Are Snobby Coffee Rules Made to Be Broken?


It’s easy to roll one’s eyes at some of the serious — a/k/a “third-wave” — coffee bars in this town. The New York Post today rounds up some of the major no-nos certain high-end coffee shops simply will not tolerate. Like, espresso to go. Or grinding fresh-roasted beans. Of course, New York needs the kind of uncompromising java extremists such places breed in order to push the rest of us to aspire to better caffeination. But when does coffee snobbery go too far?

RBC NY doesn’t allow you to take espresso to go. Ninth Street Espresso, on the other hand, has softened on this rule because so many people reacted negatively — in some cases, violently. Verdict? If you can’t take 10 minutes out of your day to enjoy four sips of hot liquid in one place, you should probably be grateful someone is forcing you to stay put.

Abraço refuses to stock soy milk, or anything other than whole, for several reasons, including lack of space. So, what happens if you’re lactose intolerant? No cortado for you! Verdict? This injustice deprives poor vegans of just one more of life’s pleasures. So, yeah, thumbs down.

Don’t even think of asking Blue Bottle to grind your coffee. They’ll sell you beans and they’ll sell you a grinder, but they won’t sell you ground coffee. Experts say coffee starts losing its freshness about 45 seconds after it’s ground. So, what do we think? This is strict but fair. Sometimes you need a little tough love, even from your local barista. Alec Baldwin’s local Starbucks notwithstanding.