The blog of photographer and musician, Kim Ayres

Just add hot water

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When you go for a coffee, right, and they give you a choice between your espresso, latte, americano etc, all they really do is make up an espresso and add bits to it. So your latte is basically just an espresso with hot milk in a tall glass, while your cappuccino is an espresso with frothy milk and a shuggle of chocolate powder on top.

OK, I can accept that. But what really pisses me right off is that your "Americano", or bog-standard coffee as it's known to you and me, is just an espresso with hot water added. Now I could just about cope with that, right, if they didn't want to charge me an extra 50p for it!

So what I've decided I'm going to do, right, is make up a small flask of hot water, which I can carry with me in the large inside pocket of my coat, right? And then I'm going to ask for an espresso... but in a large cup.

Then, once the waitress has turned her back I can top it up with my own hot water and I'll have saved myself 50p.

OK, I can hear you saying that 50p isn't much, but think about it - if I was to do this, say twice a week for a year, then I'd end up saving myself over 50 quid, right?

In fact, we could take this further! If I'm out with someone, I could ask for a double espresso... and 2 large cups.

Sometimes I astound myself with my geniusness.

When I mentioned this to Maggie, she gave me one of "those looks" and told me I ought to talk to my doctor about the meds I'm on. I've heard placebos are very effective so I've decided to ask him to prescribe me some of them.
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24 comments

Conan Drumm said...

It was a technician at the door, he's enhancing the internet connection or something. Nice guy. Fit looking. Wears a hearing aid.

Er, make the espresso at home and bring it with you in a flask... save all the money!!

Canadian Girl said...

Kim, I love your sense of humour! Thanks for the morning smile. Why not use a hot water bottle for that water. Carried in your inside coat pocket, it would keep you nice and toasty on your walk to the coffee shop on a blustery day.

Zazzy said...

"So what I've decided I'm going to do, right, is make up a small flask of hot water, which I can carry with me in the large inside pocket of my coat, right?"

Errr...why not carry *coffee* in that small flask?

Kim Ayres said...

Conan Drum and Zazzy - you're missing the point - you can hardly walk into a cafe and just ask for a large cup with nothing in it, can you? It would definitely be a bit suspicious.

You'll be suggesting next that I just ask for an empty plate and slip my own scone, butter and jam out of another pocket.

Hmmm, now there's an idea...

Canadian Girl - it would make the coffee taste too rubbery, but I like your thinking.

Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

I long for a cold blustery day.

You should see the coffees they get over here. Double mocha frappucino grandes with half'n'half and steamed soy froth, amaretto, whipped cream, a dusting of cocoa and a sprinkling of pretension. It's more complicated and intimidating than a course in applied mathematics to order coffee in Starbucks. And they're not really coffees any more at that point, they're milkshakes.

Charlie said...

I will have a half caff, de caff expresso with a twist of lemon on the rocks please.

Jeff said...

everyday I walk into Starbucks and look at all these fancy this and fancy that...have no idea what any of them are and walk out with a hot cup of bold with cream....

And the only thing I ever thought expresso was used for was to sober up after a business lunch when I was in France.

Peace

Zazzy said...

"...you can hardly walk into a cafe and just ask for a large cup with nothing in it, can you?"

Heck, bring your own cup. Better yet, bring a cup branded at another cafe. :-)

Carole said...

I love your use of the word right. And it would be irritating to pay for a dollop of water. But on the other hand it made for a humorous post.

Charlie said...

Martha loves Starbucks (a cinnamon thing is her favorite right now), but she's been complaining that all our doorways are getting more narrow.

The one and only time I've been to Starbucks I looked at the menu board and realized I don't speak faux Italian. I asked if they had any real coffee, the clerk said yessir, and for $3.50 I got a large cup of scalding-hot 10-40 motor oil.

Did you know that McDonald's makes good coffee?

Conan Drumm said...

" you can hardly walk into a cafe and just ask for a large cup with nothing in it, can you?"

So, bring the coffee and pay 50p for the large cup half filled with boiling water?

Dr Maroon said...

You're such an amateur in these things. What you do is take EVERYTHING with you and just ask to be charged for crockery rental. They'll be far too scared to refuse. Especially if you wear that hat.
The best coffe to be had by far in America is in Dunkin Donuts on 32nd st at fifth av in noo yoik. Everyone knows that.

