There are two thing in my life which are very dear to me – one is coffee, and the other (and the favourite!) is my 2 year old son, Oscar.
As a typical offspring of a coffee industry person, Oscar has spent much of his life around roasteries, espresso equipment and coffee in general, and through observation has developed a strong attachement.
Whilst he’s only recently learned to say ‘cawfee’ in a fabulous Brooklyn-esque accent, for as long as I can remember Oscar has enjoyed drinking coffee of any variety (ristretto, milk based espresso and more often than not french press at home with me) whenever he is given the opportunity.
Being concerned about the caffeine intake of my child, he does not by any means get unlimited access to coffee, but the bits and pieces he does have he drinks with great enthusiasm.
It could just be that he wants to emulate his mum as many kids do, but from everything I’ve seen, I believe he’s truely enjoying the beverage, which is great, as it means his experience is not caffeine driven but taste driven.
He also happily enjoys decafe which I’ve taken to drinking around him for the sake of my peace of mind.
I often get startled looks when I tell people that Oscar enjoys sips of coffee purely for the taste. Many people I’ve spoken to in the industry here in Australia allow their kids the occasional experience as I do but perhaps that is only as we’re a little more comfortable with the product, and on the whole, are spoiled with the quality we might expect.
When it comes to caffeine and kids (and perhaps not just coffee, but cola, chocolate, tea etc) what do people think? Is it Ok in little bits, or a no go?
Jon – the Mirage wasn’t mine it belongs to Dean Morgan a roaster (and mentor for Scottie Callaghan the Aus Barista Champ)… Dean’s daughter, Ruby who is 3 also loves coffee and plays on the mirage when it’s not being used!! Lucky kids!
Interesting question, Em… I remember drinking coffee on purpose as a kid to TRY to stunt my growth (since I was 5-feet-8-inches by age 11). Didn’t work!
Anyway, I think like all things it’s OK in moderation, and everything I’ve read on the subject agrees. If Oscar were to start getting a crazed look in his eye in the mornings as he demanded his coffee, then, well, you’d have a problem on your hands. But if he’s enjoying it, there’s one more way you and your son are personally bonding, right?
Jon’s comment here reminds me of my visit to his house this last summer, and my joy at seeing how much his daughter, Aya, enjoyed espresso. I think it was part emulating her parents, part the connection to something her daddy made himself, and yes, part her personal enjoyment of the beverage. This will all be interesting to watch as your kids grow up.
This is purely unscientific, but I think it’s OK. Our two year-old, while she doesn’t get to play on a Mirage at ground level, really enjoys the role that coffee plays in our life. And while she may be able to blame us for stunted growth or ADD, she should have a discerning taste as she grows up.