Back away from the coffee, ma’am.

I am a Supertaster who loves coffee.

I’m not “supposed” to like bitter foods like coffee but I have a workaround, thanks to to the assistance of Splenda and cream.

As with most food items in my life, I am picky about how I take my coffee. I’m very much Sally from When Harry Met Sally with my preferences:

  • Has to be bold, flavorful, HOT coffee. I can count on one hand the number of restaurants I go to for their coffee.
  • I prefer my coffee in a cup and saucer at restaurants but a mug at home.
  • I have to have half ‘n half or cream in my coffee. 2% milk is barely tolerable and skim milk in coffee is so bad, I’d rather not have it at all.
  • I choose an artificial sweetener, such as Splenda (well, ONLY Splenda) to put in because it’s technically sweeter than sugar so I can use less, and it dissolves like a dream. There is no sinking of Splenda to the bottom of the cup.
  • I can drink coffee with cream and no sweetener but usually only if there is a sweet dessert present. I can’t drink black coffee, with or without sweetener. So you see what really takes precedence.
  • If the coffee cools too long, it becomes undrinkable and it goes down the sink. There is absolutely a Point of No Return with coffee temperature.


Because I am so discerning with how I doctor my coffee (ratio of cream and Splenda to coffee is of utmost importance), my biggest pet peeve when dining in a restaurant where I’m happily sipping my coffee is to have my cup refilled before I’m ready.

It really gets my hackles up to sit there enjoying my food and a waiter or waitress comes along and before I can say no, s/he gives me a “warmup” with fresh coffee, thereby completely ruining the precious, perfect combination of coffee, cream and sweetener.

<Insert slow motion “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO” here.>

Because I am a shy person who doesn’t want to bring attention to myself, I rarely speak up for myself in these instances, and my perfect cup goes to crap, forcing me to re-doctor my coffee all over again.

I’ve even pretended to be mid-sip so that the waitress will think I don’t need a refill. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. If I were a server, I would definitely wait to get a response before taking the liberty of filling up my customer’s cup.

Coffee doctoring takes precision, people! I even have pictures to prove it. Yes, I’m that person.

Polished Silver

Cold cream awaits the coffee.


Perfectly good coffee in a saucer receiving cream.

Clouds in my coffee

The cream begins to work its magic.

Coffee and spoon_NYC

The swirls of deliciousness unite.

Doesn’t that just make you want to get yourself a yummy cup of joe? It does for me. But that delicate balance of java, cream and sweetener can be ruined in a heartbeat with the addition of extra coffee before it’s consumed.

So servers, I beg of you: back away from the coffee. Wait for a “Yes, please!” before you give that warm-up.

It’s also with a heavy heart that I inform you all that the place in which I took these photos earlier this year has now closed. It’s one of the only restaurants in my town that served really wonderful hot coffee (with cold cream!) and I am sad to see it gone. R.I.P. Uncle Jack’s.


  1. I friggin love this post!! So perfect, especially the beautiful floating words of “clouds in my coffee” … I completely feel you. I am as picky as they get.

  2. Oh, that is sad news! I drink a lot of coffee, and I hate it when “helpful” wait staff warm up my cup. As if! And creaminess is so much more difficult to adjust than sweetness. Boo to that! I also enjoy mochaccino, but only if it’s not too sweet, and only if it has actual authentic chocolate syrup derived from actual authentic cocoa and actual sugar. My Canadian citizenship may be called in to question here, but the Tim Horton’s Café chain makes the worst. mocha’s. ever. End rant! 🙂

    • Um, yeah, Tim Horton’s sucks. I can vouch for that. I’m “okay” with Dunkin Donuts coffee and Starbucks has a few drinks I really like, including their mochas. But I get peeved at places that don’t know how to make a proper mocha. Hm, I feel another rant coming on. You have good coffee taste, I can tell!

  3. I only like drinking with a cup and saucer at restaurants and mugs at home too 🙂

  4. I agree with you wholeheartedly! There is a perfect cup for me, and it includes real half & half, not that awful, non-dairy, liquid glue…creamer substitute. Also, Bravo for the When Harry Met Sally mention, and I am sending Blessings, that you will eventually come out of your shyness enough to stop the over-zealous servers from unexpectedly refilling or topping-off your cup. Because you can never quite get the ideal ratio, when you had half of a perfect cup, and then they dliute your perfection with more coffee. Idiots! They wouldn’t come pour ketchup on your fries, why do they do that obnoxious coffee thing.

    By the way, “I will have the apple pie ala mode, But I’d like the pie heated and I don’t want the ice cream on top, I want it on the side, and I’d like strawberry instead of vanilla, if you have it, if not then no ice cream just whipped cream, but only if it’s real; if it’s out of the can then nothing.”

    • Hahaha I love that you put Sally’s dessert order in here! I didn’t bother looking it up but it’s just PERFECT in her delivery and pickiness. I’m working on that shyness.

      • I also love where you labeled a photo: “The swirls of deliciousness unite.”
        They say a picture paints a thousand words…Well, YOU have the outstanding photos, but you also have the 1,000 words, or sometimes just 2 (which are all that’s needed in some cases.) Next time you are in a restaurant, cafe, diner, fast food joint, bistro, elegant fine dining establishment, or anywhere…think of yourself as an amazing, world-class authoress and photographer extraordinaire who has a right to “speak up,” if they mess up your proper ratio of coffee to half & half and sweetener! Sound good?

      • Sounds good!!

  5. Kevin Schneider says:

    The warming up thing doesn’t bother me, but then I drink my coffee black.

  6. Critters and crayons says:

    Great photos… Who is your photographer? 🙂 I could talk about coffee all day…. We use a coffee press now and have become the ultimate pretentious snobs about coffee! Haha! But my husband and I both prefer our coffee black.

    • We have a French press at home but the coffeemaker I got for my birthday earlier this year is so good that we haven’t brought out the press in a while!

      As for the photos, I took those very early on when I first got my DSLR – they came in handy, didn’t they?

  7. So good to hear from another coffee “aficionado.” We (the wife and I) only use half & half, also! It’s the only way to do it. My confession: we buy the quart size h&h at “the local discount store” (aka, Wal-Mart) and in large quantities – 10-12 quarts at a time for home use. They have a long stay-fresh date for some reason.

    Here’s my tricks with the servers in restaurants:
    1) Don’t bring me the little teaspoon size plastic h&h’s that could only fill a thimble. I ask them to bring a small cream size pitcher – the kind that comes with a creamer and sugar set.
    2) I’ll sip down a couple of sips from the first coffee pour and get the balance just so with the cream.
    3) Cup #2, and subsequent cups – I will finish the first one all the way to the bottom, and with care add me just the right amount of cream in preparation for the refill. Voila! The mixture is now to my demanding specifications! Not that it matters to me. Haha.

    • We buy two or three quarts of cream because we cook with it as well as use it for coffee (although K-dawg only drinks it black). Fist bump to you, sir!

      I love your process at restaurants, by the way! I can officially state that having crappy coffee with a meal CAN ruin the entire dining out experience.

  8. I am Hooked on your Blog and am eagerly awaiting your next post.
    Zoe Says is awesome!
    Keep up the great work! Bravo!

    • Thanks, Jennifer! I’ll be working on another post in the very near future so keep your eyes peeled. Fortunately, I have tons of Archives to keep you entertained!


  1. […] fishy.” Correction: it ALWAYS tastes fishy! I don’t know if this is because I’m a supertaster or why I can’t stomach it, but both my brother and I have extremely strong aversions to fish. […]

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