Maybe it was because I hadn’t had my coffee yet this morning, but I caught myself offhandedly dismissing the blond bombshell barista as a dumb blond within moments of talking to her.

Let me backtrack a little.

I had passed by deVille Luxury & Pastries many times before, on foot, by car and by bus, but had never found an opportunity to try their coffee. It looks like an upscale coffee parlor and is situated in downtown Calgary, right next to a store or office boldly announcing itself as “Fashion Central”.

Today, my bus was early and as it idled at its timing stop just across the street from deVille, I decided to take the opportunity to dash over to deVille for breakfast.

I was debating between simply grabbing a brewed coffee and a pastry or going for a fancier coffee when I spied their placard on the sidewalk, recommending their lattes in playfully colorful lettering. That decided me, but first I needed to know whether or not they could make a latte in the four and a half minutes I had before my bus departed.

I walked straight to the back of the cafe, where there were three ladies behind the counter. Two appeared to be making a latte (or really, was it only one that was making latte and the other was simply making small talk?) and one was obviously manning the cashier.

“Hi,” I smiled at the lady holding a metal pitcher of milk in her hands. “Do you know how long it’ll be for a latte?”

“Excuse me?” She looked at me blankly.

Oh, maybe she didn’t understand me through my accent, I thought. Nonplussed, I repeated my question.

“Ah… What size do you? Large?” she stalled for time as she looked to her small-talk companion. “A moment? It’ll just take a moment.”

I kid you not, it took her a very long moment to give me that very nondescript answer. That was when I began to dismiss her, and the establishment she worked for simply because they hired someone so unknowledgeable and unprofessional to make their coffee.

Sighing internally, I turned to the cashier to order a large drip coffee instead,  surmising that if I ordered a latte, it would take the “barista” an uninterminable length of time to produce a latte of questionable quality. This assumption was supported when the lady gently tapped the pitcher of foamed milk on the countertop, chatted with her fellow barista, then tapped the pitcher on the counter again. deVille presents itself as a place where I could expect to find reasonably decent latte art, but after my observations this morning, I fully expect to be wrong on that point.

I quickly perused the food offerings in the display by the cashier and was rather aghasted at the lack of pastries (no croissants, no scones, no muffins, no apple turnovers, nothing!) and at the pale, unappetizing color of the breakfast sandwiches that were unlabelled and tossed haphazardly in a pile. It was not an artistic, haphazardly-tossed pile, but a careless, aesthetically displeasing or neutral at best to the eye, pile. To be fair, the off-putting coloring of the sandwiches could be from the lighting, but that’s something a decent coffee place attached to “Fashion Central” should be aware of. To be fair, the arrangement of the sandwiches could be a matter of taste, but who was it that said certain standards of beauty are universal?

Needless to say, I passed on breakfast at deVille this morning.

I feel like I’m beating a dead horse here, but there was one last thing about deVille that baffled and annoyed me. I add milk to my drip coffee, simply because it’s usually sour from prolonged exposure to oxygen, but deVille did not have milk. They only had cream. I’m not even asking for half and half, skim, 2% or 1% here. All I wanted was milk, but they only had cream.

What kind of coffee place is this? I’m not asking for a massive range of customization a la Starbucks here; all I wanted was milk. And all they had to offer me was cream.

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