Pro Tip: Add Milk to Your Coffee Cup Before Adding Coffee

updated Apr 30, 2019
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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

The world consumes more than 500 billion cups of coffee a year on average. (Yes, that’s billion with a “B.”) After hearing that, you may be surprised to learn that coffee consumption is only on the rise, particularly in America, growing from 57% in 2016 to 64% of American adults last year. And, even with America’s preponderance of Starbucks, we don’t even rate in the top 20 when it comes to coffee consumption by country. (We’re 26th; Finland is first.)

No matter the location, there are a lot of dirty spoons that result with all that java chugging because most people add a modifier to their coffee. And if you add just milk or cream to your coffee, one guy has a tip that might change the course of your evening dishwashing load forever.

Yesterday Steve Rousseau of Digg related the way he makes his coffee every morning, which might prove a little less wasteful than the way you do it: by putting the cream in his coffee first. It’s a simple tip — albeit a little weird — but Rousseau says it’ll ultimately save you an extra step in the morning.

“As you are all seasoned coffee drinkers, you know that normally you pour the coffee and then pour a little cream in and then stir it up, and if you feel like you need some more you can pour some more and so on,” Rousseau says. “But if you pour the cream in first and then add the coffee, everything stirs itself. You don’t have to get a spoon dirty or find a place to throw out a stirrer. Brew your coffee. Find a mug. Pour a little cream into the mug. Pour coffee into the mug. Hey, look at that, your coffee is already stirred and ready to drink.”

Now, for those of us who only take cream in our coffee at home or at the office (since this tip wouldn’t really work at Starbucks, considering they give you the coffee already in a cup before you can add cream to it) this is a great idea, considering that 40 billion individual plastic utensils are produced each year, and a big chunk of those could be saved from unnecessary uses.

The Only Problem With This Coffee Tip

There’s one little problem with this technique: It doesn’t work if you take sugar in your coffee. Full disclosure, every day I add a teaspoon (or four) to a nice big mug of Cafe Bustelo. Then I also add cream.

Consulting the data, I’m not the exception, I’m the rule: 67% of Americans who drink coffee add a caloric creamer, sweetener, or grain sugar into their coffee. This might be why you see so many articles from black coffee enthusiasts complaining about how annoyed they are that folks transform coffee into breakfast dessert drinks. Because most of us do. And that’s why like tips like these, for the most part, don’t apply to most people.

Luckily, I work remotely so I don’t use disposable utensils often at all anymore, especially when it comes to coffee. But if you want to keep from adding to the landfills at work or elsewhere, might I suggest something extremely green-minded? Just keep a special reusable spoon with your coffee mug at work, so when you have coffee throughout the day, it doesn’t come with a teaspoon of guilt.