Are Coffee Beverages for Toddlers Going Too Far?

Little cute girl drinking from a white cup

Sippy cups filled with juice are SO 2011.

The parents of Park Slope, Fort Greene and Prospect Heights – some of the trendiest family ‘hoods in Brooklyn, NY – are taking their obsessive coffee culture to a new level by ordering pint-sized coffee beverages for their tiny tots. That’s right. Coffee for kids. I should point out that these gourmet coffee drinks, affectionately named “Babycinnos,” are made with either steamed milk or decaf espresso.

And yes, decaf coffee still has small amounts of caffeine, but it’s less than soda, so I guess parents can use their judgement or whatever. I don’t give my kids soda though. Just sayin’. Moving along….

Babycinnos are rising so quickly in popularity that many gourmet coffee shops are even putting the specialized drinks on their permanent menus. At Sit and Wonder and Bittersweet, both Brooklyn coffeehouses, one barista claims she serves up between 5 and 10 of the kiddie drinks daily.

Gemma Redwood, co-owner of the two coffee shops, has made sure her businesses are child friendly. Sit and Wonder also has a changing station in the bathroom and a backyard filled with toys. Interestingly enough, Redwood says her two young children are not allowed to drink the child-sized coffee drinks. “It’s a little weird but we make it,” she admits.

Kid-friendly coffee shops aren’t exactly a groundbreaking idea. In my own personal experience, I find that most coffeehouses are happy to cater to families- especially parents of small children who are eager to get their daily dose of caffeine while also entertaining their little ones. In fact, in my town there’s even a chain of coffee shops called Java Mama, which specifically caters to mothers by hosting free wi-fi as well as baby sign language classes, music lessons and pre/post natal yoga.

But “babycinnos?” Whatever happened to simply ordering a good, old-fashioned hot chocolate?

I don’t know. This babycinno trend seems a little over the top. I’m not even sure I could order one with a straight face.

Coffee shops have always offered non-caffeinated, and therefore child-friendly, drinks. Many coffee houses offer Italian sodas and Starbucks has had “steamers,” steamed milk flavored with the syrup of your choice, on their menu forever. Is it really necessary to have faux adult beverages for children? And must we call it by such a lame name?

What do you guys think? Would you order a babycinno for your little one or is this trend taking things a bit too far?