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Solo Goes Out

Coffee light to go at Eason’s Muse

Table For One skipped the eating out this month – there is a credit crunch don’t you know – in favour of reviewing a take out coffee.

There was a time when an Irish coffee (not the alcoholic kind) meant powdery Maxwell House. You put a spoon of it in a cup and added the milk before the boiling water to get that frothy effect, which made you feel like you were consuming something mildly exotic. Fast forward a decade and we’ve become Ireland of the lattes, although the recession could soon have something to say about the amount of money we spend on maintaining this habit. By January we might be happy to go back to the mug of instant.
In any case, still in Celtic Tiger mode, I was in town one recent Sunday and went in search of a pick-me-up to go. I was on Dublin’s northside and it occurred to me that the O’Brien’s and Insomnias are in shorter supply over there because I found myself wandering up to the third floor of Easons on O’Connell Street to get my fix. Muse Café, I mused to myself, was not very busy for a weekend lunchtime, but who am I to judge? I just wanted an Americano to take away, a request that was greeted with a blank expression, followed by a foreign exchange of advice between the staff, before the waitress understood what I wanted and went about fulfilling my needs. Two minutes later and she presented me with my coffee and I was delighted to see it was in rather large, albeit paper-based, cup. My happiness turned to puzzlement as I moved over to the till, where I was instructed to go in order to pay up. All very Bewleys in the ’90s, I noted, but I was more concerned with the lightness of my hot beverage.
“That’s €2.30,’ the debt collector said to me as I removed the lid to check if there was milk in it.
“Em, this isn’t even half full,” I pointed out and I wasn’t lying. It was definitely less than half and that wasn’t me being a pessimist.
“We don’t have smaller cups,” she responded and I honestly had to quell an urge to throw the whole thing on her head.
No smaller cups? What kind of sense does that make? Then she made it worse.
“I can fill it up for you for an extra charge.”
“No thanks,” I snarled and I was honestly becoming vicious at this point I was so mad.
I don’t know if it’s the Eddie Hobbs effect or what, but I am getting really sick of Rip-off Ireland so I paid for the offending purchase and stormed out, although I doubt any of the staff noticed or cared. Daylight robbery had been committed and I was the only one who was bothered. Much as I dread the worldwide bankruptcy that’s apparently ahead of us all, a part of me is looking forward to going back to the days of flasks of tea.

The Muse Cafe at Easons is located on O’Connell Street, Dublin 1. Eat there if you want. Just don’t order a take out coffee.

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