Is That for Here or To Go: coffee in motion

Four Seasons Hotels announced that it will begin offering to go cups with its morning coffee service.

If there is anywhere that cups and saucers should be right at home it’s Four Seasons. The hotels are bastions of luxury and elegance, where mornings have been a time for the genteel hush of dining rooms and lobbies broken only by the sounds of crisp newspapers and the ring of spoons against fine china.

The rest of the world has always considered the to go cup to be a somewhat uncouth symbol of America’s go-go culture. Order a coffee in virtually any cafe in Europe and it is sure to be delivered in a proper cup, frequently on a tray with niceties like a glass of water and maybe a little cookie or chocolate. To go isn’t even an option for most of the world’s coffee drinkers.

To go cups have become the preferred form of coffee service for most Americans.

We might actually be planning to sit down with our coffee, but we will still order it in a to go cup.

We are comfortable with the format. We appreciate the flexibility, in motion or not. We want the warm foam of a latte oozing through the sippy lid. We like the way the coffee stays hotter, longer in a lidded cup. And if that’s not reason enough, the arcane, inconsistent patchwork of state tax codes means that coffee to go is often exempt from sales tax that is charged for coffee consumed on the premises.

Traditional cup manufacturers are recapturing market share from the disposables by recreating the to go aesthetic in permanent materials. Faux disposable cups in coffeehouse sizes are rendered in steel or porcelain. Reusable, snap-on rubber lids can turn any cup or mug into coffee to go.

For the Four Seasons Hotels, guest preferences trumped refinement, tradition, and aesthetics. Unfortunately, we already drink and discard billions of cardboard and styrofoam coffee cups each year. Let’s hopeĀ  the hotel guests also have a preferenceĀ  for recycling receptacles in the Four Seasons’ lobbies.

   this is not a paper cup 

this is also not a paper cup
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One Response to Is That for Here or To Go: coffee in motion

  1. brad says:

    Why do people adore the taste of paper so much?

    I’d go to a nice restaurant, but it’s not like I want to eat it on a paper plate with a plastic spork.

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