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2007-05-11 13:28:49
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Cappucino At the Fuel Station

What the "non-experts" say. (A humourous true story)

I always get annoyed at people that say to me, “Oh yes I love cappuccino! The fuel station by my house has the best cappuccino.” Such statements show the person’s lack of knowledge when it comes to coffee and espresso. That’s okay; they just need to be educated.

I used to work in a chic little café in St. Louis, MO. In the summer St. Louis was overrun with tourists from all over. I specifically remember a lady that walked in and told me that she wanted a cup of vanilla cappuccino. Hold on right there! Stop! *breaks squeal*

“I would like a cup of vanilla cappuccino.” 

Now, right there is someone that gets “cappuccinos” from the filling station. There were a few things that I immediately read into that request.

1. “I would like a cup of vanilla cappuccino.” A cup of vanilla cappuccino. Those that know coffee and espresso, even the basics of it, know that cappuccino is not a generic term for some fancy coffee. In the minds of some people, cappuccino is a coffee-like drink drawn from a loud machine through a spout, sweetened and artificial tasting and will put your blood-sugar through the roof. What makes it a “cappuccino” is the machine’s ability to gurgle and spit out a bunch of sweetened froth after being poured into a cup via pushing a button indicating the cup’s size. Cappuccino is not a type of coffee.

2. “I would like a cup of vanilla cappuccino.” A cup of vanilla cappuccino. Cappuccinos, at least where I was employed, came in three sizes: short, tall, and grande. They were served in paper cups like the filling stations; BUT, to say a cup of vanilla cappuccino said to me “Please pour out of a ready spout a cup of a coffee-like lactose drink with artificial vanilla syrup stirred in.” There was no indication of size. Someone that knew their espresso, or the way this café operated, would come in and say “I would like a grande vanilla cappuccino” or “I would like a vanilla cappuccino”, not just a cup of the stuff - as though it were a type of coffee.

3. I knew by the way she looked at the drink menu that she had no idea what I was about to make for her.

“What size would you like, ma’am?”
“A large one, please.”


So, I frothed and heated the milk, poured the syrup into the grande cup, brewed the espresso, and assembled the drink before her eyes. It was mostly froth, as true-made cappuccinos are. Upon lifting the cup her reaction was:

“This is very light” as in “There’s hardly anything in it and I just paid $3.20 for this.” 

Whereupon I calmly explained how they were made. 

Her answer: “Well, I get more of this at the gas station and pay a lot less.”

Bingo. And she hadn’t even tasted it yet. Boy was she in for a surprise.



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Cappucino At The Fuel Station

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