Coffee: A Blog

PJ: With the results of the EU referendum still ringing in our ears, like being slapped across the face with a rotten Mediterranean fish, our economy and country is most likely (definitely) fucked. Seriously fucked. In light of this news some of us need more money, myself and my sister included. So we’ve turned to the lucrative and literally energising career path of critiquing coffee shops. And I know what you’re thinking, “Is this a necessary job? Isn’t there already an incredible surplus of bloggers? Coffee bloggers?”, and the answer to that is an unequivocal, “YES!”. But we need that sweet, sweet cash. That money, honey. And with that in mind, Emily and I set off on our journey to oversaturate not only the Internet writer market, but also the caffeine level in our blood streams.

Emily: First thing for us to do was go to the coffee shop which PJ took as a good time to announce he needed to go to Primark right now. It only took him one whole hour to choose from two identical cotton t-shirts (both white, made in Bangladesh, and to be washed at no temperature other than 40 degrees). PJ got distracted from the task only once when he noticed that the price had dropped a full twenty pence from £2.50 to £2.30 — a revelation which ended in me taking a photo of him next to the discount sign because brothers are morons. We were well over-due in the coffee shop by this time as professional reviewers.

PJ: The review would have to wait. I needed things. Stuff. And I needed those things and that stuff so urgently that a trip to Primark was absolutely necessary prior to our first outing as pro coffee tasters. And btw, don’t act like that 20 pence price drop was anything less that a miracle, Sis. They’re passing the savings on to us! Plus, with that 20p I could buy a Freddo (this blog is brought to you by Freddo). Unless they now cost 10x that, which they most likely do. Thanks, Obama!

*As a side note, I’m referring to the clothes as “things” and “stuff” so that I’m not implicated if one of the sweat shop workers gets a beating over a poor hem line I saw on a v-neck vest.

PJ: We waited in Peckham for about 7–10 minutes for the number 78 bus to take us to East London. It arrived as you’d expect: angry, cramped, red. We took a seat on the top deck and were pleasantly surprised by the outside heat to indoor AC ratio. Amazing, right? But, having not been on a bus for quite a while (I mostly walk for leg related reasons which are none of your beeswax), I had forgotten just how many stops there are. It’s crazy. One, maybe two hundred stops every half-mile.

“These are electric now, aren’t they?”
“Partly electric, partly regular engine.”
“Oh right. Step in the right direction I guess.”

Here we are. Normality restored. The novelty of the bigness and redness of the journey almost instantly dissipated, and we were back to reality. Talking about nothing. At least it was sunny.

Emily: PJ has casually dismissed the fact that I nearly became a full blown criminal when I got on the back of the bus, mistakenly thinking it was a modern route-master, instead of getting on at the front where I should have boarded to beep my Oyster. He has instead focused on the fact that we waited for a suspiciously vague time of 7–10 minutes — incidentally the exact same time it says on the bus stop scheduling board and therefore information that needed not a watch, nor patience, nor the journalistic skill of noting down the actual time we waited.

Emily: We wanted lunch because it was hard work all morning despite not technically having started the work yet due to still being far away from the cafe. Before getting there I suggested we just sunbathe instead but PJ and Sarah (who was now along for the ride) told me that’s not how you review a coffee shop so I offered the next best thing: LUNCH BREAK. At first we were going to get lunch at the cafe we were reviewing until we found out they don’t sell KFC there.

PJ: Can I start by saying that choosing KFC as a lunching venue was entirely Emily’s idea. Just thought I should discredit this faux salad-eating persona she’s tried to adopt to look “healthy”. You aren’t fooling anyone! Anyway, after begrudgingly swallowing down a greasy (tasty) and calorific (very tasty) meal, we left the table in an almost post-apocalyptic state, as a real, “Fuck you!”, to The Man. The Man in this case being the Cleaner.
Fuck you, Cleaner! Anarchy baby!!

**Also, the toilet was lit up by a very ambient blue light. 7/10, would use again.

PJ: On our long and mazy walk to this seemingly elusive/fictional cafe, the heavens opened. Opened so hard that rain fell out of it. Enough rain to go straight through the rivets of my corduroy jacket to my pale, British, non-European skin. Rain falling harder than the Pound against the Dollar. Then things got knocked into 12th gear (I don’t drive). We were caught in a full on natural disaster. The kind of weather that would be referred to by future generations simply as, The Storm. 25/6/16. The date Brick Lane was consumed by, The Storm. Lightning. Thunder. Vintage. Forget the coffee shop, forget the review, we needed a fucking Anderson shelter at this point. Pathetic fallacy has never been more apparent. Nigel Farage cackled as a bolt of lightning struck an innocent German Shepard puppy. Boris Johnson smugly sipped a home-brewed pale ale as millions of picnics were washed out. Brie and crackers turned in to unidentifiable, amorphous piles of sludge. Chaos.

Emily: There was quite a big puddle by the curb and a piece of rubbish got blown across the pavement at one point — probably a carelessly discarded Mars bar wrapper dashed out by a comfort-eating Remain voter who had been contemplating interplanetary movement to the red planet before realising that would be ridiculous because Mars is -100 degrees Celsius.

PJ: CHAOS.

Emily: We finally got to the cafe, cold, wet, clinically depressed but with an underlying layer of rationale that told us if we stayed we would be famous coffee bloggers.

Me: “What coffee do you want?”
PJ: “I don’t like coffee.”
Me: “What??”
PJ: “It’s bitter. What are you having?”
Me: “I can’t have a coffee because I’ve already had four today, so I’d be sick and have uncontrollable anxiety this evening if I had another.”
PJ: “When did you have those?!”
Me: “Before we left and then while I was waiting in Primark.”

Emily: The barista decided it was his job to get us coffee and so pushed us (verbally, not physically) for our order which is how we ended up with PJ getting a black Americano — which he wants me to say he drank without enjoying at all — and me getting an organic peppermint infusion which looked more like a mint teabag to me.

PJ: It’s funny that I, myself, had been completely oblivious to the fact that I, me, don’t like coffee. I had been blinded by the glamour of the cafe blogger lifestyle: rolling out of bed at 10 (which I maintain is still very early, I’m never up until the sun starts going down), farting out a piece about beans (coffee is made from beans, yeah?), and just waiting for the acceptable beer-drinking time (when the sun starts going down). With those thoughts in my head, I ordered an Americano – after deciding a hot chocolate would be too embarrassing to say out loud – and sat down on a distressed leather sofa. For any uninformed readers, all coffee tastes the same, and it all tastes bad. Coke is delicious, coffee is bad. Next!

Emily: Do you think we need to give an overall rating? Shall we just chuck 10/10 at it? What’s the place even called?

PJ: We don’t know what it’s called. I asked you when we were leaving but it was raining and you just ran out saying “that information doesn’t fucking matter.”

Emily: Oh.

PJ: 10/10 to that cafe.

Emily: Yeah.