Was out shopping at Lakeside today. I felt I deserved a coffee after a long day of shopping and suffering shop assistants' continual assaults of 'can I help you?'. Since there's no Boston Tea Party
round these parts, why not take a chance with a chain I was unfamiliar with? Thus we duly headed to Coffee Republic.
Looking at the menu, it seemed rather promising - they offered ristretto, which is a very strong and esoteric choice by anyone's standards. Certainly something you expect to see from people serious about coffee, or so you'd think. Unfortunately the experience was pretty awful.
It all started to go wrong when I ordered a vanilla latte. Pease, don't hold that against me, I just felt like something sweet, okay? Besides, I've not even started yet. We looked up at the menu and we saw:
OK, you assume it's all £2.60, don't you? I did. The marketing department probably wanted you to think that too. Cunningly, at the very bottom of the menu, there's a small line stating "Extra syrups: 60p". But that's doesn't apply because a vanilla latte is intrinsically vanilla, right?
Ha. It's a regular latte with 'extra' vanilla syrup, and they never explicitly said it cost £2.60. Paying £3.20 for a coffee, flavoured or not, is way over the top. This is underhand, deceptive and technically correct; a combination that makes nobody happy except their accountants.
I could've lived with it if it was a decent cup of coffee. If only. By the taste of it, they definitely put 'extra' syrup in - it was sickly, vanilla-y (but mostly syrupy) and pretty devoid of anything else, including hot milk. I'd have had more fun with a McDonald's milkshake.
And just in case you thought they might redeem themselves - ah, no, unless your favourite drink is tea-flavoured dishwater. It was as weak as anything.
I seriously hope it's just the staff at Lakeside that's sub-par. Either way, I have no intention of seeing if they're better elsewhere; there are more consistent coffee chains out there that will get my business. Awful.