Lisa Dempster has written an excellent article on I eat I drink I work exploring the intricacies of the coffee surcharge, from decaf to mocha to - the main interest of this writer - soy milk. I have always hated but accepted with grumpy surliness the soy surcharge imposed by almost every coffee shop, but Lisa's interviews with various coffee vendors has shown that soy really does cost extra, and despite the call that the extra cost should be averaged out over all beverages, the imperative of the business owner to, you know, make a proft from their business makes an end to the soycharge (ha!) unlikely.
But what really grabbed me was a comment on Lisa's blog that some Melbourne coffee shops have taken to placing a surcharge on, or even refusing to use, KeepCups.
I love KeepCups. They're well designed, they're environmentally loving, they're cute, they'r easy to clean, and they have really caught on with consumers. And what's more, they save the vendor money in not using a disposable cup and not costing them washing up resources. Big shout out here to my regular coffee vendors, Espresso Depot at 1 Collins Street, who after noticing my KeepCup got really excited and started selling the cups themselves.
I was outraged to hear that some businesses aren't behind the BYO cup surge sweeping the city. But I was even more shocked to experience not hours later my own instance of KeepCup Prejudice!
I went to a team meeting at - name and shame! - City Wine Bar on Spring Street. I asked for my coffee to be put in my KeepCup so I could take it away in case I didn't finish it. I can only surmise that the City Wine Bar's cultivated European atmosphere would be offended by the interloping plastic of my KeepCup, as I was told that store policy was to not allow KeepCups on the table - but they would do takeaways. Quelle bloody horreur!
I kept my KeepCup on the table throughout the meeting - empty, but who was to know? - for over an hour. No staff member asked me to put it away. No uber-too-cool-for-school trendoids fainted. No coiffeured besuited ladies sniffed. No one spat. And then I left, having bought nothing, to go and get my coffee on my way back to the office from the place I like best.
In Grade 4 my teacher banned the phrase "I don't get it" from his classroom. But I don't. There's nothing particularly nice about 100-washes old glass tumblers (and if you Snobaristas think that my coffee will just taste better in one, then leave that to me to decide). There's certainly nothing nice about single use cardboard cups. If you want to impose an aesthetic standard, then start with banning skinny jeans that reveal circumcision status and faux-Rihanna mohawks.
So get on board. Bringing your own cup is sensible, less costly to the vendor, promoting environmentally sustainable choices, and just doing your bit.
*Disclaimer: I have two KeepCups (Small: white with chocolate trim, light mushroom lid and matt chocolate plug. Medium: white with light green trim, dark mushroom lid and chocolate plug). My sister has two (One medium like mine. One medium: white with fuschia trim, chocolate lid and aqua plug). Buzz has one (Medium: black with chocolate trim, black lid, chocolate plug). Toby has Darth Vader (Black. Just black). Lots of people have them. Speed up.