My father-in-law came to visit us last weekend to finish some electrical projects in our home. In exchange for his hard work we wanted to take him out to breakfast. “Where would you like to go?” I asked. I listed off a few places that he had been in the past. “That place, the lodge” he said. “Perfect! I love their Sunday brunch.” I said happily, because I really needed a mean cup of coffee, two or four cups at least.
The great thing about this place is that they take pride in using local goods. On my first visit there, the waitress bragged to me about how they make their own ketchup, bake their own bread, carve their meats, and get their coffee beans from the local shop down the road. What else could you want? I was hooked!
We walked into the lodge and scoped out the seating arrangements. “Would you like to sit over there?” The waitress points to a dark corner. “Umm, can we sit over there by the window?” I ask.
We sat down in front of the window, the room was bright and filled with Sunday morning chatter. It only took us a few minutes to put in our breakfast orders.
“Coffee for everyone?” She asks. “Yes please!” we all chant.
15 minutes went by and I found myself twice putting my hand down automatically reaching for my mug, but it wasn’t there.
“Where’s the coffee?” My father-in-law asks.
“I don’t know? It’s been awhile. Oh! here it is! Yess.”
I watch the waitress pour the coffee in the mug, I turned to my husband, “Looks a lot like tea, doesn’t it?”
“What?” he said.
“Tea. It looks reddish like tea.”
I sat quiet for the next ten minutes or so, sipping the coffee, sipping it again, smelling it, and concluding that it’s quite off. No, not just off, oh dear, it’s gross. Then I thought about it some more, sipped it some more, and make a second conclusion that it tasted worse than IHOP’s.
“The coffee is different.” I said.
I sat there, very dissatisfied. I was expecting the frothy hot coffee to stream down my throat and give my stomach the little kick that every good cup does. But instead I was left smacking my tongue against the roof of my mouth trying to figure out if this was just a bad pot or something worse.
That day we happened to be sitting near the beverage station where they prepare the drinks. I turned behind to watch them make another pot, and then it happened. What I saw could not believe, no way, I thought. The waitress scooped out grounds from an oversized plastic red jar with a black lid.
She saw me looking, then came over to top off our mugs.
I smiled. “Hey, I just have a random question, did you guys change your coffee?”
“Uhh yes, yes we did. We changed it to uh, ummm, Folgers, yea we changed it to Folgers!” she said.
I sat there and looked down. I couldn’t believe it! They switched to Folgers? What the heck? The place that would serve deliciously roasted, full bodied, locally roasted beans from the shop down the road switched to a freakin’ red can of Folgers that you can buy at the dollar store?!
Any coffee lover would understand my plight.
The disappointment set in. I felt let down, betrayed, confused. I couldn’t understand why they sacrificed the one thing a breakfast place must master? Serving a good cup of coffee. I couldn’t understand why they switched to the cheap red stuff that tastes like syrupy coffee water! I took so much pride in all the little ways they would use local goods like meats, milk, and coffee. This place is an upscale, fancy white southern lodge, but now, on this beautiful Sunday morning, I was drinking Folgers. How could such a thing happen. Where did they go wrong?
I finished my breakfast quietly, not much in the mood for chatter.
As we got up to leave I saw an older couple sit down. The waitress came to take her order.
“…and a big cup of strong coffee please.” The lady called.
Cup of crap, I thought.
So a lesson to any of you who are in the restaurant business, the breakfast business, the coffee shop business or any shaggin’ business that serves coffee- don’t sell out on the cheap stuff, because your customers will notice.
And I never even had a good poop.