Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock

The beverage and snack guide to decoding a manager

Green tea, coconut water or coffee: beverages and snacks offered to a visitor in an office can speak volumes about the person on the other side

There was a time, now in the distant past, when managers would offer their guests a cup of milky tea and biscuits. In most cases, guests did not have a choice. In today’s new-age offices, all this has changed dramatically. The range of snacks and beverages on offer is amazingly diverse. In fact, you can classify managers by what they serve you when you visit their offices. 

Coffee Connoisseur

This connoisseur manager believes that fine coffee and tea, like fine wine, are beautiful stories to be sipped and appreciated in their own right. She (or he) is, of course, keen to play a role in such evangelization. So he will offer you a choice between espresso, cappuccino and monsoon Malabar fresh-brewed coffee. Or between matcha, redbush tea and first flush Darjeeling. You need to brush up on your beverage vocabulary before visiting this connoisseur, else you may end up ordering the wrong cup for yourself. 

Green Tea Manager

This fitness-conscious manager will offer you tea and coffee, but he will then nudge you to drink green tea. “Green tea is most healthy for the heart," he is likely to say, “and you can have it without milk and sugar, which is good for you." If you were dreaming of a hot cup of cardamom-flavoured, sugared masala chai, this is not the place for you to get it, because this man has read that sugar is the new tobacco, and he believes in great health for one and all. 

Photo: iStockphoto
Photo: iStockphoto

Samosa Sunbae

This person believes that late-evening meetings must be accompanied by greasy samosas, with mint chutney by the side. And washed down with hot tea or coffee. Unfortunately, this species of manager is fast disappearing in a fitness-obsessed world. Therefore, you must encourage the residual members of this clan by appreciating the samosa or kachori offered, and even asking shamelessly for a refill. 

Protein Dude

A number of executives have now concluded, rightly or wrongly, that they need lots of protein to survive the hectic pace of the corporate world. These protein dudes typically tend to be fitness freaks, with aspirations of a well-toned body. They are known to serve their visitors (and themselves) various types of nuts because these are high in protein. The problem with nuts is that you really cannot stop eating them, so it is important that you push these addictive bowls far away after a brief while. Also, eat only one at a time, and slowly, notwithstanding the temptation to munch quickly on multiple nuts together. 

The Natural Yogi

He (or she) believes in the power of natural ingredients, and abhors everything that is processed or synthetic. Therefore, she is totally unlikely to serve you carbonated soft drinks, or even cookies with added processed sugar. So what can you expect from this well-intentioned yogi? Coconut water, fresh sugar-cane juice, kokum juice are interesting possibilities. Once, on a visit to a large corporation in China, I sat in a long 5-hour meeting with an all-natural Chinese yogi and his team, munching exclusively on a wide range of fruits, and drinking fresh jasmine-flavoured green tea that was constantly refilled. I must say this was a refreshing change, because 5 hours with cookies would have been impossible.

Photo: iStockphoto
Photo: iStockphoto

Local Hero

This is a son-of-the-soil manager, who believes his guests should eat and drink local specialities to celebrate the cuisine of the land. So, in Mumbai, he will offer you vada pav and cutting chai. In Chennai, handmade murukkus and filter coffee. In Bengaluru, there is the possibility of mini rava idlis and Mysore pak. In Delhi, who knows, but be very careful. 

Harish Bhat works with the Tata group. He always offers his visitors a cool glass of water, and he wishes that ice cream was served more often in corporate offices.