Black Coffee with Sugar

Barnhart barnhart at HIGHLANDS.COM
Tue Feb 17 16:07:38 UTC 2004

Do people in Chicago still ask for coffee "regular" (meaning no milk or
sugar)?  If so, how do they ask for black with sugar?

David Barnhart
barnhart at

American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> writes:
>---------------------- Information from the mail header
>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
>Subject:      Re: Black Coffee with Sugar
>At 10:04 AM -0500 2/17/04, Alice Faber wrote:
>>Benjamin Barrett said:
>>>The editors of the dictionary I'm working on have a dictionary citation
>>>saying that black coffee can have sugar in it. I disagree, but several
>>>online definitions I found say only that whitener isn't used, leaving
>me to
>>>wonder if sugar can be.
>>>Does anyone say black coffee to mean with sugar?
>>Well, I don't normally put sugar in brewed coffee (just in espresso),
>>but it doesn't sound at all odd for me to order "black coffee, no
>I should add that it really does depend on the context.  If someone
>calls and asks me to answer a survey question on how I drink my
>coffee, I'd have to say "black with sugar", since "black" in that
>context would implicate no sugar.  But if the Starbucks guy asks
>whether I want my coffee black, I'd just say yes.  In fact, as I was
>just reminded (I was in Seattle this weekend, where they presumably
>are experts on this), what you get asked is whether they should leave
>room for cream. Complicated, these isocafs.

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