When it comes to coffee everyone has their own favourite.
I’m a tea drinker through and through, but when it comes to a cup of the cafe noir then my poison is a caramel latte on skim milk. (When I was pregnant it was a decaf caramel latte with skim milk and I had colleagues flat out refuse to order it for me)
snobs connoisseurs are everywhere, and these days everyone knows the difference between a cappuccino and a macchiato, but if you’re new to this parenting gig you might not have heard of the babycino.
Here’s everything you need to know:
We’ll start with probably the most important factor in terms of safety, yet often the most overlooked by overzealous baristas. It seems like stating the obvious but we’ve had babycinos served before at a temperature that would remove half your tastebuds and the inner lining of your mouth. Maybe they don’t like kids in their cafe (I kind of understand this one having witnessed the amount of mess created by one child and a small serving of milk froth) so it is always essential to dip your pinky finger in their drink before serving, just in case the cafe owner is trying to dissuade you from ever ordering in their establishment again.
The second most important thing to consider is the milk to froth ratio. We’ve had babycinos that are all froth, and some cafes have served us small cups of just milk. The whole concept of ordering a babycino is to buy yourself at least 10 minutes to sit down and enjoy a coffee or a chat with a friend, so when the barista serves you a whisper of milk vapour in a cup it is your duty to send it back. Again you might be encountering the act of a clued up cafe owner (probably with a few kids of their own) who can testify to the destruction a toddler could do to their beautifully finished cafe interior. But stand your ground. Your de-stress is definitely more important than their decor.
Should always be on top, not inside. Otherwise it’s a hot chocolate.
If you ask our 3 year old this is the essential part of a babycino.
NEVER accept your marshmallow in or on the drink before it’s at the table or it will melt into gloop before it can be admired. It needs to be served on the saucer so your little one gets to decide whether to eat it straight away, dunk it like a biscuit, or let it sink like the Titanic of treats to the bottom of the cup to be savoured at the end.
I’ve even watched our 3 year old swoop on his baby brother’s marshmallow before he noticed it was there and store it in his cheek like a hamster while he innocently sipped the rest of his drink.
Your child’s preference to what happens to the marshmallow is an insightful and defining experience. Do not let the barista steal it from you.
This is a relatively new phenomenon that we’ve been seeing.
At first I wasn’t a fan but I’ve since been converted as I’ve noticed the sprinkles melt and leave pretty little rainbows in the cup.
Choice of cup
This seems like another no-brainer, but I’ve had a babycino served to our one year old in a cup almost as big as his head. The ideal cup is one of those cutesy teeny tiny espresso cups – ridiculously cute looking in chubby little hands yet surprisingly tough when thrown across restaurants.
Even better are the little disposable espresso cups – depsite being terrible for the environment they do give ease to a quick escape if you find yourself in the midst of just too much mess to legitimately explain.
Last but sometimes definitely not least – what is a babycino worth?
We’ve had lovely coffee shops charge us nothing for them (funnily enough it’s always been on the first visit….) and some places charge a ridiculous $3.
In my opinion if you’re ordering grown up coffees or food – generally showing the cafe some love, then it should be on the house, or at most 50c.
If you’re popping in to your local cafe because you’ve been promising the little ones a ‘coffee’ all morning to get them to behave, your sole purpose of visiting the cafe is to keep your kids quiet for a bit, yet the noise you bring to the venue is probably deterring other customers for about 3 blocks, then I think a charge of at least $10 per serve is only fair.
Not that we’ve ever do that, of course.