One of the worst kept secrets on this site is our disdain for paper cups — and the places that insist upon them. Sure, some of our beef is with living in a disposable culture. But if you’re going to offer us some of the freshest coffee beans around, have it carefully roasted to perfection, serve it by skilled baristas, and then charge us $1.65 for the experience — why make us feel like we’re taking a pregnancy test down at the free clinic?

(We don’t even want to contemplate the possibility of espresso consumers that would willingly ask for such an experience. We’re clearly in denial here.)

Last Friday, The Daily Hype blog visually compared the experience of what you get when ordering “one espresso, please” at a typical San Francisco café (a Tully’s) and at a Swiss hotel (the Café Gourmet in Zürich): The Daily Hype: FOODHYPE: One Espresso, Please. The former looks like something spat out of a vending machine. The latter came with “a sterling silver tray with paper doilies, the cup, saucer and cream pitcher in china, a real spoon (also sterling silver), a sweet (coconut macaroons were on offer this day), and a small glass of water”.

Sure, in their respective nations, the latter experience will set you back three times as much as the “economy” version (though less if you tip). But let’s be serious. These days, a Swiss franc can buy most of Vermont, whereas the U.S. dollar won’t even get you a tourist photo taken with a yodeler in lederhosen.

Put the stick in the cup; a '+' means 'yes', a '-' means 'no' Butler with monocle sold separately

UPDATE: April 4, 2008
And if adults drinking coffee out of cups designed for the birthday parties of four-year-olds wasn’t bad enough, we may soon see cups suggestive of toddlers. According to KRON-4 news today, the planned installation of Peet’s Coffee kiosks in BART stations may make Bay Area adults regress even further to no-spill “sippy cups” for drinking their coffee: BART May Allow Adults to Drink Coffee on Trains from Sippy Cups. No word yet on whether drinking coffee out of baby bottles is the next developing trend.