17 February 2012

Has your child had her "babyccino" today ?

It's all the rage in Brooklyn...
Brooklyn’s obsessive coffee culture is rubbing off on the borough’s youngest cafe-goers, with tots ditching their bottles and juice boxes in favor of “babyccinos” — mini decaf cappuccinos or frothy cups of steamed milk and foam.

Moms and dads in neighborhoods like Park Slope, Fort Greene and Prospect Heights are ordering the small, foamy, surprisingly grown-up beverages for their pint-sized offspring. And the kids are asking for refills.

“Our children love babyccinos!” said Eric Worcester, who ordered the milk-only variety for his kids, Evelyn, 5, and Shirley, 2...

Babyccino is hardly a scientific term, with some shops and customers using the word to describe a macchiato-like beverage featuring a shot of decaf espresso topped with steamed milk and froth, while others use it to describe steamed milk with foam on top and a touch of cinnamon. Baristas around the borough say they get requests for both versions of the drink.
The trend started in Australia about a decade ago with milk-only babyccinos and quickly became the bane of many a barista’s existence, according to Aussie coffee expert Paul Caligiore.

“They interrupt workflow, create milk wastage and can be served at a dangerous temperature to a vulnerable consumer,” said Caligiore, who despite his misgivings about the drink plans to begin selling the world’s first instant babyccino. “Babyccinos have become so popular in Australia it would be difficult to find a cafe that doesn’t have them on their menu.

The trend spread to England and the internet, with YouTube serving as a popular repository of videos of parents making the beverage for their kids. Fans of babyccinos say the drink’s popularity has surged in Brooklyn over the last few months...
The rest of the story is at The Brooklyn Paper, via New York magazine.

Photo credit Community Newspaper Group / Eli Rosenberg.


  1. Aw, we used to make tiny drinks for kids when I worked at Caribou. We used the wee one-shot to-go cups, and would put in steamed warm milk and just a little bit of a flavor shot if the parents said it was okay(usually strawberry). We never charged for them, though. It was just fun to watch the kids drink 'em.

    I had one favorite kid: a toddler who would get all frantic-eyed and run for the cup, grab it with both hands, then dramatically take a deep sip. He would then roll his eyes back in his head and go "aahhhhhh!!" Apparently he'd been paying close attention to Mom's first cup of coffee in the morning.

  2. Well, the quote from Paul Caligiore is nonsense ... I live in Australia and have never seen such a thing on any menu anywhere. Never heard of them before. Maybe he's extrapolating to the whole country the fashions of his hometown.

  3. Here in the Uk they do them at Pizza Express restaurants (http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4092/5046867015_1e9741b6be.jpg) - call them bambinoccino.

  4. Bah! Humbug! What ever happened to a cuppa joe?

  5. Never heard of them?? My girls (eldest is 15) have been having these, known here as fluffies, since they were first drinking from cups. They then graduate to hot chocolate, along with the occasional mocchacino, and now iced chocolate (which has made a come back onto cafe menus along with frappes).
    The baby/ child accompanying mum at cafes is extremely normal here. Especially since the introduction of McCafe.

  6. doesn't decaf still have caffeine in it?

    Just not much...

  7. I wouldn't trust a cafe to serve a child a decaf - yes decaf is often less caff not no caff, and anyway, what if they seved full caff by mistake? As Kathryn says, here in NZ a Fluffy is served everywhere, usually for $1 or $1.50. It's just a cup of frothed milk fluff, often with chocolate powder sprinked on top and served with a marshmallow on the side. The whole point is that as a parent, you can sit and have 5 mins peace with a real coffee and the paper...

  8. We used to do the frothy milk at a daycare I worked at. Just warm it to get the chill out, pour a tiny bit in a cup, cover it and shake the living hell out of it. No flavoring needed, they just liked that it was frothy.


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