Christchurch cafes called 'rude' for refusing to serve trim milk coffees
Trim milk or whole milk?
Which one you like seems more a matter of personal preference than the source of a bitter, ideological argument, but when it comes to how you take your coffee we somehow lose all perspective.
It matters. A lot.
Lyttelton Coffee Company's policy of not using trim milk drew a sharp response when it was posted on the Avenues magazine Facebook page.
"A bit rude when we are the (would-be) customers," one poster declared.
"It's really a case of delivering what the customer wants not what some barista thinks," said another.
Support for the stance was just as strong:
"Good on you guys. It's your cafe stick to your guns & keep doing what you are doing."
"Their establishment, their choice, their offering – nothing at all rude about it."
Lyttelton Coffee Company co-owner Stephen Mateer said the decision came down to taste.
"None of our staff drink trim milk and we don't drink it and we think it builds an inferior match with the product that we roast.
"The only time it's a problem is when a group comes in and one person in the group might be disappointed. I do feel that. [But] I feel more like selling something we think is a great product."
Fair enough. But isn't the customer always right?
C1 cafe owner Sam Crofskey, who has a similar no trim policy, said believing our own press is sometimes our problem.
"People do feel really strongly about it. They feel really strongly about commenting on cafes and how they do business.
"Lyttelton [Coffee Company], they do their thing. Clearly when you go in there it's a community coffee shop in a unique community. To go in there and demand it becomes something that it's not, I don't think is reasonable."
Cafe owners aren't looking for fight, Crofskey said, but sometimes get one anyway.
"People come in and they expect a bit of an argument with us about it. Like, 'Who are these hipster baristas?' We don't want to fight. It's just not a product that we sell.
"I remember when we opened after the earthquake we had customers who had our staff in tears about us not serving trim milk.
"On our first weekend when we were giving away free coffee people were yelling at us about not using trim milk. In their free coffee. It was full on."
So, much like coffee experts opting out of trim milk, we have a choice. Next time the cafe we're in doesn't offer the thing we want, we can either deliver a strongly-held opinion, or smile, and go somewhere else.