Coming Soon to NYC: Major Coffee Headache

Ban on big sugary drinks will hit some coffee drinkers
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 7, 2013 10:20 AM CST
Coming Soon to NYC: Major Coffee Headache
Dunkin Donuts won't add sugar to huge coffees anymore.   (?)

Mayor Bloomberg's ban on hulking sugary drinks kicks in on Tuesday, and some of the effects are pretty obvious: sayonara, big Big Gulp. But the New York Times today takes a look at an effect that sounds like a seriously annoying headache. The ban may make ordering coffee a more DIY experience, as the new regulations outline "delicate calculations" regarding the permissible ratio of milk, sugar, and calories. Order a coffee that's larger than 16 ounces, and the barista won't be allowed to add in more than three to five sugar packets (the number depends on the coffee's size). Want more, and you'll have to pour it in yourself.

But if you order a latte, you're in the clear (drinks that are more than 50% milk are apparently nutritious, and therefore exempt); ditto if you add Splenda or any other no-calorie sweetener. A rep for the city doesn't see the issue. "This will have no impact on a large cup of joe, unless more than four packets of sugar are added," she explains. But as the Times reports, some sellers aren't going to even bother finding the right sugar-milk ratio: Dunkin' Donuts and McDonald's will just stop adding sugar to big coffees altogether. As for how this will affect venti Frappuccinos, Starbucks isn't quite sure yet: It's holding off on making any immediate changes until it sees how city inspectors react, and how a pending lawsuit plays out. (Read more Dunkin' Donuts stories.)

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