For a restaurant, my place of employment serves surprisingly good coffee and the like. I rarely touch the stuff because I find it too sobering, but I can appreciate the quality, and our guests regularly praise its taste and strength (I often receive the same compliment).
However, our java wasn't up to snuff for Linda, one of four people in my section for a stuffy business meeting.
I began with the pleasantries. "Hello, how is everyone..."
"Hi I'm just here for coffee!" Linda interrupted, already quite caffeinated.
Her cohorts requested water and cobb salads. Linda indulged in a cup of regular joe with half 2% milk, half cream, and ample packets of sweetener. "Make sure it's not decaf!" she said. "That's the one in the orange carafe!"
No shit? To think, in all my years of restauranting, I thought the orange was for orange juice!
Before the salads arrived, Linda and company examined documents, took notes, and had a bona fide business meeting over zoning or maps or planning or some shit. In the midst of this, I could tell Linda wanted to tell me something about the coffee without interrupting the meeting. I played dumb, always my most convincing performance, and just smiled.
Finally, Linda reached her breaking point when I returned to refill waters.
"I'm so sorry to interrupt!!" she said with the urgency of someone who's been holding her breath for two minutes. Her co-workers exchanged wtf looks. She held up the cup of coffee, expecting me to surmise her issue from gestures and props. I put on my "what do you want face" and waited for words.
"I'm 1,000 percent sure this is decaf!" she said. I explained that we only brew decaf upon request and that there was no way hers was decaf (I left out that I'd added a splash to my morning whiskey-in-a-kid's cup and knew it was regular).
"Well, regardless, it's not very strong!" she said.
I returned minutes later with a do-over (i.e., another fucking cup of regular coffee). This time, Linda got to doctoring her coffee, leaving a trail of crumpled sugar packets and milk spots amidst the meeting documents. I observed some serious side-eye from one of her colleagues.
When I delivered the salads, Linda used the pause to complain about the caffeine.
"I'm so sorry to do this again!" she announced. The caffeine she'd consumed on her journey to the perfect java began to show. "This coffee is just not strong enough!! Could I try a latte with almond milk instead!!!"
Many minutes and a whiskey/coffee refill later, I returned with round three. Linda's three companions were trying to power through business while eating, but Linda was now beyond the point of being polite.
"I DON'T THINK THIS IS ALMOND MILK!!!!" she told everyone in West Los Angeles. "Can you make another one and watch to make sure it's made with almond milk!!!!!"
As opposed to the last one I made while blind-folded?
"I'm sure it's almond milk," one of her co-workers chimed in. "We have a lot more to cover, could we please just get through this?" She begrudgingly agreed and downed the very-much-almond-milk latte.
Later, I watched three people walk normally and one hyper Linda hop out of the restaurant. I was so turned off by coffee that I stopped adding it to my now-afternoon whiskey.