Q. I love the lattes from the local coffee shop. I usually grab a cup on my way to the office. What I don’t like is when the barista slaps the lid on my cup. She uses the palm of her hand to snap it closed.
I worry that this is unsanitary, since I like to sip my coffee through the spill proof lid. Am I being paranoid?

A. As far as we can tell there has been no research on coffee cup lid contamination. If the barista is also handling money, that could facilitate the spread of germs. It is unrealistic to expect a server to wash hands between every cup of coffee, but it is certainly reasonable to ask to put your own lid on your coffee cup.

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  1. kb

    Cups are placed rim down on counters in restaurants to keep dust from settling in them as well as ensuring a creepy crawler doesn’t enter especially if you live in a big city.

  2. gmc

    My sister lived in an Assisted Living Facility and I noted that they had healthful practices. In the Dining Room the food servers who served the meals were not allowed to pick up the dirty dishes when cleaning the table thereby preventing cross contamination. I think this is a very good practice in preventing spread of germs.

  3. AJK

    At the coffee specialty house I use, typically the same person does not take money and prepare the coffee drinks. That is ideally the way it should be for any food/beverage restaurant. However, this was a topic for “The Doctors” show once. And, as one of the docs said, he just blesses his beverage, as we should, and enjoys it. I have been referred to as being a germaphobic by certain family members because I use hand sanitizer frequently and I keep a packet of antibacterial wipes in my purse for the carts, just in case the store does not have any. But,when it comes to the beverages, I do as the “docs” suggested.

  4. LF

    Almost as bad as when waiters refill your glass at a restaurant by touching the side of your glass (that your mouth has touched) with the pitcher. They have done the same thing at other tables and now others’ germs are entering your water or iced tea! Yuck!

  5. S.H.

    Or worse!: My husband was at a famous chicken and biscuit restaurant, standing in line behind a mother with a toddler (in diapers) in her arms; when her turn came, she set her toddler (diaper side down-you get the picture-) on the counter and ordered.
    My husband was paying close attention and when his turn came, the person taking orders reached and started filling his order with first thing the worker did was take the PAPER CUP (for soda/water) and set it down on the counter RIM EDGE DOWN! and guess where that idiot set the cup that was rim edge down? yep, right where that diapered baby had been!!
    My husband politely refused the cup and gave it back; the clerk was startled!!! and when my husband explained WHY he had refused the paper cup that had been rim down right where a diaper had been, the clerk got upset with my husband (who is a gentle and kind southern gentleman!).
    By the way, quite a few cafes and walk up to order places do this with placing a drinking glass edge/rim down onto the counter or a tray………….. eeewwwwww.

  6. KH

    We have coffee mugs and when we go to the counter we hold on to the caps so that we put them on ourselves. Often we have noticed that they will grab the cups by putting their fingers on the edge of the cups first and in so doing are spreading germs along the inner edge as well as on the caps. We have seen them handle money and in the next moment handle both coffee mugs and cups. It is scary and it is a wonder that no one has gotten sick. Who knows, maybe people get sick and never associate it with their coffee mugs or paper cups at coffee shops.
    Even wearing special gloves does not always work.. .I have seen people with gloves on, pick up car keys and other such germ invested items and then continue with handling food. It isn’t just coffee establishments… it is fast food outlets everywhere. People get careless and forget that they are spreading germs.
    It is up to the customer to watch very carefully and to tell the barista to either change the plastic gloves or to please not handle the edge of the coffee mug or cup in an unclean manner.

  7. kaf

    And what about sipping a hot beverage through a plastic lid? I often have wondered whether this is a good idea and often bring my own ceramic or metal travel mug (and no plastic cover).

  8. KJS

    Just use a straw. I always do.

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