Nanny Bloomberg’s Big Sugary Drinks To Cause Problems With Coffee Shops


Who would have thought that Bloomberg’s rule would turn baristas into government enforcement workers?

(NY Times) Come Tuesday, when Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s ban on the sale of large sugary drinks goes into effect after months of public debate over the measure, its impact on beverages like soda will be clear: no more jumbo colas. But coffee drinkers, and those who pour them, are likely to face a thicket of complications as varied as the lattes, macchiatos and Americanos on a Starbucks menu.

Customers at Dunkin’ Donuts and McDonald’s can expect to add their own sugar packets and flavor swirls to large and larger coffees.

At other cafes, some will be given one lump, or perhaps two, in their coffees; those seeking more will need to visit the condiment stand.

Starbucks regulars will at first see no change at all, then may find a raft of them waiting one morning. Some large drinks will be affected, others not at all.

Oh, it can’t be that bad, can it?

The city’s new regulations regarding coffee hinge on delicate calculations about milk, calorie and sugar ratios. As with other sugary drinks, coffee cups 16 ounces or smaller are unaffected. But unlike sodas, which will max out at 16 ounces, cups of coffee larger than 16 ounces can still be served as long as the barista adds no more than three to five packets of sugar. (The limit depends on the size of the drink.) (snip)

None of those rules apply to drinks that are more than 50 percent milk, like lattes, because the city considers milk a valuable source of nutrition. And there is no limit to the number of Splenda, Equal and Sweet ’n Low packets a barista can pour in. (snip)

Given some coffee sellers’ uncertainty over how much sugar and milk is in their drinks, however, compliance can be a tricky game. And different companies appear to be interpreting the added-sugar rules differently, perhaps to circumvent a predictable kink in the morning-coffee routine: As baristas ponder how many packets of sugar are allowed in different cup sizes, the line of frustrated customers will no doubt grow.

Dunkin’ Donuts and McDonald’s will no longer add sugar at all. Dunkin’ is handing out fliers explaining what’s going on and have trained their workers to explain it all to customers. Some independent coffee shops have simply eliminated drinks above 16 ounces. There’s lots of confusion and angst. Starbucks is waiting for the result of the lawsuit filed against the city.

Meanwhile, as Erika Johnson points out, Bloomberg’s next target is loud music from using ear buds. This will (for now) only be a public education program costing $250,000. Good thing NYC has solved all their other problems and has money to piss away.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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