Being Modern: #113 Babyccinos
Sunday 24 March 2013
I'm sure you're familiar enough with the workings of a portmanteau to have deduced what a babyccino is – or at least what it's trying to be. But just in case you are unsure, let's clarify. A babyccino is a ccino without the capa, a ccino-lite; a tipple for kids who have yet to earn their caffeine stripes. In short, when you cut through the froth, it's a cup of warm, foamy milk. All air, no coffee. And the very fact it has a name other than "warm frothed milk" and is available in a glammed-up caffeine establishment near you is just too unbearable to think about… especially before you've had your morning coffee.
Although no one is foolish enough to own up to being the "brains" behind the babyccino, some casual research points to its origins being in (you guessed it) North America, where it is sometimes called a "steamer". But while the idea of kiddy frothed milk originated in the US, the term "babyccino" seems to have come from Australia, while in New Zealand they call it a "fluffy" – and you can make of that what you will.
The real problem with babyccinos is not that they are self-indulgent and utterly surplus to need, but that they're indicative of a much bigger problem: the trending-up of toddlers. Long gone are the days when kids were allowed to be kids. Now they have to be mini-mogul mini-me's or pre-school hipsters. It's no longer good enough for little Oscar to know his ABC in just one language, or little Alice to wear hand-knitted hand-me-down jumpers from Grandma; now they have to be multi-lingual, style-savvy, gadget-gropers before they're out of nappies – in this context, introducing them to café culture before they're on solids is par for the course.
So, if you ever find yourself in a café, sprog in tow, considering what to order, remind yourself of this: babyccinos are the latest in a long line of hipster-led, more-lifestyle-than-sense trends, and by perpetuating this affront to hot chocolate, you are not only encouraging your child's future caffeine addiction, but also contributing to the destruction of civilised society.
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