Putting the x in espresso
My suburb has recently sprouted a new coffee shop. I have seen it every day for the past week, as I make my way up the ramp to my train station. There it stands, less than 50 metres from the platform I patiently wait at every morning, quietly craving away. And yet, I’m still to try it. I put this down to two main points:
* Metro’s (Melbourne’s public transport train operators) roulette style time-tabling;
* My monocafenous relationship with Troy, my barista.Seeing as my train line is known to be punctual only about 65% of the times (and my anecdotal evidence suggests the punctuality rate is way lower at peak hour) it is hard to predict when the train will come. Add to this my own inherent punctuality issues (I blame both nature and nurture for this one), sneaking in for a quick take-away cup is an adventure best left to the audacious ones amongst us.
A different story altogether would be had the café opened up on the train platform itself. What would they have to lose? I can’t imagine that in my middle-class suburban haven there would be much of a café society outside of the commuter community. And being located right in front of the train station, their views don’t add much to the atmosphere, at least for the less train-ly aroused among us. So why not take the product to the people, avoid the ridiculous rent prices we’re currently experiencing across Australia, and crack a deal with Metro to wheel out a cafe-cart. Perhaps even giving the clientele something to do whilst they wait for then next delayed service. (Attention Platform Two: might as well make it a Large, you’ve got plenty of time!)
This could happen in most train stations, or other places with high levels of foot traffic, in particular where there is a waiting element in place. A large percentage of coffees consumed today (he says using qualitative statements to hide the obvious lack of research) are of the take away variety. And as much as part of the $3 – $4.50 we hand over the counter for 30mls of caffeine and some frothy milk goes towards the décor, music, and the general vibe of the joint, most of that is lost the moment you walk out with your styrofoam/cardboard container full of heart-pumping goodness. Why lead a horse to water, when you can install an Neverfail water cooler in the stable!
Similar concepts are available at almost every market across the country: from the multicultural beauty of the Mindil Night markets in Darwin, to the Anglo havens of the Prahran Markets in Melbourne, you can’t escape the expressos; either from the back of a van, or from beautiful bespoke structures complete with patio furniture. There they are, converting beans to means. Why limit these to special events? Everyday people need coffee too.
My second concern, cheating on my barista, would still be an issue. Oh Troy, from TeeRoy Browns on Flinders St (or Banana Alley as it is colloquially known) with whom I’ve built a strong relationship; having gotten past the awkward first dates, reminding him of how I liked it; through the initial Q&A get-to-know-you sessions; to our now comfortable and fulfilling routine. It would take a special cuppa to steal me away. Especially because Troy makes one of the most consistently awesomest coffees in town! (http://teeroybrowns.com/)
Still, if Troy were to lose the walls, and set-up shop on the side-walk, I wouldn’t judge, because it’s what’s inside the cup that really counts.