A popular Christchurch cafe has sparked strong debate following its decision to stop serving trim milk.

Lyttelton Coffee Company put up a sign in its cafe saying, "don't do trim eh ... you're fooling ya self anyway (sic)."

The image was shared on the Facebook page of a Christchurch lifestyle magazine.

Some viewers of the post applauded the cafe's move, while others were less than impressed.


"If they don't do trim, I won't go there. I love coffee but can't handle full fat milk ... They must have more than enough customers then," one Facebook user said.

Another user described the cafe's decision as "a bit rude", while another considered the sign "rude, angry, and more than a bit judgemental".

"I would still go there if they weren't blatantly flaunting an attitude that they are so much better than the customer," another Facebook user said.

The cafe responded to the critics, saying: "It's not that we do not want to deliver what our customers want; it is mostly about trying to produce less waste from our business.

"Four hundred plastic bottles each week are no longer on my back porch.

"We co-designed a reusable milk can with our milky and this is working very well ... No light spoils the milk and the cows feed on a variety of fields ... We have been having amazing results."

The milk the cafe used was not homogenised. "We think it attaches beautifully to the coffee we roast," the cafe posted.

"We also do not serve decaf or any flavourings with our coffee. Decaf is washed with solvents and is very unnatural ...

"We are no better than you ... we are just holding our ground. Think of something you care about and how you act to look after it."

One user, who supported the cafe's move, said "the customer is not always right.

"Deciding what your business wants to do or not do in this case, is not arrogance. It's deciding that they don't have to be all things to all customers. All power to them I say."

Another supporter said: "Fair call. It's their cafe (and one of the best); they can serve coffee however they like. I'd do the same."

What Auckland cafe owners say

Scott McLean, owner of Chuffed on High St, said he found Lyttelton Coffee Company's decision "a bit arrogant".

"It's no harder for us to do a light milk option. Removing light milk from the menu is not something we would do.

"But it's up to each cafe to decide what they want to serve and then for customers to decide where they want to go."

Chuffed serves organic full-fat milk, light milk, soy milk and almond milk.

"About 75 per cent of people are happy with full cream but we are always happy to serve the other options. Almond milk is starting to grow in popularity."

Dizengoff in Ponsonby also served several milk options.

Owner Mark Huggard said the cafe would continue to have the options while there was demand for them.

"If people want them; we'll serve them. It's up to [our customers]."

The cafe didn't serve green-top trim milk but did serve reduced-fat, light-blue-top milk as an alternative to full-fat milk.

"The properties of green-top milk aren't very good so it doesn't steam well but people are happy with the light-blue milk."

The cafe also served soy milk and had just started serving almond milk.

"Around 40 per cent of people ask for something other than full-fat milk so we have a few options," Mr Huggard said.

What Herald readers think

•"What a lot of people who order decaf do not understand is that the caffeine is removed from coffee with methyl bromide which is far more dangerous for your health that caffeine!! Look it up on Google. Nasty stuff."

•"Trim? Some people have conditioned themselves into believing that Trim is healthy. Wrong!! They are better off having it black!! Trim is basically coloured water only."

•"We live in a world of choice. If it's really such a big issue to you that they don't offer trim milk, then go somewhere else."

•"It's fine as long as they upfront about it so you know before you enter the shop."

•"Anyone knows that barista-made coffee is better made with trim milk so don't go to that particular cafe ... End of story!!!"

•"The response from the cafe tells me they really care about their product ... If I'm ever in that city I will make the effort to visit and try their wares."

•"Love it. Been a barista for 8 years plus. And I get it. Go them!"

•"This cafe obviously appreciates quality coffee ... This is not 'rude' or 'arrogant'. I applaude (sic) them for their efforts."

•"I don't support it. There are more creative ways of getting your marketing across without stopping to mock people for the way they are. Pretty lame, really."