Saturday, November 17, 2007

AA Gill has a high street beverage

This is what happened when AA Gill, most probably the model for Anton Ego in Ratatouille, finally went to try out a Starbucks:

"American coffee is only coffee because they say it is. It's actually a pale, scalding version of junior-school, jam-jar brush water...I can't remember the last time I was served something as foul as its version of a cappuccino. To begin with it took longer to make than a soufflé...An hour and a half later I was presented with a mug. A mug. One of those American mugs where the lip is so thick, you have to be able to disengage your jaw like a python to fit it in your mouth. It contained a semi-permeable white mousse the sort of stuff they use to drown teenagers in Ibiza, or pump into cavity walls. I dumped in two spoonfuls of sugar. It rejected them. Having beaten the malevolent epidermis with the collection of plastic and wooden things provided, I managed to make it sink. Then with both hands I took a sip. Then a gulp. Then chewed. I had a momentary sense of drowning in snowman's poo, then, after a long moment, a tepid sludge rose from the deep. This was reminscent of gravy browning and three-year-old Easter eggs. How can anyone sell this stuff? How can anyone buy it twice? And this was only a small one a baby. The adult version must be like sucking the outlet of a nuclear power station."

And then he spotted one of those free little brochure thingies:

"There was a pamphlet about fair trade, and how Starbucks paid some Nicaraguan Sancho a reasonable amount for his coffee so that he now had a mule to go with his thirteen children, leaky roof and fifteen coffee bushes. It made not screwing the little no-hope wetback into penury sound like the most astonishing act of charitable benevolence. And they just had to print a pamphlet about it so we all know what sort of selfless, munificent, group-hug people we're dealing with."

For this blog's view on Fair Trade coffee, see this post.

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