Breaking up is hard to do…

So today I’m breaking up with my coffee place.

It’s been a long time coming, and to be honest I’ve let things go on much longer than I should have. Perhaps it’s because my last coffee break-up was a somewhat painful experience, that I’ve been unknowingly delaying the inevitable.

Last time things ended with awkward looks from my former barista as I waited nearby at a competitor’s cafe. There were uncomfortable moments filled with quickly averted eyes as we passed each other in the street and pretended not to notice … But eventually I got used to just enjoying a delicious hot cup of coffee at my new place, and not having to wait 20 minutes for it to arrive. Time fixes most things, even old coffee wounds.

Breaking up with my coffee place ... Things were great at my new coffee place … that was, until they weren’t. The coffee experience has been on a steady decline, and recently things have become noticeably worse – there’s the service which has become lazily familiar rather than friendly and efficient, and the coffee which has been OK, if not a little on the cool side … (and I do love a seriously hot coffee).

When things got really bad, my heart would turn nostalgic and I’d return to my original coffee place. Enough time had passed for the awkwardness to haveΒ dissipated and for me to be curious about the coffee. Even though I hadn’t ordered coffee from him in over a year, the barista still remembered my name and my order. If it wasn’t for the ridiculously long queues which trail out the door each day, I probably would have returned there on a daily basis. The thing about running into a fondly remembered ex is that it highlights all the things you’ve been missing. Once this realisation is made, you know it’s time for you to stop making excuses and just move on.

So I’ve been flirting with a few new establishments over the last few weeks … and I think I’ve found one that will do just fine. At least for the moment. The coffee is hot, made quickly and efficiently, and of course it tastes great too.

And so my frequency card has been stamped for the final time, never to be replaced. We’ve shared our final coffee together. Today is all about making a new coffee beginning. I hope this relationship turns out to be ‘the one’, as my heart is growing tired of the coffee chase … How have you handled breaking up with your cafe? Do you try to stay friends with your coffee ex?

30 Comments

  1. jan

    It’s quite discouraging when a place you really like starts letting the service slip. It’s like they are taking customers for granted. Like some men sometimes do. πŸ™‚

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Jan – I really wish businesses understood how important good customer service is … I mean, without customers their livelihoods wouldn’t exactly exist. No one should take anyone for granted ( … thanks for the giggle over that men comment). πŸ™‚

  2. Gabrielle Bryden

    Haha – very funny and well written post Tracey. You’d think these places would get there act together considering the ever increasing price of coffee these days – they have to get it right to retain the customer. Wishing you all the best with you new coffee romance πŸ™‚

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Gabrielle – Thanks so much, I’m so happy you get my humour! πŸ™‚
      I just don’t understand why (or how) there are so many bad coffee shops in Brisbane … and you’re right, the price keeps going up, so you’d think a cafe would want to compete more successfully for our $$.

      The romance is going well so far … but it’s early days yet, so I’ll see how it plays out. πŸ˜‰

  3. Erika Lee Sears

    πŸ™‚ Tracey I agree with you- I am glad you found a new coffee place. They should value your loyal business πŸ™‚

    The coffee here in HK is delicious πŸ™‚ I think I might have to go and get one in a few minutes.

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Erika – Thanks so much, I’m glad to have found a new place too. How fantastic that the coffee in HK is so good, that would be something I’d worry about when relocating for a long period of time (coffee is very important to me).
      πŸ™‚

  4. caren

    Wonderfully written cafe-break-up story!
    I’ve broken up with 2 of my old regular coffee haunts just this year. I don’t miss either place; both remind me of puffed up male birds putting on a really good show to wrangle in a female only to deflate when they actually get her. Y’know?
    Happily, my seasonal cafe is now open again, so I know I will have good service & good caffeine until October!
    Also, we have a local cafe that makes the best London Fogs so at least I know I’ll always have good foamy earl grey latte goodness! πŸ™‚

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Caren – You are so sweet! πŸ™‚
      Gosh, you’ve gone through two coffee break-ups?!!? How annoying, but at least your favourite cafe is back in business (I love the idea of a cafe being seasonal … that’s pretty special). I completely get your male bird analogy … that’s exactly how it felt with my coffee place too.

