Is Starbucks Serving Racist Coffee Drinks?


This New York Times blog post starts out sounding like a joke: A man walks into a Starbucks. He overhears the customer ahead of him order a shocking drink -- "a black guy." A what? A few days go by and this man keeps hearing people order the same drink. "A black guy."

Finally, he asks the barista, "What's a 'black guy'?"

“It’s two shots,” he replied.

My jaw dropped. “You mean, like ...?”

“Yeah,” Frank laughed, miming two blows to his head. “Two shots!”

So you may be thinking, Starbucks is selling a racist coffee drink? Why on God's Green Earth would they do that?!? BECAUSE THEY'RE NOT. This is all just a terrible misunderstanding.


The poor coffee addict was deeply disturbed by the idea that Starbucks would go along with such an offensive and violent name. It gave him the jitters just thinking about it! And then he found out: People were not saying "black guy." They were saying "black EYE."

Starbucks baristas informally call one shot of espresso a "red eye," two shots a "black eye," and three shots a "purple eye" or "green eye," depending on who you ask. And if the writer were up on his Starbucks secret menu lingo, he would have caught on to that. It's not part of the official Starbucks menu, but people all over tarnation have been ordering these EYE shots of espresso in their brewed coffee since at least 2007.

Geez, dude. Chill out with the perceived racism. Maybe someone needs to order decaf next time? I mean, if ordering from Starbucks makes you start hearing things, it's time to lay off the buzz buzz. Know what I mean?

Would you have known what "black eye" means if you'd heard it ordered?


Image via MyLifeStory/Flickr

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