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This McDonalds owned chain of coffee bars are spreading rapidly across the country. If you like coffee bars (as I do) you might think that's a good thing, but be warned; they are not what they seem! On first impressions an Aroma coffee bar looks very nice, bright blocks of primary colours are cheery and inviting (especially on those wet and gloomy winter evenings). The prices seem reasonable (about £1.50 for a cup), the music isn't too loud and the staff are cheery and eager to help. In short it seems like a perfect shop. They sell all the usual coffee options (espresso, cappuccino etc.) as well as a good range of sandwiches (the Smoked Salmon in particular is very good) and some lovely hot soup. These, other food options, whilst slightly overpriced aren't too outrageous and could be worth a look. Do be sure to check the best before date of the sandwiches, as they don't seem to be overly hot on this. The brown bread sandwiches in particular tend to suffer from 'gas staleness' where the protective atmosphere they were packaged in makes the bread go a bit hard. Apart from this they're not a bad option but if you want really fresh sandwiches then go to Pret (co-incidentally now 30% McPret). There's just one fly in this seemingly perfect ointment: the coffee. It just simply isn't very good. That's all there is to it really. They're a coffee bar (supposedly) and the coffee isn't very good. Oh dear. It is such an elemental failing that you would think they'd have it fixed by now but no, they still persist in trying to pass off water as coffee. Whilst this may have worked for Jesus, few people suggest that McDonalds is divine, so we have to look at why this is the case. It could be one of many inter-related factors: They may have the temperature of their water too high or too low. Their staff-training program could be very bad. They may buy some really bad beans. Their washing up liquid
could be extra strong. I don't know, but it isn't as isolated occurrence. This happens consistently in all of their branches to such an extent that I now actively avoid them. This coffee disaster has nothing to do with their cheerful and charming staff who are happy to replace your coffee and have another go, unfortunately it makes no difference. Their coffee isn't very good. That's all there is too it. In fact I would almost go as far as to prefer the filter stuff which you can get in McDonalds (it's a lot cheaper for one) to it. As most coffee shops seem to these days they have a complimentary range of tea and coffee instruments. So far, so usual. However with Aroma the twist is that they are really craft designs in lovely bright colours and inspired dots. These are a cut above the usual Starbucks tat and look brilliant. I've never used one so I'm not sure how practical they are but they keep the bright and fun air of the place going and look really nice. If you still want to go to one after all that (maybe you want to sample how truly awful it is for yourself) I'll tell you where you can find them. Mostly in London, as unfortunately almost all coffee bars are. There they do have some very good locations. In fact their branch in the London transport museum is really quite fun (so long as you avoid the coffee). If you want to have a look at it online then please look at the webcam at www.ltmuseum.co.uk. They do have some branches elsewhere and they're opening more all the time. They're not easy to miss in their bright yellow and blue livery so pop in if you do spot one: have a soup and maybe a smoothie, but please, stay off the coffee.
Sometimes i wonder how branches of certain food and drink establishments stay open for so long. Perhaps its because, irrespective of how bad they are they are in the right location enough to attract an unassuming crowd of people. Have have been into Aroma nine times in my life so far, dragged in by other members of my family much against my wishes, but with no better choice for a place to go and drink/eat, forced in kicking and screaming. Aroma is not a place i would overall recommend to people who drink and eat a lot at coffee bars such as Starbucks, Coffee Republic, Caffe Nero, Costa Coffee... etc, the list is endless. I don't want to criticise Aroma tooo much, because it will give you a bad impression of the place, but let me say: that id i ever had a second choice of a coffee bar nearby i would always go to the other place, without a doubt. THE COFFEE ---]> Given the price of the coffee, i would expect it to be at least on par with other places serving the same beverages. However, this isnt the case. Every time i have been to Aroma, the quality of the coffee has been uniformly bad. I find it often to be simply to watery, as if the grains have been washed through too many times. Also, the bean that they use is so dubious, that it makes the coffee, in my opinion, taste like dirt. The last time i ended up at Aroma the cappucino they served to me was so watery and weak that no amount of sugar would have improved it, when i demanded a replacement it was the same taste. The price for a cup starts at around £1.50 and goes up in size. Aroma serves a wide variety of beverages including tea, coffee and soft drinks THE FOOD ---]> The food I found to be much the same. The croissanterie that i ate had a rubbery consistency. These days i don't think it is that hard to find a good quality cooked croissant. Even in Delice de France where the croissants are frozen were the croi
ssants better!!! All i can say is that Aroma must gets its French cusine from an English Supplier. Prices for food sandwiches etc. start at about £1.00 and range upwards. Foodwise Aroma also sells a range of sandwiches, sweets and treats.. OVERALL CONCLUSION ---]> In my opinion Aroma is nothing to write home about and with the number and selection of coffee bars growing everywhere it would be easier to find a much nicer joint with better coffee, better food and more atmosphere than you can shake a stick at, than to find an Aroma. Aroma is too sterile, sub-standard and brightly interior designed for it to be much of a real quality coffee joint.