Quality of Coffee in big chains.

  BT 08:59 29 Jan 14
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I won't normally buy overpriced coffee from the likes of Starbucks or Costa, but last week we had been at the hospital for several hours and were gasping so I relented and bought 2 coffees from the Costa concession. You can't just have a 'Coffee' it has to have a silly name so we ended up with an 'Americano' as being the nearest to a plain coffee. What rubbish!! It was very weak, almost tasteless, and fairly expensive.

On our way home, it was getting late, so we stopped at McDonalds. What a difference! A 'White Coffee', no fancy names, a bigger cup, and it actually was very good, and almost half the price.

'Americano' was apparently coined because American soldiers didn't like strong coffee (lightweights!!) and had it diluted with water.

  Quickbeam 09:06 29 Jan 14

I'm one of those that can't get a coffee to my liking from those fresh grind machines despite there being a couple of dozen permutations available on the control panel. My current tactic is to select a strong white coffee and remove the cup after a very minimal amount of milk has dribbled in.

It leaves a bit of a mess with the drip tray filling to the brim, but none of the option offer a strong coffee with a teaspoonful of milk. Like layby vendors, they assume that if you want any milk, you want a very milky coffee.

  oresome 09:46 29 Jan 14

I've had a surprisingly good take-away coffee from Greggs bakery.

Weatherspoons do a very pleasant latte and seem to be to a consistent standard across several branches tried. The bacon sarnie that goes with it can be somewhat variable, but overall good value at around £5 for two large coffees and two sarnies.

Never say I don't know how to treat a woman!

  Al94 09:55 29 Jan 14

It wasn't that the Americans didn't like strong coffee in general, it was that they found espresso coffee too strong, so Americano is coffee made from espresso and hot water.

Made properly using a double shot of espresso it should be a strong but different coffee to an ordinary filter coffee.

I like my coffee strong but not espresso strong and regularly use Costa and Café Nero. I don't like Starbucks. The quality of their coffee is always excellent.

I suggest that your experience at the hospital concession was not up to the usual standard, as far as I know these are run by Compass Catering.

Try a high street outlet where the Baristas should be properly trained.

  BT 11:24 29 Jan 14

Al94

I hear what you say about the Hospital Concession but as it was Costa concession presumably they have to comply with Costa's standards, and the coffee was certainly not up to standard.

Try a high street outlet where the Baristas should be properly trained.

The main reason I won't normally buy from Costa, Starbucks etc is that I feel their prices are high. Our local Tesco recently closed their own Cafe and it reopened as a Costa. Whereas Tescos used to be quite busy serving both drinks and hot meals now as Costa its more or less empty most of the time, probably because of the higher prices and the fact that they only serve a very limited range of snacks.

  spuds 13:41 29 Jan 14

There's been a couple of programs on television recently,one was about tea and the other last Sunday titled The Coffee Trial with Simon Reeves. Very interesting the program turned out to be, because it pointed out the amount of coffee reaching the UK now comes from Vietnam, making some multi-millionaires on the way.

Even Starbucks and Nestles were mentioned on the program, and apparently they have fairly large interests in this area. It was also forecast that the bubble might burst sooner rather than later in Vietnam, due to production methods not being taken into consideration. So perhaps leading to future shortages and coffee price rises.

Think I will stick solely with Colombian blends and tinto's!.

  woody 17:33 29 Jan 14

"BT" I can see you are a coffee expert - "we stopped at McDonalds"!

  morddwyd 19:54 29 Jan 14

Best cup of coffee I've had outside my own kitchen is Morrison's Bean to Cup.

I always select black and,as has been suggested, remove the cup before the water has finished running.

It really is a good dark continental roast/blend.

  oresome 20:14 29 Jan 14

I used to service bean to cup machines.

We got that many complaints from customers that the espresso was short measure that we took it off the menu in the end.

Unfortunately, the beans tended to be displayed in a clear container on the outside top of the machine as a way of attracting customers. Didn't do anything for the longevity of the beans, being subject to daylight and warm temperatures.

  Aitchbee 21:55 29 Jan 14

The free cup-of-non-descript instant coffee in a paper cup which is available 'on-demand' at my local William Hill's, is on-a-par [flavour-wise] with the very nice-but-basic 'Bungalow Cafe's brew, ten steps along the pavement ... they charge 40p but it's in a proper cup ... with-a-handle. Marks out of ten? 'Hot water, knocked stupid.' [ie. weak or tastless]

  flycatcher1 23:18 30 Jan 14

I occasionally get a "free" cup of coffee at my local Waitrose. Very weak so I now do a Morddwyd and barely let the water fill half way.

My experience in the States is that their standard black coffee is weak. It is all a matter of taste, we have one regular visitor who likes weak coffee other friends prefer it black and strong.

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