Health and Safety ruined my cappuccino!

Please don't spoil my frothy chocolatey-ness!
Please don’t spoil my frothy chocolatey-ness!

So after a difficult day of doing this and that, I decided my little brain needed some rest and relaxation. I went to one of my regular coffee shops and when my turn came I order a decaf cappuccino to take away.

I waited with eager anticipation while the male barista (official name for the bloke or lady who makes the coffee) serving me got the decaf coffee ready from one of those decaf coffee tea bag things, and then he did the skooshy milk thing to get that ready. Lovely.

He gets the take away cup, pours in the coffee, then pours in the milk, leaving lots of lovely frothed up milk at the top. Even more lovely.

Then the icing on the cake, the strawberry on the cream bun, the chocolate on the froth, so to speak.

“Chocolate sprinkles sir?”

Why yes thanks, don’t mind if I do, or equally, “Yes please.”

Of course, a cappuccino is all about that lovely sprinkling of chocolate on the top of the lovely frothy milk so when you drink it you get that nice chocolatey taste before the milky coffee hits your mouth and all is well with the world, for awhile anyway.

The barista sprinkles some chocolate on top. The masterpiece is finished, my anticipation about to be satisfied. Then disaster strikes.

He reaches for a lid for the take away cup.

“I don’t need a lid thanks.” I say, ready to reach for the cup.

But he is still in mid ‘reaching for lid’ stage.

I say again, “It’s okay I don’t need a lid thanks, it’s fine as it is.” I have my reasons, from experience, for not wanting a lid.

The barista, take away cup lid still in his hand and within inches of the cup, says, “Sorry sir, health and safety, we have to put lids on take away cups so it has a lid till you leave the shop.”

I am momentarily speechless at this news. I am equally horrified as plonk, the lid is put on the coffee and the damage is done.

I take the coffee and quickly walk to the little desk with the sugars, stirrers etc. Maybe I can carry out some emergency surgery if I act quickly enough. I put the coffee down and remove the lid.

No! I don't wanna lid!
No! I don’t wanna lid!

Aaargh! Damage already done. The lovely sprinkled bits of chocolate which had rested happily on the frothy milk are now stuck and smudged against the underside of the lid. This has the depressing effect of rendering the previously lovely chocolate frothed surface of the cappuccino, null and void. The chocolate is no longer there, at least not enough to matter, now being stuck to the underside of the lid, and the frothed milk has something akin to a big crater in it, losing its nice shape.

This is my problem with lids on take away cappuccino coffee cups. It’s pointless the barista putting frothy milk on the surface and then sprinkling chocolate on top, just to put a lid on the cup, squashing it all down and messing it all up.

Unfortunately I was so in shock at this desecration of my much anticipated cappuccino that I neglected to ask the barista exactly what Health and Safety had to do with my cappuccino?

Are they afraid I might trip and fall on the way to the door and my coffee might burn my hand and I might sue them so they insist on a lid to keep the coffee from pouring out? I won’t sue, I promise.

Are they afraid the stress of the day might have been so terrible that, having received a topless coffee, I might decide to pour it over the nearest member of the public’s head instead of drinking it, and then sue Costa for negligence and having the temerity to allow a member of the public to be standing in coffee cup pouring proximity to me?

I don’t know.

What I do know is that Health and Safety apparently means I have to get a lid on my frothy chocolatey cappuccino and therefore that same frothy chocolatey effect which I so look forward to…is smudged, destroyed, in a wanton act of Health and Safety inspired barista vandalism, rendering the barista’s previous efforts at frothy chocolate artistry, well, pointless.

I left the shop and still drank the decaf cappuccino but it wasn’t the same, the nice frothy chocolatey pattern on top was all gone. I wondered briefly what would have happened if I’d gone back over to the barista with the lid removed and the damaged froth-choc visible, and requested some more chocolate sprinkles? Would he then have insisted on re-lidding it there and then? Or could I simply have grabbed the re-chocified cappuccino before he had a chance to put another offending lid on it and run from the shop?

Perhaps next time I will see my lawyer before going to the shop (I’ll have to get a lawyer in order to see one…). I’ll then walk into Costa with a waiver, signed by me and my currently non existent lawyer, in which I promise not to sue Costa for anything which might occur in the event of me carrying a topless take away cappuccino from the counter and out of the store.

Must try that.

*Reaches for the phone book and searches for ‘cappuccino lawyers*

Thanks for reading 🙂


  1. That is awful and really makes no sense from a health or safety perspective. In the States there doesn’t seem to be that policy and we have some rather ridiculous policies. Do all of your coffee shops have to follow this strange rule?

    • I haven’t come across it in any other coffee shops, not even other branches of Costa! Then again I’ve never asked them not to put a lid on it in other branches. After thinking about it I actually wondered if the guy was just having a laugh but he did seem serious and even apologetic and I remembered that someone else from the same shop had told me the same thing a previous time. Bizarre!

      I actually thought about emailing their head office and asking them about it…then I thought that’d just be sad! Then again, I’d get a blog article out of it!

      I think I’m due a serious article soon though, get my brain cells working again.

      Thanks for comment Rebecca 🙂

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