Sugar With That Coffee? Not at Dunkin' Donuts

OK. So you don't drink Big Gulps full of sugary stuff. But did you know that your Starbucks drinks may now be censured, too?

According to Vivian Yee and Michael M. Grynbaum, NYC's "new regulations regarding coffee hinge on delicate calculations about milk, calorie and sugar ratios. As with other sugary drinks, coffee cups 16 ounces or smaller are unaffected. But unlike sodas, which will max out at 16 ounces, cups of coffee larger than 16 ounces can still be served as long as the barista adds no more than three to five packets of sugar. (The limit depends on the size of the drink.)"

Fortunately (and somewhat nonsensically), those lattes and frothy drinks (Dr. Phil calls them "hot milkshakes") will be exempt, because they are 50% milk and the NYC rules don't apply to them.

“This will have no impact on a large cup of joe, unless more than four packets of sugar are added,” Samantha Levine, a city spokeswoman, told Yee and Grynbaum. “Real sweet tooths who want even more sugar can pour in as much as they like themselves.” 

And what about those food establishments that choose to eliminate sugar completely from their drinks?  Dunkin’ Donuts and McDonald’s will no longer add sugar, even to coffee, Yee and Grynbaum report. "Customers will have to add the sugar themselves, from a condiment stand in Dunkin’ locations and with packets on the side at McDonald’s," they write.

But you're not entirely off the hook at Starbucks if you like a grande beverage, which is 16 ounces; venti sizes and above will be affected, according to Yee and Grynbaum. "Many popular espresso drinks at Starbucks, like caramel macchiatos and pumpkin spice lattes, would be exempt from the restrictions, because they often contain a lot of milk. But Starbucks is unsure how to measure the milk content of the popular Frappuccinos, which are about 60 percent ice."

So expect some confusion and longer waits at your local coffee emporium for a while.  Then there are the lucky ducks like me, who can avoidit all, because we just drink tea!


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