Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Graham and the Coffee

Today being Graham's birthday, and the day before exams start, he naturally wanted to try something new. After all, at 17 he could drive, at 18 vote and get married; what is there at 19?

After much discussion with Jonny and Tom, he decided that he would try and get to like the taste of coffee. Liking to think of himself as a petit-connoisseur of tea; he naturally makes a good pot. Having never really drunk coffee and having only made it using the machine and powder at work he needed instruction in this august task.

The kettle was boiled in advance, to save time whilst getting the equipment.

The initial search for directions proved fruitless. Not wanting to give up he tried again: a small section of the label yielded the following nugget
"Coffee Line
Call 0808 100 8787
for free coffee advice (UK)"
Resisting the temptation to snort some, the number was dialed - a man answered the phone, instantly, who sounded genuinely surprised to be called into work.

[My thoughts are added in italics throughout this dialogue.]

Coffee Advisor: H-Hello Kenco Coffeeline *name* [It's to be something classy, the two strike a good (kenco) rapport, how about Matt? ] speaking...
Graham: Hello there!
CA: Hello, how can I help you?
G: It's a bit embarrassing really, I've never really made a cup of coffee before - where do I begin? [Starts off on completely the wrong tack; he's honest! I'd have said I was making coffee for the prospective mother-in-law, or my new boss at least.]
CA: Is it freeze dried coffee you have there?
[Long Pause]
CA: Which variety do you have?
G: AAhhhh. [Bisto!] Kenco Really Smooth...
CA: AAhhhh yes, a good choice sir. That is freeze dried coffee.
G: AAhhhh.
CA: Yes, quite. Now what you want to do is get a teaspoon of those coffee granules, it can be heaped or level depending on your taste, and add it to the bottom of your cup. [Quite hard to add it to the top of the cup]
G: Mmhmm
CA: Freshly draw some water [I never could get the hang of this, maybe that's why I always did so badly in art lessons, I always put the glint in the wrong place] and boil it. After boiling, leave it to cool down for a minute or so. Then pour the water over the coffee granules until the cup is nearly full.
G: Yes, that makes sense.
CA: Now stir the coffee and pour as much milk as you like into the cup [provided it doesn't overflow] and stir that in too. Then you can add sugar to taste.
G: Thank you very much. You've been most helpful...
CA: That's quite alright, thank you for calling the Kenco Coffee Line.
G: No, no, thank you!

Returning to the kitchen only to find that the water in the kettle had cooled down again, he braced himself for the trial.
Offering to make a cup of coffee for the Peacock too, he proceeded to make it to the exact specification given, even using a proper measuring spoon that his mum had gave him in a set. [Maybe she thought he'd be baking a lot at university...] Not having a stopwatch, he made do with a clock to time the cooling of the kettle.
He professed this to be the nicest cup of coffee he'd drunk.
"Yes, I could rather get a taste for this."

* * * * *
[This is a literary device to indicate that some time passes between the preceding and the forthcoming.]

"I'm going to phone him back and say thank you!"
Phoning from the phone in the rooms of Dalton Ellis is a wearisome task. As an example:
Lift up reciever and dial 66
[A pause of some seconds]
Robotic Female: Wel-come please en-ter your PIN
Impatient resident: Grrrrr, [praying at the same time not to make any mistakes] Done

* * * * *
RF: You have Four Pounds and nine-ty sev-en pence remaining. Your credit is less than fi-vé pounds. To add credit to your account using a credit press one...
* * * * *
[The most depressing mistake here is to mistype the phone number.]
So here we go:
0808 100 87 87
Beep Beep Beep.
RF: Unable to connect.

Five minutes later:

He reaches the number and is played some classical music down the phone which sounds as though it is actually being played on the Heinz tin I used as a phone with my friend when I was 6. The first voice you hear is a computer telling that the phone call will be recorded for training purposes. After several announcements that "One of our operators will get through to you as soon as possible." a man called Nick answered the phone.
He didn't sound lively and full of vim, he sounded tired.

Nick: Thank-you for phoning the Kenco Coffeeline, this is Nick speaking, how can I help you?
Graham: I was phoning to convey my thanks actually: I phoned earlier and asked for instructions on how to make a nice cup of coffee and was given some. I then had the nicest cup of coffee I've had.
[Short pause]
N: Oh! Right. Erm... can you remember which of our team you spoke to?
G: Dash it, I've forgotten. Might it have been you?
[The tone of the man's voice changes here from bemused surprise to certainty]
N: No. No. It wasn't me.
G: Oh. [Figuring that this means there are at least three guys working there.] Right, well... I felt that I should express my gratitude.
N: Well, I'll pass on your thanks to the whole team.
G: Good.

It is fairly clear what happens next. Nick will stand up from his chair and using his headset as a gavel, draw order to the vast Kenco Coffee Line department. He will then proceed to play back the whole phone call to his colleagues. They will all laugh.

I'm sure if you want to phone and have conversations with them you can. You can even rest easy in the knowledge that it is a free call, unlike the evil dairy from That Mitchell and Webb Sound.

[This post first appeared here:


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