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  • Philip Bryer

It'll Never Catch On

From Private Eye’s Pseuds Corner section.

“For Andrea Illy, Chairman of Illycafe, a cup of espresso is not a beverage ‘It’s a total experience,’ he says, ‘and it’s polysensual. It involves the sight, the smell, the taste…everything’. Coffee culture - the café, the cup, the espresso itself – not only provides a milieu for creativity, but makes drinking espresso a creative act in itself.”

Phew. What an absolute load of old toffee, coffee bollocks. Tell that to my old man who used to guzzle Nescafe Instant by the gallon with nary a thought as to what he might be missing out on, polysensual-wise.

Coffee. It’ll never catch on, you know. I used to dispense this wisdom while watching Frasier and friends sipping endless little cups at the Café Nervosa. It’ll never catch on in England. Where we drink tea.

Never catch on. We bought one of those Tassimo machines a few years ago. Buy the pods in bulk every few months. Free delivery with spends over £35. I am surprised it’s caught on, though.

Just back from Italy. We brought back coffee beans. Napoli beans. Yes, we grind our own beans – stop it at the back, please – I don’t think it’ll catch on though.

Generally, I think coffee is A Good Thing. I know that their super-huge, evil conglomerates are all over the high street and taking over and stealing our identities as part of a conspiracy by the Military Industrial Complex and Argos, but, let’s face it, these days we should perhaps be grateful to anyone who wants to take up an empty shop front in Britain’s moribund high streets. Anyway, there’s always the independent coffee shop option. So, overall, they're A Good Thing. Although I'm really not sure about the one which has opened recently in Bath. It's called Cascara, and, to anyone with but a passing knowledge of British toilet humour of the 60's, cascara is right up there with trusses, hollyhocks, and the memorable character in Carry On Cleo, Senna Pod.

Senna Pod

There is, however, A Very Bad Thing. I take it the avid reader has heard of Bonaparte’s? The railway-station-based outfit who make their coin from shoving food and drink into the faces of the passing, pressed-for-time passenger. But are the Bonaparte’s bean counters aware of how much gelt they’re missing out on? Have they peeked beyond the front row of the queue and the idiot who's chosen to inconvenience the rest of us by ordering a decaff skinny latte macchiato cappuccino with a dusting and a twist?

When the barrister (I believe that’s the term) or coffee-chucker is setting the controls of their shiny Sinclair C5 caffeine computer, giving it all knob-twirl and lever-twist and steam-puff like the Wizard of Oz, have they or anyone else chanced a glance around the darker reaches of the store? Ever?

If they did then they’d surely spot the numerous blokes of, generally, middle years, who had only popped in for a pint, maybe only had 20 minutes to spare, but then decided that they didn’t want to spend half that time watching the work-experience kid making a single cup of sodding coffee. I find that I most often make tracks for the exit at the sight and sound of the tapping out of the old grounds...

We want beer

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