Coffee for Kids? Meet Babyccinos, the New Brooklyn Beverage Craze

February 17, 2012

Today's New York Post covers a controversial new beverage craze in Brooklyn: babyccinos, or decaffeinated cappuccinos and small cups of steamed milk meant for toddlers and children. "A lot of kids come in here with their parents after school and actually ask for the decaf babyccino by name," said Natalie Ekberg, a barista at the Root Hill coffee shop in Gowanus.

"They just really like the taste of coffee," said parent Barbara Albinus of her children, who are ages 6 and 9. "I drink coffee every day of the year, so they like it too. I only let them have it once in a while. They're already jumping off the walls [anyway]."

Should kids be allowed to consume even decaffeinated coffee? And are parents who buy their children babyccinos training them to prefer fancy coffee drinks as young adults?

Image Sources:



Bex's picture

Capialism gone mad. Coffee makes uinsqne, wrecks your adrenal glands

Jan's picture

...and your spelling too, apparently.

David Hicks's picture

it's cute but def not a good habit to give to a toddler. decaffeinated beverages still contain caffeine and the process of removing caffeine uses chemicals...delicious ingredients such as methylene chloride and ethyl acetate, my mouth waters just thinking about them.
if you go to a coffee shop what's wrong with giving your kid steamed milk, a hot cocoa or make up some other drink that doesn't contain high amounts of sugar or caffeine. children like to mimic, that's how they learn, they just want to feel a part of the group. if you give a toddler steamed milk and say "this is mommy's drink" do you think they are going to call you out on that? they have imaginary tea parties without tea. i'm pretty sure a responsible parent can say no to coffee.

Naomi Most's picture

As much as I would like to consider this practice harmless, it's not.

Decaffeinated beans still contain *several* stimulants: a trace amount of caffeine, yes, but also a dose of cholinomimetics, a relatively less-well-known but potent class of stimulants.

In the GI tracts of the very young, stimulant compounds have the potential to disrupt the timing of digestion, which can have unpredictable and potentially long-term ill effects.

Decaf beans are also high in aflatoxins from mold, because during the decaffeination process the beans are left to sit wet for an extended period of time. And caffeine is anti-fungal, so the bean's natural defense against mold is effectively taken away.

I like what David Hicks says (above comment). Kids are just imitating the "feel" of what the big people are doing around them.

The fact that kids like the taste of coffee means nothing. Don't give it to them for a few days and they'll forget all about it. They want to share the ritual with their parents; they won't care that it's steamed milk.