What is a Ghetto Latte?

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  • Written By: Michael Pollick
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 18 October 2019
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Regular customers of specialty coffee shops such as Starbucks or Joe Muggs often notice that add-ons such as shots of syrup and steamed dairy products can significantly increase the cost of a beverage. A basic tall cup of Americano coffee can easily cost over $5 USD if the customer selects additional shots of espresso and steamed milk, for example. Some savvy, or some may argue cheap, customers exploit a loophole by ordering what is known as a ghetto latte or poor man's latte.

A ghetto latte begins as one of the cheaper selections on the menu, such as a basic Americano espresso with no additional dairy or an iced coffee with no extra water added. The result is a larger size cup with relatively little coffee product. Once the customer receives this less-expensive beverage, he or she proceeds directly to a complimentary condiment bar and stocks up on free half-and-half creamers or pours a large amount of cream or milk directly from a pitcher. This is considered a ghetto latte by frustrated baristas and store managers.

While the act of concocting a ghetto latte is not technically illegal, it could be considered an exploitation of the system. The condiment bar in most coffee shops is designed to provide paying customers with incidental supplies such as sweeteners, creamers and spices. The individual creamers or refrigerated pitchers of half-and-half are not intended to be free alternatives to the dairy add-ons which define a latte beverage.


Some customers seeking to create a ghetto latte actually become offended if the store's supply of free creamers is not available. Others may order a basic cup of iced coffee and request an exceptionally large amount of complimentary cream and crushed ice. Many savvy baristas are aware of the ghetto latte practice, but some feel they have already made a legitimate sale of the original beverage so they have not been cheated personally.

The store itself may lose money from the practice, however, and future customers may have to make up the loss in higher prices if too many customers persist in creating ghetto lattes instead of ordering smaller or more affordable beverages.


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Post 7


I've been doing that for years. God bless...

Post 6

Even the cheap drinks are overpriced! Perhaps if the profit margins on such condiment additions were a bit lower, this wouldn't happen as much.

But I don't feel sorry if the prices rise because of it if you are at all sensitive to cost, you're an idiot to drink from these places.

I'm on SSI disability and live for 2 months on less than these idiots spend in a year on expensive coffee.

Post 5

Caffeine--the unregulated recreational drug. Nearly ALL major decisions in the world are made under the influence of Caffeine or Alcohol.

Post 4

Coffee & tea plantations take up land which could grow many other more useful crops. To the point that such plantations affect the climate.

Post 3

Only the bottled water craze is more exploitative or stupid than the Starbucks craze. However, in a way bottled water is worse.

1. Is the water any safer? I doubt it.

2. Is the water better tasting?

3. The bottles used up scarce and dear petroleum.

4. The bottles add to garbage disposal problems.

5. "A fool and his money are soon parted."

6. Is this a time for expensive non-essentials?

Post 2

I drink regular unflavored Black Coffee. I have been paying more and more for my simple faire since these sissy-man lattes arrived on the scene several years ago. So, my sympathy is for those with simple tastes! Why should we pay more?

Post 1

OOOH Starbucks could lose money on their overpriced coffee?

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