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Coffee house charges me large but serves me medium

July 26, 2016
Yhe medium-size mug my large lattes have been served in for years beside a large paper cup showing the coffee i've been losing.

The medium-size mug my large lattes have been served in for years beside a large paper cup showing the coffee I’ve been losing.

Here’s a fun fact that I’ve discovered about enjoying specialty coffees in my “favourite” coffee house in Vancouver—having my coffee served in a mug, rather than in a disposable paper cup not only reduces the waste that I produce but it can also significantly reduce the amount of coffee that I get to enjoy.

Hopefully this doesn’t happen your favourite coffee house but you should still be aware that it can happen.

At the Waves Coffee House that I frequent on West Broadway Avenue and Spruce Street, it turns out that—perhaps for years—when I’ve gotten my large coffee in a branded “Waves” ceramic mug, I’ve often been getting nearly a quarter-less coffee than if I had asked for it in a paper takeaway cup.

This became apparent when I ordered a second large latte and received it in a paper takeaway cup. I was surprised to find that I couldn’t pour the entire paper cup’s-worth of latte into the empty mug which the first large latte came in. When the mug was full to the rim there was still something like an inch-worth of latte in the paper cup.

Right off the bat, I couldn’t say if it was a case of the large paper cup holding too much or the ceramic mug holding too little. All I knew was there seemed to be a discrepancy between the two of nearly 4 oz (118 ml) in favour of the paper cup.

As the listed volume of a Waves large coffee is 16 oz (473 ml) and a medium is 12 oz (118 ml), or 4 oz less, I had to wonder if perhaps my large lattes were being poured in medium-size mugs.

And guess what?

After poking around the counter and looking closely at the fresh mugs atop the espresso machine I could see that there were many of the size that I had received, mixed arbitrarily together with a few larger ones.

When I brought this fact to the attention of the owner, she listened, paused and then readily acknowledged that I had been given the wrong mug size. She then made a show of telling the two baristas on shift that there were both medium and large mugs—a fact they had to learn sooner or later, right?

And she offered me a free drip coffee!

Hopefully this lackadaisical approach to portion control is unique to this particular Wave location, which, I should say is not what it once was.

Right into 2014 this Waves enjoyed a stable workforce of cheerful and super-capable staff. Since then, however, franchisees have changed at least once and there is now a steady turnover of staff.

I want to be loyal to this businesses, which I’ve frequented since it first opened over a decade ago but I may have reached my limit.

Knowing that this Waves has been—potentially, at least—short-serving me for years, is very disappointing. And the fact that it appears to be up to me to be on my guard against it happening in the future is more than  ridiculous! It reminds me that there are other coffee houses (every couple of blocks) to choose from in Fairview.

Anyway, I can’t say that this mistake is being made in any other coffee houses and I hope that it isn’t. It would be quite easy to avoid actually. All that’s required is to keep the clean mugs clearly separated by size, something that the Waves at Broadway and Spruce doesn’t appear to be doing. Click the images to enlarge them.

. Click the image to enlarge.

From → Fairview, food

  1. Johnny Lightning permalink

    Nice article, and ya, Fck Em and move on to another coffeehouse. Change is needed now and again.


    • I’m the kind of systematic person who—seeing as the cups are stored upside-down—would neatly mark the base of every cup, either with an indelible black “S”, “M”, “L”, or big colour dots, in order to indicate size at a glance.


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