Black Coffee with Sugar

Grant Barrett gbarrett at WORLDNEWYORK.ORG
Tue Feb 17 19:04:09 UTC 2004

On Feb 17, 2004, at 12:02, Peter A. McGraw wrote:
> I seem to be in a minority here.  I drink coffee with sugar only and
> would
> never describe it as "black."  I've always thought of "black" as
> indicating
> nothing but the coffee.  Lots of people drink it this way, including
> most
> people I ever seem to have as guests in my home.

For me, black coffee is the same thing, with or without sugar.
Non-black coffee has milk. Sugar doesn't change the color. So "black
with sugar" is entirely normal. It's still black after the sugar.

New York City is a great testing lab for this, given the varied roots
of its citizens, the large sample sizes possible, and the preference
for stimulants. I tend to drink my coffee black with sugar, when I
drink it, and it wasn't long after I arrived here eleven years ago that
I noticed discrepancies in what constitutes a "regular" coffee and what
constitutes a "black" coffee. This is in diners and restaurants, and
from the bagel-and-donut vendors. I've been keeping mental note of the

A regular coffee is any of these, in rough order of frequency:
--caffeinated coffee with whitener and two sugars
--caffeinated coffee with whitener and one sugar
--caffeinated coffee with whitener
--nothing but caffeinated coffee

A black coffee is, in rough order of frequency:
--nothing but caffeinated coffee
--caffeinated coffee with sugar
--caffeinated coffee with room at the top so you can add your own

The fun part is where the "black" and "regular" coffees overlap.


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