This is a random little rant – feel free to pass it over if that’s not your thing..
I am one of those weirdos that takes his own mug to the coffee shop, to avoid the wastage of a paper cup.
A life-cycle analysis of a paper cup vs. a porcelain mug shows that, if the mug is used enough times, the carbon footprint is lower – so I use it as often as I can. I probably have used my mug for hundreds of coffees – and I intend to keep using it to maximise the use of the resources involved.
I’m consistently dumbfounded, though, when I turn up to a cafe with my trusty mug and one (or both) of two things happens:
- The barista takes a paper cup to put the espresso in, rather than a re-usable container. I’m bringing my mug to reduce wastage (why else would I do it?), then you go and waste the cup anyway.
- They then only half-fill the mug, or fill it and complain that it’s bigger than a normal cup. I’m saving you the $0.02 of the paper cup, you can afford to give me that $0.02 back with an extra 25-50ml of milk.
If either of these two things happen, I usually don’t go back. Even if the coffee’s good. It’s a basic attention to detail/service thing. Yes – I’m sure that I’m being picky, and probably unreasonable (there are, of course, bigger things in the world to get upset about).
But I’m sure there are lots of people like me that notice these things, and many cafes that are losing custom because of them. And many cafes get it – my favourite one charges less because I bring my own mug.
Which is a long way of saying that I won’t be returning to either of the cafes I went to today…