Tacoma Urbanist

Jan. 20, 2008 at 12:18am

A Disappointing Coffee Experience

A couple of weeks ago, I compared the coffee greats in Tacoma: Blackwater, Satellite, Metro and a few others.

Tonight, I tried a relatively new place.  They sure tried hard to be good.  A for effort.  But it was overall a painful experience:

Right off, the barista informed me that they did not carry whole milk for a cappuccino .  Thus, they ended up having to mix 2 percent milk with half and half creamer.  Needless to say, it skewered the taste.

Second, they did not carry the right size cups.  So they ended up just pouring the coffee about 2/3rd of the way in the cup of a grande size cup.  Starting with a "cup half empty" is demoralizing when the expectation is that one is going to start out with a full cup.  Also, much of the potential presentation for the coffee is lost when the cup is less than full.

Here's a picture of how it looked right off the counter.   Sad.



That's ok.  I was going to try to enjoy this half filled cup of coffee with creamer in a zen like manner until (third) .......they decided 3 hours before closing to start sweeping the floor near my table.  Yet, I could not see anything to sweep.  Perhaps they were going to try sweep me out before I could use my picture cell phone? That's the universal signal to "get out...we're closing...why are you still here?"

Painful.  I felt like I was trying to survive some sort of endurance test.  The coffee shop was nearly empty and obviously struggling so I am not going to name it. 

Commentary:

The urbanist is no Zagat restaurant review guide.  Yet, here it goes:

Make sure that whatever food or drink item on the menu can actually be delivered well.

Its best not to have an item on the menu unless you have an appropriate way to deliver and present it.  If you are going to serve steak, make sure you have knives available for customers.  For coffee, that means the right size cup.  Otherwise, you are going to have to apologize alot when the produce does not fit the container.

If you are considering adding cappuccino to your menu, make sure you have the ingrediants to deliver it properly.

For items like coffee, the the actual ingrediants are a relatively small portion of the cost of the item.  The problems arising from of failing to carry the right size container, should fall on the store, not the customer.  How much would the extra milk 1.3 oz of milk had cost to fill up the larger size cup?

(I am sure glad I am not in the coffee business in Tacoma.  Too competitive)

comments [15]  |  posted under tacoma, washington

Comments

by andrew.austin on 1/20/2008 @ 4:05pm
no whole milk. That is ridiculous for any good coffee shop period. Us 8 ounce 2 shot latte purist like our rare shot of whole milk.

by AP on 1/20/2008 @ 4:05pm
Did I read too fast, or is the name of the venue respectfully omitted? Such curiosity..

by Erik on 1/20/2008 @ 4:53pm
Did I read too fast, or is the name of the venue respectfully omitted? Such curiosity..

Yes it was ommitted intentionally. I suppose I could rail on it like Ed's Diner did to Winfields. But I just couldn't get myself to pull the trigger. I am hoping they will improve. Someone could probably figure it out from the picture.

by KevinFreitas on 1/20/2008 @ 4:57pm
AP: I think the name is omitted on purpose. Though I understand why the review really does no one any good to avoid the place. My guess, not from much experience but from context, is that this is One Heart. They are relatively new (but not Satellite) new and since there's not a whole lot of new places in town combined with the fact that Tacoma Urbanist raved about Satellite, that's my guess. To also lend to the evidence is that the other photos taken on the same day in the Flickr group linked above were in the same neighborhood near the Roberson, PSP, and old Elks building.

by Erik on 1/20/2008 @ 6:41pm
My guess, not from much experience but from context, is that this is One Heart.

Nada.

by KevinFreitas on 1/20/2008 @ 8:32pm
Hmm... either trying to throw us off the trail or my hunch was wrong. Telling us straight out would be easy but I suppose we'll have to keep guessing. What other new-ish coffee shops are around? Mystic Mocha over by Freighthouse. Ooo, inside Freighthouse -- Tosta?

by morgan on 1/21/2008 @ 1:23am
Erik- Please tell us that they do NOT have a flat screen TV (turned on) and do NOT use fluorescent tube lighting.

The presence of either one of these alone has been shown to contribute greatly to Premature Business Closure Syndrome (PBCS).

by Jake on 1/21/2008 @ 12:03pm
Forza on 12th and Union?

by intacoma on 1/21/2008 @ 2:16pm
is it that one place where the baristas wear nothing but lingerie? If so I hate to break it to you erik but that place is not about good looking coffee ;)

by Erik on 1/21/2008 @ 2:59pm
is it that one place where the baristas wear nothing but lingerie? If so I hate to break it to you erik but that place is not about good looking coffee.

Too funny.

They would likely be disqualified as I only rated places that had a seating area. Also, one of the underlying presumptions in my review of coffee shops was that product being sold was coffee.

by AP on 1/22/2008 @ 12:14pm
Although keeping the name a secret may seem like the right thing to do, especially for the business' sake, I have found that all the flack sent Nick-n-Willy's way when they opened did them nothing but good in the long run.

Nick-n-Willy's pizza was raked over the coals by me and others in their first weeks of business. They had serious issues. They took note of the online commentary, responded to it, and from what I've seen, they've shaped themselves into a hoppin spot.

I guess if the said coffee house knows who they are in this review, that is all that matters. Note to business owners: most of the time when people take time to write fair reviews of you, positive or negative, they are really pulling for you to succeed. If we didn't care, we wouldn't waste our time with you!

All this being said, my curiosity piques and lingers.

by urbanX on 1/23/2008 @ 9:33am
I agree...about sharing the name. It is difficult in a small town but what makes media like "The Stranger" great reading is they are honest and open and not afraid to speak their opinion. We aren't really communicating if sometimes that doesn't include the negative.
I'm as guilty as the next person. Where are the assholes of Tacoma? we just are all too damn nice! Guess they all moved to Seattle. (oop! did I really just say that?)

by scout on 1/23/2008 @ 10:24am
People in Tacoma don't like it when you are honest

by Erik on 2/3/2008 @ 1:59am
I agree...about sharing the name. It is difficult in a small town but what makes media like "The Stranger" great reading is they are honest and open and not afraid to speak their opinion. We aren't really communicating if sometimes that doesn't include the negative.

Here's how I draw the line. If a place has food or coffee that is bad everyone basically knows it. Plus, all they are doing is running themselves out of business. They will soon wither away on their own.

I don't think it accomplishes anything for me to announce how bad they are.

If someone is bold enough to invest downtown or in the neighborhood centers, they are bolder than most and may be learning by trial and error. I do try to help them out a bit, although much advice is unwanted. (That's why small merchants would benefit from a confidential triage group)

I save my barbs for when I think someone is doing something that is openly harmful and destructive
like gathering up the felons from around the state and dumping them into the City of Tacoma.
Yet, even then you have to pick your fights.

There's enough of that going around that I don't need to pick on a restauranteer who has put their life savings on the line and is trying to figure out how to run a business. With that said, I am not going to write a good review when it isn't deserved.


by AP on 2/3/2008 @ 7:41am
In other news, Starbucks earnings tanked last quarter. That's what they get for screwing with the Sonics! My personal boycott is working!