How do you like your coffee?
Since my first week in Amsterdam I have worked at a hotel that prides itself in having a great variety of guests. This means that over the last 18 months I have served someone of just about every nationality, and served just about every type of coffee. Across this caffeinated spectrum there are a few stand-out cases which I would like to share with you.
The Americans—By far the easiest guests to serve (and the best tippers), I can always rely on our friends across the pond to ask “Have y’all got a big, strong, black coffee for me?” I serve a lot of men and women in suits who want a viscous black liquid that, aside from being able to repair roads, will allow them to power through a day of group workshops, strategy meetings, and ‘team building’ activities, all the while bracing for a caffeine comedown that hits like a line-backer.
The Italians—Our suntanned southern European friends often have the same request for caffè macchiato. Literally meaning “stained” or “spotted” in Italian, it’s best for those who want their coffee to make only a brief acquaintance with the concept of milk. Whenever I make a caffè macchiato I am left with plenty of foam left over, meaning at this point in my shift you’d find me ducked into the back office with a cappuccino for myself. I’ll be back in five!
The British—Rarely do I get any requests for coffee from the Brits. Watching on with sad-yet-aloof expressions as they methodically dip their tea bags, they are unwelcome in this coffee conversation. They fight amongst themselves about Brexit, putting milk in their tea, and the queen—but occasionally they pause to wonder why everyone else is driving on the other side of the road.
The Dutch—The last notable coffee order I receive on the bar is people asking me to ruin their coffee. More specifically, to make it wrong—verkeerd. It’s essentially a coffee with a generous amount of milk, but for some reason it has been cruelly named. This request from the Dutch has always bemused me. I’ve always wondered if anyone would prefer their coffee juist?