it keeps it nice and sweet I suppose.”
Barista: “Well, it does. It also serves two other functions”
Me:       “Do tell.”
Barista: [informatively] “Well, firstly, sugar has for centuries been massive business. It’s one the single most addictive things we produce … even more than the 2009 Strictly Come Dancing Box Set. And fifthly, we have to mask the awful, bitter taste of Robusta coffee  somehow. That astringency will knock you sideways, man.”
Me:        [newly educated] “You’re not wrong, my friend”.
Barista: “So, what’s it to be?”
Me:        “Tell you what, just give me a hot chocolate instead.”
Barista: “Coming right up.”
Me:        “How much sugar does that have?”
Barista: “Only 15 teaspoons.”
Me:        “Winner.”
Barista: “Large, Extra Large or MF Stonker?”
Me:         “Is the milk organic?”
Barista: “Nah, but it properly synthetic, dude.”
Me:        “Excellent – tup me up with a Stonker, my fine fellow.”
Barista: “Great choice. Your drink will be served by Lolita at the end of the counter. Help yourself to extra milk and sugar”.
Me:        “Thanks, I will.”
Barista: “You have a great day, sir.”
Me:         “I intend to, just as soon as I get back the results of my cholesterol test.”

* this "barista" may be a figment of my imagination

  • Post author
    Rinaldo Colombi

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