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

drinks, eating out


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gemin... geminijai

I've been ordering "black eyes" and "red eyes" for years. People need to lighten up!

MsRkg MsRkg

Yep I've been ordering "black eyes" and "purple eyes" forever, but its terribly easy to see how the mistake occurred lol.

nonmember avatar bootness

It's funny how sensitive some of us have become to possible racist overtones. I overheard someone getting very upset over another person ordering a drink called a "Caucasian." This is a reference to the movie "The Big Lebowski" who calls the drink that instead of a "White Russian." It is a humorous reference. People need to chill out a little bit. Being sensitive is good. Being oversensitive just makes it worse.

Shandi80 Shandi80

Waaaaait, why did Frank the barista mimic two blows to the head when describing the 'black eye' to the journalist? When one gets shot in the head, I would think a black eye is the least of their concerns...

Todd Vrancic

I wouldn't know what they meant and if I worked at Starbucks, ask that they use the terminology on the menu.

kisse... kisses5050

Nooooow Starbucks will have to put a stop to it because of the misunderstanidngs that may arise from it! like the poor guy
David Howard who lost his job for using a vocabulary word that means tight with money but someone thought sounded racist...

Caela... CaelanOceanamom

Please just ask for what you want; the "secret" names just confuse people. Just ask for a coffee (insert size) with (number of your choice) add shots. The. End.

darli... darlingmeggy

People need to lighten up already Gah !

Jespren Jespren

Shandi08, not 'gun shot', just 'shot'. Like a punch, as in 'he took a hard shot to the mouth'. If you take a couple of shots to the face you probably will have a black eye!

I don't drink coffee but if I overheard someone order a 'black eye' i'd have assumed it meant one shot.

CPN322 CPN322

I wouldn't have known what that meant but as my hearing isn't always the best I would've just thought I was hearing everyone wrong.

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