No sugar in my cafe?


(Mark Krause) #1

Looking for feedback from other cafe owners or patrons. Has anyone tried, or been to a cafe, that does not have sugar as a condiment (or even any syrups)? The concept is to help folks learn/enjoy the actual taste of coffee and not the sugar. Thoughts?


(Adam Sepe) #2

Hmm, although I totally agree with you on principle, do you think that such a policy might read as condescending? Most of my customers seem to prefer sweetened coffee drinks.


(Adam Sepe) #3

Perhaps you could write on a blackboard something along the lines of ‘Pro Tip: drinking our coffee black will help you better experience the unique quality of each batch’.


(Mark Krause) #4

That’s a pretty cool idea. I know just telling people “we don’t have sugar” makes one sound jerk-ish.


(Izak Filmalter) #5

Handsome Coffee in LA way back in the day before Blue Bottle bought them did no sugar. They actually had a bunch of negative reviews because of it, but it was great to see a shop actually put their values forward.


(John) #6

I like Whiskey. I like Old Fashioneds. If I walked into a bar that didn’t have syrup because of their “values”, I’d say, good luck competing in the marketplace.


(Paul Giesenhagen) #7

It is your place you can do as you wish - my wife likes a bit of honey in her drinks. Many folks like a little extra sweetness it doesn’t make them wrong. I think the “Pro Tip” idea is great. Don’t force people to like it your way BUT if you do no worries either. But I presume if you have to ask then you probably shouldn’t remove it.


(Steve S) #8

Is your target market coffee nerds or the rest of us normal people. Are you in business to provide great customer service to people while sharing great coffee of is your intent to alienate people. People usually will try new things, but on their timeline. Welcome all coffee lovers. Just because someone likes sugar, milk… doesn’t mean they are wrong and should be considered with the unwashed masses.


(Becca Woodard) #9

I agree with most of the above, getting rid of sugar entirely is likely to be problematic. I’ve found that a lot of people will just dump sugar in their specialty coffee not realizing it tastes way better black than Dunkin or Starbucks does so they never even try it black. My usual line is “I would suggest trying it black before adding anything to it. Our coffee is roasted on the lighter side, so you might not need as much cream and sugar as you usually use.” Even if they still add stuff to it at that point they might be more cognizant of what they are actually drinking and might put less sugar in next time.


(William) #10

This is funny because many years ago when I was in HS, I was always drinking coffee with lots of sugar and drinking those 3 in 1 instant coffee from Nestle…now that I have fully evolved into drinking specialty coffee, adding sugar is like a Sin for me. However, I personally wouldn’t agree adding sugar, but for the sake of customers it is a must. Coffee shops in Thailand mostly just give a bag of sugar to the customers and leave it to us to add it or not…but here’s the thing, if people don’t really care or don’t bother to realize the value of organic specialty coffee why serve it to them since they’ll only dump sugar and milk into it? Might as well just fill their cups up with cheap coffee and charge it cheaper compare to the actual good stuff…I guess this is why its important for Barista’s today to share their knowledge of specialty coffee which makes it a challenge because not only do they have to make the beverage but also interact with customers.


(Adam Sepe) #11

What’s more, we also have to do it in a way which does offend them through expressing our judgement on their preferences or sensibilities. In these conversations, we need to walk the narrow line between discussion and pedantry.


(luke rice) #12

Cat and cloud coffee podcast is an excellent podcast. I listen to every week. One podcast that Chris Baca did was called “converting consumers to specialty.” In the podcast Baca says they had a guest come in for like a couple of years that got the largest drip coffee he could get everyday and he would dump cream and sugar into it. One day he just asked Baca what the deal with the espresso is. He explained it to him and now this guy, that dumped cream and sugar in his coffee, has a espresso machine at his house. On one of Baca’s blogs he goes to this guys house and the guy drinks 4 or 5 espresso’s a day. So, my opinion on this is that we shouldn’t judge people for using cream and sugar. If they want to become a coffee nerd and drink black coffee they will probably ask about it and get into it themselves. If they don’t you have a regular customer that drinks your coffee and doesn’t feel judged for how they drink their coffee.


(Stevie Hutton) #13

Its a dream you can have, but its commercially a bad decision. I toyed with ideas such as not serving decaf and any limitations you put on your business will limit its success. For example if a group of 4 comes in and just one of them wants sugar, or decaf - it can ruin the entire experience for the whole group…


(John) #14

Why should anyone ever feel judged for their taste preference, anyway? Why would anyone judge what someone finds tasty? I don’t like mayo on a sandwich but don’t judge others who do. I think steak is best rare but don’t judge people who think medium is better. Some people think whiskey should be peaty, others prefer a strong rye. The idea that anything should taste a certain way is absurd and not offering sugar to people who enjoy a sweet tasting drink is nothing but pretentious.


(nicolas) #15

@JDR preach! it would lunacy to ban salt and pepper from a restaurant because the chef thinks everything is perfectly seasoned