I became famous in my workplace a couple of years ago for a letter I wrote to the new owner of the on-site cafe. This new company swooped in from on high and totally altered the place I would get my morning latte. I require a skinny latte every morning – a big one! So you can imagine my disgust when the new owner decided to minimize the size of the take-out cups that they served their coffee in. No more Venti style jug-like vessels. No, no! These new cups were petite, little, miniscule – TINY! They were not much bigger than an espresso shot! I swear! This did not go down well with me!
There’s an early episode of Ally McBeal which perfectly demonstrates the need one has for a morning fix of caffeine. The first thing I do when I wake up is make a cup of tea. All my mugs and cups are large things from Pottery Barn – no small cups in my house! The first thing I do when I get to work (or as I travel to work) is collect a big cup of milky coffee. This scene from Ally McBeal sees Ally drag Georgia into her office to savour and relish the experience of taking your first early-morning sips of coffee.
Ally: Don’t just drink it.
Ally: This is your first cup of the day.
Ally: And you were just going right to your mouth with it?
Georgia: That’s how I drink, Ally. With my mouth.
Ally: Put it back on the tray.
Georgia: Ally, what are you doing? If I don’t drink that in the next 10 seconds…
Ally: Do you know how most men actually make love is opposed to how you would like them to? You were about to drink this cappuccino like most men make love: skipping over all the foreplay. Now, just hold it in your hands. Just knowing that it’s close. Now, close your eyes. And just think about tasting it. Now, smell it. Just a little. Now, pull it away. Just tease yourself a little. Up, and down. And up. Longer sniffs. Now, you see that foam on the plastic? Lick it off.
Georgia: I have to drink it.
Ally: Now, bring it up slow. Don’t rush it. It only happens with the first cup. Slow. Slow. Slow. And drink…
Classic scene. Love it. Anyway, whilst I don’t take sexual pleasure from drinking coffee (and of course don’t understand at all what they are talking about RE: skipping over foreplay (!)) I was rather disgruntled about the new coffee situation. So I wrote a letter about it. And the reason I post this now is that for some reason it has come up in conversation on various occasions over the last few months. And so I thought I would share it with my readers (and the sequel that followed soon after):
SUBJECT: TINY CUPS
JANUARY 4, 2011
I have been told to contact you in regards to a complaint that I regrettably have concerning the changes that have occurred in the café here. I was obviously aware that Costa is no longer the brand being used at your establishment. This doesn’t bother me or any of the staff at my workplace; a coffee is a coffee, to be honest.
However, one change that has happened that does affect us massively is the size of your cups. After returning back to work after the holiday season, I headed down to the café this morning to get my team some lattes, and was amazed when I was shown the size of your coffee containers. A coffee is now about one-quarter of the size of a large Costa coffee – and there is not much difference in the price either.
Pricing aside, this size coffee just simply won’t do. These new cups are the size of the kind of cup you’d get at a doctor’s waiting room. When I go for a large latte in the morning I actually need a decent sized cup full, the size of the old Costa cups. In this day and age of Venti Starbucks coffees, I’m amazed you think you can provide us with such pathetically sized cups. We have bigger mugs than that in our office! I would need to order about 4 of these TINY cups to intake the amount of coffee I am used to in the morning.
I really don’t see how you can continue along with these tiny cups…something really needs to be changed here and if you have a reason as to why the size has decreased or why it can’t be INCREASED, then I would really like to hear it. This is an office block, not a building site, we need a decent sized cup of coffee to be served, especially for the price you are charging.
I look forward to hearing from you soon and really hope this won’t continue very far into January as it’s not been a great start to the new year, I have to say.
I won my little battle. It resulted in a meeting between me, this woman Jody, and the site manager where I work. We actually sat around a boardroom table and discussed this. Minutes were taken. But I managed to get larger cups re-instated. Sadly, a year later, a new owner took over the cafe and repeated Jody’s folly. I had to unearth “Tiny Cups” and forward it to the new owners, with a note attached to it:
SUBJECT: TINY CUPS PART II
MARCH 27, 2012
I am an Associate Producer for Parkinson Productions, over in the stables. I understand that you are who I contact with a comment on the new café set up?
Can you look at the email below this one. This is what I sent to Jody Lucatello, who ran the old café, when her company first took over in early 2011. It resulted in a meeting and she then rectified the situation. Unfortunately, I have had to unearth that complaint, as history seems to be repeating itself again so instead of re-typing it I thought I’d re-send this email as almost the precise same situation is going on here. Although it would seem that in this case, the cups are even smaller and the prices are even higher.
Here’s the thing with me – I don’t tend to eat lunch but I do need a pretty sizable coffee in the morning. Its one of the main reasons I use your café and because we are no-where near a Starbucks or Costa out here, you’ll appreciate that MINIATURE cups don’t really cut it. Any chance you can scroll down and look at the below and get back to me about this. Hopefully this can be sorted soon.
Sorry to sound like a broken record after last year, I just can’t do this whole small coffee thing again. Willing to come and chat if you want me to, a la Jody.
This guy lost the business shortly after this (nervous breakdown, drugs, kleptomania, who knows) and so the whole thing was moot. Mmmmm, tastes good!
– – A