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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

British Chain Says Enough With the Fancy Coffee Names

Posted By on Wed, Oct 31, 2012 at 11:40 AM

The new "plain English" coffee menu at Debenhams. - DEBENHAMS
  • Debenhams
  • The new "plain English" coffee menu at Debenhams.

Even caffeine fiends like ourselves will admit that the specialty coffee culture and the pretension that surrounds it can get a bit exhausting, especially in a town like San Francisco. Somehow amidst the storm coverage, Gawker sniffed out the story that British department store chain Debenhams has launched a new "plain English coffee menu" in their Oxford Street cafe -- if successful, they may roll it out to their 150+ cafes and restaurants across the U.K. and Ireland.

See also:

- "Craft of Coffee": Checking Out Blue Bottle's New Book

- Ecco Coffee's Andrew Barnett Explains Why Restaurant Coffee Is Rarely Good

- Verve Coffee's Colby Barr on How to Help People Discover Richer Coffee

The new menu is pretty idiot-proof. If you want drip, order "simple coffee, with or without milk." Espresso shots are "a shot of strong coffee." Cappucinos are "frothy coffee," and lattes (not that you order lattes) are "really, really milky coffee."

Quoth John Baker, Director of Food Services at Debenhams: "We're trialling a redesign of our coffee menu in Oxford Street so shoppers spend less time playing coffee Cluedo and more time enjoying their favourite drink." [Note: "Cluedo" is the British version of the popular board game and fucked up 1985 movie "Clue."]

For more on the coffee war, check out TIME columnist Josh Ozersky's rant about Blue Bottle a few weeks ago, and former SFoodie editor John Birdsall's response on

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About The Author

Anna Roth

Anna Roth

Anna Roth is SF Weekly's former Food & Drink Editor and author of West Coast Road Eats: The Best Road Food From San Diego to the Canadian Border.


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