The Brits have tea and biscuits. The Germans have kaffee und kuchen. The Americans like coffee and cupcakes, and the Australians like Americana. A pink pustule on the wiry arm of Pirie street, BTS Café is the latest to capitalise on the intercontinental cupcake craze. But while we have seen the Sex and the City episode that started it all, MMC & Co are not about the cupcakes. Chasing the only cup of SA-roasted ‘Mahalia Coffee’ in the CBD, we are keen to test the BTS coffee cred.
Customer Service for Dummies, line one, page one: the Customer is Always Right. Perhaps BTS were understaffed this particular Monday. Possibly, MMC ordered a latte by mistake. Undoubtedly, when two flat whites didn’t appear, these Customers would have preferred retreat and replacement to awkward apology. The Service: on this day, as confused as their uniform. Pink shirts and black bustieres: uh, why?
The faux French-provincial is one poodle short of kitsch. Stained-glass windows and slaughtered ceiling roses mourn a less pink prime. Friend of MMC is glum with unwanted latte, and the cupcake uninspires. But in the shade of plastic poinsettias, staring up almost apologetically, is good-lookin' cup of Joe. The Pour: bonus points for love heart, right? The Flavour: MMC hearts Mahalia blends - the best thing out of Robe, SA. The Strength: MMC is happy. Friend of MMC is still bitter (ho ho) about the mix-up. A third reports a weak cup from the well-placed takeaway window. It seems BTS serve the cupcake-addict’s coffee rather than the caffeine-junkie’s, but the pricing reflects this.
Lesson: niche marketing with sprinkles can be tops. BTS is so pink, so saccharine, and has so many women in MMC’s building frosting at the mouth. Any guesses what the acronym stands for? Baked Tart Sellers? Big Time Sugar? No siree. BTS stands for Better Than Sex, a knowing female nod to the powers of the patty pan. Even their association with the girl-power Mahalia branding is a clever consistency. Those looking for less pink and more punch will surely drink elsewhere.