      Oh yum!! A London Fog sounds amazing!!! It’s nice to have a few different hot drink options close by I think.
      πŸ™‚

  5. PRIMOEZA

    ha! i haven’t had this experience with coffee, but i did break up with my hairdresser after almost 10 years. it took me about 2 years to actually make the break, and like you when i had another (bad) haircut i would be tempted to go back, but then i would remember all the things that bugged me…

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Primoeza – Oh I know how difficult that hairdresser break-up must have been … it’s only in the past couple of years I’ve been able to re-commit to a great one. At least you were able to finally make that last cut … a great hairdresser is so important … πŸ™‚

  6. Lucent Imagery

    Awesome post Tracey! So well written. I don’t drink coffee much (love the smell and taste, just can’t handle the caffeine hit!) but I’ve had plenty of break ups with hairdressers. Some of them just won’t let go and are hanging onto the past. They send me love letters trying to lure me back and they never forget my birthday. But no once you’ve lost me, there’s no second chances. Most awkward hairdressing breakup moment was when I was sitting outside a cafe next door with a TOTALLY different hair colour two weeks after she had wrecked (& snapped off) my hair. She stopped for a hello and commented to which I shiftily let the question hang in the air and hope that the appearance was that I had done it myself. I wanted to scream, “but you were awful, you ruined everything”! But no we can never let our exes see our vulnerabilities, can we? I hope you have a great weekend! And don’t binge over the break up. I think you made the right decision. If you do bump into them, you could try this line… It wasn’t me. It was you and your coffee. πŸ˜‰

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Lucent Imagery – Thanks so much for your sweet words (oh, and while I haven’t quite got around to replying yet, thanks also for your lovely email … you are a delight). Those hairdresser break-ups can be quite traumatic … I know I’ve had a few over the years. I’m sticking with my current hairdresser for as long as I can … he’s fantastic and knows me so well.

      Our ex-hairdressers can be cheeky with the emails and reminders. I know I get text messages from one of my salons … how rude! I’m like you, when it comes to hair there is no turning back.

      I loved the story you relayed about that awkward hairdressing moment you experienced … and you’re so right, we never show our vulnerabilities to our exes, regardless of the type of ex they may be.

      You’ll be happy to know my new coffee relationship is going well so far … but I am perhaps happier still that a weekend is just around the corner. I hope you had a lovely week and that you have a weekend filled with loveliness to look forward to.
      xx

  7. Rol

    I broke up with my old coffee place recently, but more for financial reasons. We were given a pretty decent coffee machine for use in the office and it proved far more cost effective to use that than spend the Β£40+ a month I had been spending in Cafe Nero. I do miss them – and ironically, I have a full stamped loyalty card so the next time I do feel like one of their freshly ground Americanos, I can claim it for free. But I feel a little awkward about going back there after some time away… so perhaps I’ll save my card to use in another branch.

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Rol – Oh you’re very good to give up your coffee place for financial reasons. My work recently got in one of those pod coffee machines, and while it’s much cheaper than going out, and it’s not all that bad … well I just love my coffee break out of the office (I think it keeps me sane).