Mine is a Gin said...

Or you could do what I do, cut out the coffee & go straight for the gin!
I knew there was some logic there.

Eryl Shields said...

I love a latte and the best place to get one around here is the shack overlooking the Loch of the Lowes. They will also do me a bacon and egg roll without the roll and they have the best chocolate brownies and border slice ever. And what is more you can work off all the calories skimming stones afterwards.

I know what you mean though, I should have the coffee at home and then when in the cafe pretend that you can't decide what you want until the waitress gives up.

Have you had an afogatto (I think that's how you spell it), god they're divine, like coke floats for grown-ups. Take your own ice-cream.

Kim Ayres said...

Sam - I've never actually been in a Starbucks, but it sounds like the kind of place you'd have to sneak in your own frothy milk.

Charlie - bring your own rocks

Jeff - once the taste is acquired, espressos are addictive

Zazzy - that's dangerous - did you ever read my post on carrier bag etiquette?

Carole - the use of the world "right" 2 or 3 times every sentence is engrained in certain speech patterns, especially my brother's, and is one of those things that can become irritatingly infectious

Charlie - we've not been in McDonald's since my stepson was distributing anti-McD leaflets around town several years ago.

Conan Drum - you could be on to something there...

Dr Maroon - you'll have to take me there for our next meeting

Mine is a Gin - well I guess that's why you don'tgo under the name "Mine is a coffee"...

Eryl - the shack sounds good - will have to go there some time.

Never heard of an afogatto. Is it related to an iforgotto?

should be ananymous said...

Oh just be a man & drink your expresso straight !!!

Tom said...

50 quid will buy a lot of philosophy books... start carrying that hot water!

Restaurant Gal said...

And when you get caught by the staff, a manager will yell at you and belittle you in front of everyone, as happened to me at a D.C. Starbucks when I attempted to pay 50 cents for a refill at the NEXT STARBUCKS DOWN THE BLOCK. I was the dummy who didn't get it, however, and was told, "Just this once." I wrote about it. So will you :)

Kim Ayres said...

Should be ananymous - be a man and learn to spell anonymous!!!

Tom - it will also buy quite a few more espressos...

Restaurant Gal - they're missing out on a major marketing opportunity there - they should be issuing people with "Roaming Refill" loyalty cards to ensure that when someone does wander down the road, they don't head into a different coffee chain. Collect 10 and get a free travel mug - that kind of thing

PI said...

I think that's a great idea but you have to have the cooperation of the - whoever- to give you an expresso in a large cup. did you ever see that film where Jack Nicholson tries to get the waitress to hold the mayo or what ever with virtually murderous results? So take care.

Kim Ayres said...

Pat - if Eryl can get an egg and bacon roll without the roll, then anything's possible

Mary Witzl said...

We were down in Sheffield on Wednesday and I had a chance to taste espresso, cafe latte, and coffee, all from the same machine at the Travelodge. I heartily agree with you: they were all the same thing but with different viscosities. How dare they?

By the way, if you are ever in Sheffield's Travelodge and find yourself tempted to try their all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet, fight it. The only reason I had all that coffee was so that I could at least DRINK my money's worth.

Sandy said...

Being a tea, I have been largely free from these problems. Though venturing into the occasional cup of Earl Grey, I have found this whole area of beverages relatively simple. So while in London last year, I was quite taken aback to discover that when buying someone a cup of black coffee, I should ask for an Americano. Oh no! I'll not be having any of that!! It the same reason that I always ask for chips in McDonalds (actually I usually ask for a cup of tea in Mcdonalds but have been known to buy chips - never really a good idea). I see no reason why coffee drinkers should not have the same human rights as us tea drinkers.
Sandy

Kim Ayres said...

Mary - Is Travelodge the one connected to Little Chef?

In one of my other posts I remember once coming up with the phrase, "Have you ever noticed you're never pleasantly surprised at a Little Chef"

Sandy - ask for chips in the US and you'll get a bag of crisps. Although it was kind of funny when the Amercians stopped calling them French Fries and renamed them Freedom Fries.

Democracy and chips - natural allies in the fight against anti-capitalist forces!

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