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||I'd like to tell you all about a nice box of chocolate cream wafers I was given last week by my boss. He'd been sent them by a colleague in Japan (in a box of rock samples, but luckily only a few of the wafers were crushed). They are called 'Chocolate Collon' which sounded so much like the part of the intestine reserved for biscuit digestion that he just couldn't face them.|
I can report that inside the box were 6 individual packets, each containing ten inch-long crispy wafer tubes filled to the brim with creamy chocolatey goodness. The chocolate was more of a praline, but very good nonetheless. They went very well with a short sharp espresso in the morning.
We have a vending machine too (Klix) which does a good tea, a very poor coffee (like rainwater), and the soups would be ok if there was a device for stirring the inch of sludge at the bottom of the cup.
Southampton University (Oceanography Centre)
|Nicey replies: Its a good job the rocks didn't smash them all. We'll have to let Ace biscuit hunter Jonathan Dean know as he is in Japan right now.
Horrah for the Japanese and their unfortunate product names!
We have four hot drinks machines at Screwfix in Yeovil, dispensing a wide variety of 'delights'... There must be at least five versions of Nescafe, plus chicken soup, vegetable soup, a couple of Starburst drinks which have the option of being hot or cold, a couple of hot chocolate varieties (why two, shirley it's the same thing?). And all for the princely sum of 15p a go.
I am not a coffee drinker at the best of times, but I did try the standard Gold Blend from this machine and it truly was comparable to the excretions of a dog. The Starburst leaves a nasty-looking residue at the base of your plastic cup, which only becomes apparent upon emptying the container of liquid. The chicken soup and hot choc is actually quiet nice, which surprised the hell out of me...
The tea is PG Tips utilising a bag, with the silver bit of foil to aid withdrawal. Invariably, i.e. 75% of the time (not a scientifically determined figure, but an experiment I may conduct later), this piece of foil is underneath the bag, or the bag is lying on it's side, covered in hot tea, and thus impossible to remove unless you happen to like the Accident & Emergency Department. Or cold tea. Luckily there tends to be a couple of small spoons in the vicinity of a nearby sink, for just such an occurance.
This seems to be the only quirk of the machine, but as others have pointed out, the powdered milk renders what would be an otherwise fine drink, to being merely adequate. Perhaps the wonders of the 21st Century will solve the puzzle of storing fresh milk for long periods of time, perhaps with some kind of cooling device. Maybe you could even get one for the home! You could keep other things in it too. On second thoughts, perhaps that's a bit too far-fetched.
The buttons on the four machines appear to be arranged in a different order, depending on which machine you go to. For example, you absent-mindedly press your normal selection of white tea, and horror of horrors, it produces white tea with sugar! And just because you moved to the machine positioned two inches to the left of your normal one... They do have the same number of coffee buttons, the same number of tea buttons, and one or two 'bonus' buttons which contain the aforementioned alternatives. They just happen to be in a different order on each machine. It's some sort of game, I'm sure, or perhaps another way those pesky warehouse Supervisors are trying to wear us down....
As for biscuits, the kitchen provides some excellent 'home-made cookies', which are baked on site. Naturally, I always take the double-chocolate version over the choc-chip. More chocolate for your buck is always a good thing :-)
To tie the vending machine/chocolate matters together, our snack machine routinely leaves my chocolate bar selection dangling in mid-air, just holding on by sheer willpower alone, it seems...
The bit on your site about the so-called 'tea' machines has greatly inspired my colleagues and I. Here at WeFixPhones Ltd, we have six of these behemoths, all with their own quirks. Just to keep you guessing, they seem to swap quirks at the drop of a hat, subjecting you randomly to either:
A minute amount of extremely strong (some may say espresso) tea
A cup of hot water with a couple of tea leaves floating on top
A cup of otherwise perfectly good tea, ruined by a strong taste of chicken soup or whatever was last dispensed from the machine's one nozzle
Hot water, with a dash of powdered milk (even if you asked for black tea)
and of course, if you decide to get around these quirks by requesting hot water, the water is never actually hot enough to make a nice cup of Earl Grey, presumably for health and safety reasons. To add insult to injury, we have to pay to run the daily tea gauntlet. Bad tea is one thing. Paying
for bad tea is another.
||We had a vending machine at the large MultiCorp insurance company I worked for - it was your average Blandamatic, it was free, and the tea tasted like diluted worming medicine.|
Then one day I came into work to find that the dreary vending machine had been "re-branded!". No longer would I have to choose "Tea", "Coffee" or "Chicken Soup" (I dread to think what constitutes 'chicken' to these people, and never ever had one of these). Now I could choose from an exciting range of Starburst Fruit Drink, or Original Nescafe, or PG Tips with bags! The bags, by the way, had a little metal strap on them to facilitate removal.
Unfortunately, the machine was still the same example of 1970s British automation, and they had simply changed the buttons. We had a blind taste test with the unaltered machine in Human Resources (busy office, obviously) and no-one could reliably differentiate the 2, leading us to believe it was *just* the buttons that were changed.
PS I swear these vending machines are the sole reason anyone drinks coffee - a quick survey of my friends reveals that none drank or even liked coffee until they had to work somewhere that only provided vending tea. As the coffe is marginally less vile it would seem that we all switched there and then.
All this talk of vending machines reminds me of an odd week we had at the online bank where I used to work.
An enormous vertical, black slab appeared in our "break out" area, where previously a humble, yet not overly disgusting, tea/coffee vending machine had stood. It looked like a Cray Supercomputer. Light seemed unable to escape from its surface; there wasn't even a picture of some tea or coffee on the front.
Once I'd finished pointlessly barking "Tea, Earl Grey, hot" at it, I noticed a boilersuited gentleman waiting to show me the delights of the new machine. He promised fresh leaf tea and freshly ground coffee in any number of pseudo-Starbucks varieties. After proudly announcing the virtues of the new machine to all those gathered - me and my mates Trudie and Eva - he opened it up. It looked surprisingly empty, as though it were a little coffee machine wearing a big coat.
The engineer-cum-salesman set the machine off making a cup of tea. Tea leaves dropped into a small holder, were drenched in freshly boiled water and golden-brown liquid dribbled into the cup. It looked magnificent, right up until some crappy powdered milk was added.
It was then that my suspicions regarding vending machine tea were confirmed: it's the powdered milk that ruins it all. You can have all the freshly chopped tea leaves, or two minute brewing processes you like, but tea is utterly vile when real milk is substituted.
The following week the black slab was taken away.