Baristas gripe about 'poor man's latte'

06:26 PM PDT on Tuesday, September 12, 2006
SEATTLE – In coffee crazy Seattle, a new way some customers have of saving a buck is leaving baristas a little steamed.

The so-called “poor man’s latte” has become a topic of conversation lately on, a Web site that is not run by the corporation.

The poor man’s latte is what you get when you order straight shots of espresso and then use the canister of milk on the condiments counter to turn the drink into a latte.

Krystyna Frahm has owned her own coffee shop Moka's on Fairview Avenue for two years and says usually once or twice a day she sees someone pulling a fast one.

"I just kind of look over and give people the evil eye sometimes," she said. "Usually it’s someone who wants a 20-ounce ice cup with just a double shot of espresso in it. It’s pretty obvious.”

Such customers can save up to $1.50 or more per drink, but it may cost them when it comes to karma.

Baristas concerned about the problem say they found at least one simple way to combat it: Remove the pitcher of nonfat from the counter, leaving just the half-and-half.

Frahm said the poor man's latte isn't robbing her blind, but admits it may eventually take its toll on her fully paying customers.

"Unfortunately, it’s one of those things that it could end up raising our prices because to offset the cost of people getting something for free."

And that may get everyone else just a little bit steamed.

KING 5's Deborah Feldman contributed to this report

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