February 10, 2006
Why coffee and iced tea refills suck

This morning the team at work was in early (before 6AM) in case of problems with a power wiring upgrade. There were no problems and we all went to breakfast at Bob's Big Boy, a local coffee shop (in the pre-Starbucks coffee shop sense, meaning a restaurant that serves basic food).

Besides my hash browns, bacon, and rye toast, I also had a cup of coffee. I carefully added the proper amount of sugar, stirred and happily sipped away as we debated the fine points of HVAC design and the risk of running on split generators.

I had drank about half the cup when waitress walked by with coffee pot in hand and refilled my cup. I hate that shit.

Yes, I know she's just trying to provide good service, but to me, it's a disservice and here's why.

Note that with a fresh cup of coffee (or iced tea) you add the proper amount of sugar and/or cream (or in Sean's case, soy) and once you find that perfect combo, you can enjoy the entire cup.

When you get halfway through the cup, the coffee to sugar ratio remains correct.

Now, when a waitress pours more coffee into the cup, they have diluted the ratio and you need to add more sugar. It's not the end of the world, but at some coffee shops, they'll try to refill your cup everytime you take a sip.

The same problem occurs with iced tea, and it's even worse. With hot coffee, the sugar dissolves easily. In saner countries, they give you sugar syrup to sweeten cold liquids, but here in the good ole USA, you get granulated sugar. Dissolving granulated sugar is a pain and requires much stirring to accomplish properly. The last thing you want is to spend more time re-sugaring and stirring your iced tea everytime the waiter walks by and 'tops off' your iced tea.

You may be saying, "Mike, why do you worry about these things?" and I'll agree, I am a wee bit eccentric on a few select topics, but this is a problem that happens to everyone. Many just suffer in silence, drinking poorly sugared beverages.

Not surprisingly, I think I have the solution. I took an old beer coaster and drew on it a bit. The idea is to place this over the coffee cup to ward off the evil refillers.

This could be worth millions! What do you think?

Posted by michael at February 10, 2006 06:02 PM


You mean you actually drink that coffee? What sort of backwards country forces you to drink that bitter, stale, tepid black battery acid?

My advice - Find a real cafe that offers a good cappuccino, latte or espresso... ;-)

Posted by: Michael Vanderdonk [http://www.toach.net] on February 10, 2006 7:27 PM

i've never had such a problem. i drink coffee the way god intended: black. . .like my. . .oh, that's just too easy.

Posted by: mrs diggs [http://www.mrsdiggs.com] on February 10, 2006 9:22 PM

Mrs. Diggs,

That was the best comment evar.

Posted by: Michael [http://cruftbox.com] on February 10, 2006 9:58 PM

In my experience most waiters/waitresses ask first. I refuse their offer until the cup is empty. As for the sugar problem, I can't stand anything but Sweet and Low in my tea or coffee. Hot drink, cold drink, it always dissolves quickly.

Posted by: Manda [http://www.jenesaisoz.com] on February 11, 2006 2:33 AM

My son is brilliant!

Posted by: Mom [http://momonthealert.com] on February 12, 2006 2:51 AM

I'm just stunned that people drink iced tea with sugar.

Posted by: Carol [http://www.csott.com] on February 12, 2006 7:03 PM

what's coffee?

Posted by: martin [http://chokersandwich.com] on February 13, 2006 1:05 AM

Don't ask Michael, Martin. From previous postings on the subject, mister "crystals were good enough for my parents, they're good enough for me) obviously has no clue.

Posted by: BillB [http://squidly.com] on February 13, 2006 7:59 AM

On the other side of the coaster you need a "Refill Please!" so that when you drain the entire cup and are ready for another you can simply flip it over.

Posted by: Bribo [] on February 13, 2006 8:08 AM

Yay! I've had people just take my cup for no reason...and that ticks me off. If you patent it, I'll but one ASAP

Posted by: Hass [] on February 21, 2006 11:11 AM

Well, where I live, we pay for each coffee we have... I mean, for each expresso we do drink... So, such metaphysical question doesn't exist...

Posted by: tryphoon [http://www.tryphoon.com] on February 25, 2006 6:44 AM
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