In Nebraska, if you want a “black coffee” you order a “regular coffee.”

In New York, if you order a “regular coffee” you get a “coffee with milk and sugar.”

In Nebraska, if you want a “coffee with milk and sugar” you say, “I want a coffee with milk and sugar.”

In New York, if you want a “black coffee” you say, “I want a black coffee.”

This crisis in coffee culture affected a young Nebraska actress so much she left New York after a year and found success on a Los Angeles-based Soap Opera where she could order a “regular coffee” and get what she wanted.


  1. Welp, musings, as far as I understood this “coffee myth” surrounding the actress — the coffee you order in Nebraska is the same coffee you get in Los Angeles.

  2. I’ve got that whole coffee thing solved, I say, gimme a soda as I don’t drink coffee 🙂
    Of course you could expound on that alone, we southerners call Coke/Pepsi sodas. Northerners call it pop. Northerners who come down here and ask a kid if he wants a pop, they cringe and say what’d I do because pop down here means a spanking.

  3. …and none of this really matters if you go to starbucks, where the cream and sugar are self-served, so whatever you ask for, you get a black coffee. now if you want room for cream and sugar, that you have to ask for. unless, of course, they ask you first.

  4. My father used to travel in NY with two wallets. One would have old credit cards that were cancelled and a few banknotes from countries where they have bills for the equivalent of our nickels. Not that he ever needed it, but that was the one he planned on giving to robbers.
    Incidentally, the link is something I found recently and thought, ‘how horrendous! Better show David.’

  5. That is a crisis :O
    My recent crisis is that for some reason my coffee is nearly cold 1/2 way to work but when I buy a DD coffee it’s so hot I can’t drink it until I get to work. What’s a girl to do?

  6. Gordon!
    …unless you’re ordering the “Pumpkin Spice Latte” and then they make it all for you!
    Speaking of Starbucks… Janna brought home a pound of “Arabian Mocha Sanani Extra Bold” last night and boy is it good! Tiny little beans. So oily! I have the empty bag sitting here on my desk to put the aroma all around me.

  7. Gordon2 —
    Ha! I love that link! It’s just as good as
    Your father is smart! That’s the way to travel at all times. When I’m out I usually just have my ATM card and that’s it. I don’t need cash or a credit card. Debit all the way and your PIN number serves as your ID for purchase verification and if something happens to me and I need to be ID’d, the ATM card does that, too.

  8. Dead-on right! When I was living in Rhode Island for five years, every single time I ordered a regular, i got a coffee with milk and sugar – i felt like saying ‘regular according to WHO?’
    great post.

  9. I don’t drink enough coffee for a thermos but I do have one of those travel mugs that is insulated…still doesn’t work. I’m sure I’m either doing something wrong with my coffee or my coffee maker is just crap.

  10. Wendy!
    Yeah, it seems to be an East Coast thing!
    The worst thing you can do is say “whatever” because that infuriates them even more! I don’t care if I have sugar or not or white or light or anything else!
    Just give me the coffee you make and I’ll drink it! I have learned, though, in New York to say “Coffee Black, straight up” because sometimes if you say “Black coffee” you get sugar, or asked if you want sugar.
    The “straight up” seems to solve the sugar issue in the womb.

  11. Robin —
    You can a thermos in a single size! The trick is to train it first.
    Fill it with hot or cold water the temperature you want for five minutes.
    Then dump the water and fill it with what you want to keep hot or cold and the thermos will keep it at that initial training temperature and you’re good as Arabian Gold!

  12. David,
    I would think that as a vegan you’d care quite a bit what they put in your coffee. Particularly since at Starbucks and many other coffee shops you can get soy milk now for your coffee.

  13. Yes. Having grown up in the SF Bay Area, I was perplexed after ordering ‘regular’ coffee in New York and receiving a small paper cup with cream a sugar. A quick google revealed
    As a kid, I only remember people drinking black coffee. My step-father is Italian, he made espresso at home as well as very strong black coffee. When I first encountered weak, filtered coffee that was watered down further with milk and sugar I thought it was garbage. It seems like on the West Coast everyone drinks espresso with drip-coffee drinkers in the minority. However, on the East Coast coffee appears to retain a considerable following, though I have noticed more and more Starbucks cups floating around the city in the past couple years.

  14. Dear Coffee Officer Davidescu —
    Yes, now I am careful and always go with “Coffee, Black, Straight-Up” and I drink to live another day!
    I love the soy milk at Starbucks. I wish all coffee houses were so careful and thoughtful.

  15. Dave —
    I love lemons in water! I’ll take all yours. Lemons add elegance to your life and it cleans your palate while watering your throat. I think they should put lemons in coffee, too.

  16. I’ve linked the soy milk maker that I use. This bad bear pumps out nearly a pint of soy milk from a tiny cup of dry soy beans.
    Plus no sugar or vanilla added 🙂

  17. Jonathan —
    Your link didn’t come through. Just post the whole link in your message and I’ll pretty it up for you if it goes too long.
    The sign of a true New Yorker is the paper Greek coffee cup from a deli no matter how many Starbucks litter every corner:
    When you were served a “regular” coffee in New York did you send it back or did you drink it?

  18. Well said David.
    Oh and on the point of regulah coffee (as a Bostonian would say) I have never once ordered Regular since I’ve always been far too picky of a coffee drinker. I used to get Extra Extra milk and sugar but now it’s extra milk 1 equal.

  19. Here’s the “young Nebraska actress” who inspired today’s post:
    She’s fibbing a bit on her age — she’s at least three years older than me — and she grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska and attended UNL as a theatre major.
    Her “coffee crisis” is legendary in Lincoln and she did list it as a reason for “getting out of New York.”
    She uses the stage name “Crystal Carson” (after Johnny Carson) but we knew her as “Crystal Rudloff.” I guess you can see why she changed her name.

  20. Like it? I love it. I can drink coffee with just that and no sugar. 🙂 Plus when it’s hot sometimes you can steep a tea in it and it comes off with quite an interesting taste.

  21. Gordon — Love your blog! Where do you get your soy beans?
    Dave — Thanks for the lemon! I understand you don’t want flavor if you just want plain water. Makes a lot of sense. In some places in New York they now give you a slice of lemon and a wedge of lime in your water by default!

  22. Thanks for the blog props. I get all of my soy beans bulk from healthy markets. I find it hard to say health food store when they have some processed junk as well. 🙂

  23. It’s simple econonmics. A pound of soybeans costs about $1.41 and will make at least ten pints of soy milk.
    The machine I linked to also will make rice milk, almond milk, or just about any other seed or bean you put into it. I have made excellent rice milk using it – and rice is even cheaper than soy beans.

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