You are in line at the coffee shop, which doesn't have an ordering app, or you left your phone in the car. But all you want is a cup of black coffee, a one-ingredient, perfunctory pour.  

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Then the person in front of you orders a grande iced caramel macchiato with two pumps of vanilla syrup, two pumps of hazelnut syrup, a shot of espresso, whipped cream, and caramel drizzle. Yes, that's an actual drink at Starbucks.

If you are a black coffee drinker, you know this has happened to you, likely a lot.

Hustling baristas are mixing and squirting, steaming and shaking one complicated order after another, shouting out one name after another, while you stand and stare at your empty white cup.  

The Huffington Post reports that there are more than 170,000 ways to customize a Starbucks drink, and 80% of customers add milk, sweetener, syrups, or other modifiers to their coffee.

But there are black coffee lovers besides the ones who pour from a pitcher at the local quick-stop.  The Wall Street Journal reports that many "black-coffee drinkers said they take pride in being able to savor its strong, bitter taste without masking it with syrups and foams."

"Many people don’t seem to know what black coffee is anymore, baristas said. Some customers will order black coffee, they said, and later complain it contained no sugar or cream. 

Abbey Clifford, a 25-year-old black-coffee drinker from Ohio, said she repeatedly gets her Dunkin’ coffee order back with cream in it. “Maybe they think I mean plain coffee, and that plain means just with one cream,” she said. “But that’s just not what black coffee means at all.”  

If you love black coffee or are affiliated with a coffee shop, Compass Vermont would like to hear your thoughts on an express line for black coffee. Our email is [email protected].