      At least you have that full loyalty card just in case a desperate coffee moment arises … I how to your superior willpower. πŸ™‚

  8. Debby

    You always tickle me Tracey….this is a lovely post….but now I’m going to go and get some coffee…see what you’ve done…:o)

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Debby – Well I’m always happy to provide a tickle or a giggle wherever needed. Haha, sorry this post caused you to have to indulge in a coffee though … I hope it was a great one! πŸ˜€

  9. Signe

    Hihi, a good coffeeplace is hard to find! I am having a romance with Memory the coffee machine that my bf just bought, she is a keeper!
    Happy weekend πŸ™‚

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Signe – I totally agree … I think searching for a great coffee place may just become my life’s quest! πŸ˜‰
      Oh I see you’re having a little ‘in-home’ romance … cheeky, cheeky! Haha! I dream of one day indulging in a lovely home based coffee machine, but perhaps then I’d never leave home? πŸ˜‰
      I hope you had a lovely week! πŸ™‚

  10. bobbi

    baristas are like that in the whole world I see…they tend to forget we’re not really friends, even though we act like one, even though we see each other every day. We’re customers first of all, and the service has to be impeccable like the first day.
    Since I opened up my shop I’ve had a new coffe place, rght across the street from where I am. They’re two guys in their fifties, they’re a couple and they’re great. Not to mention they have the best coffee in town. They live in an old farmhouse with chickens, four dogs and two donkeys, and they have the largest vegetable garden I have ever seen. Just great.

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Bobbi – I wonder what it is about the coffee profession that seems to all too often leave us wanting more from a service perspective … you think the market would be far more competitive. I agree completely with you, service is the one thing that can never be left to slip …

      I love the sounds of your nearby coffee place (and how wonderful that it’s so close). Apart from serving delicious coffee it sounds like they are very much the most interesting of men.

  11. Narnie

    My coffee place isn’t the same without Carlos. He would immediately know I wanted a tall capp to stay and always gave me two stamps on my loyalty card. I miss him. I hope he’s okay. I hung around for a while to see if he’d show up again but I felt silly asking the new guy who, frankly, just makes coffee and takes my money. And he only gives me one stamp on the card. Both me and my card felt unloved. So I’m in the middle of trying various ones out. I quite like the cake choice in Costa but the coffee is served in cups rather than mugs which is just wrong, wrong. Nero’s thinks it’s doing you a favour by serving you and frankly, their paninis are second rate. So, yes, I am homeless in cafΓ© terms. I empathise with you Tracey and I ask that you think of me next time you sit down with your beans of choice.

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Kiersty – Oh what a shame that Carlos left your coffee place, it’s amazing how much those wonderful people become a part of our lives. Hopefully he’s moved onto a bigger and better coffee experience (but of course that doesn’t really help you).

      I hope you find a new place soon. Oh yes, I’m with you on the ‘coffee should be served in mugs’ thought … I love a big mug of coffee (it’s the only way it really should be served). It’s hard to find a nice balance between good food (or sweet treats) and lovely coffee). It’s on the very rarest of occasions that the planets align on all fronts.

      I shall think of you when I next enjoy a lovely coffee at my local cafe … you are very much someone I would enjoy sitting down with a coffee or two.
      xx

  12. Rel

    Sounds like you gave them a good long run – now I’m curious as to which establishments they are – but I know good girls don’t tell.

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Rel – I think we lasted as long as we could in the coffee relationship … as to which coffee places they are … well yes, perhaps it’s kindest to leave my lips sealed on that one. πŸ˜‰

  13. Krystal/Village

    well i wish you a happy and healthy relationship with your new place!!

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Krystal – Thanks so much … I hope it’s a long, happy and healthy coffee relationship too. Things have gone well so far, but I shall have to wait and see as time goes by.
      xx

  14. woolf

    i’ve so enjoyed this little caffeine piece of yours!
    i feel all refreshed, brewed to perfection.
    nβ™₯

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Woolf – You are a delight! I’m so glad you enjoyed this little bite of caffeine news. Perhaps coffee works its wonders across the magic of the internet? πŸ™‚

  15. Kristi

    oh yes, never never settle until you find the perfect cup.

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Kristi – I agree, the search for brilliant coffee continues. Some of these relationships end up being quite short term, but hopefully this current place will be a keeper. πŸ™‚

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