Dorchester coffee shop at centre of Twitter spat with Carole Malone hits back
A barista who found himself embroiled in a spat about coffee with a TV presenter and journalist has defended his business.
Columnist Carole Malone tweeted to her 35.6k followers that she felt ‘patronised’ after asking for a latte at Seventh Seal, Dorchester, to be served ‘extra hot’ – a request that was turned down by owner Toby Frere
Ms Malone tweeted: ‘Just been into a coffee shop called Seventh Seal and asked the man behind the counter to make my latte extra hot. He refused and told me I have to have it the way he wants to serve it because he thinks it’s better. #patronised.’
While some agreed that the customer is always right, many leapt to Mr Frere’s defence and criticised Malone for ‘bullying’ an independent business.
Mr Frere said: “I offered to heat the cup and explained why we don’t heat milk over a certain temperature. She took it really badly and said it was patronising because she knows how she likes her drinks. She said she was going to tweet about it but at that point, I didn’t know who she was and I thought that was the end of it.”
The tweet attracted a large number of responses, including that of Sculpture by the Lakes creator, Simon Gudgeon who replied: ‘He is the best barista in Dorset and won’t compromise his standards to serve a coffee that is imperfect.’
Mr Frere said: “Lucky, our customers have been very supportive and agree with what we do here, but it could be detrimental for someone with her profile to publicly criticise a local business like that.”
Seventh Seal, based at Brewery Square, describes itself as a ‘home for coffee enthusiasts’ and says it works with the ‘best roasters from all over the world.’ This, says Mr Frere, is why he refused Ms Malone’s milk request.
“When milk is heated it starts to release its natural sugars and up until a certain point these sugars are at their sweetest. When milk is heated beyond this the natural sugars start to die off and then the milk will start to turn nutty and bitter,” he explained.
“When milk is such a large part of a latte, we would only want it to complement the espresso we have made as the base and therefore would only want to heat the milk to the temperature where it is at its sweetest.
“The coffee we use is packed full of flavours that people might not expect which is why all of these parts have to work together.
“We’re trying to showcase the best product and the best flavours. We’re never going to please everyone but we’re proud of what we do.”