No extra large?

Extra large. Supersize. Big gulp. X-treme gulp. Venti. Trenti... We North Americans love big. The bigger, the better. More volume means more value...right? We were raised on that "truth." And while signs of change are starting to show in certain pockets of the market - healthier eating, smaller portion sizes, etc - most of us still believe that more is better. Naturally, companies respond by giving the people what they think they want. The cycle feeds itself (literally) and eventually, oversize become normal.

At Equator, it's a delicate balance between giving the customer what they want (or have been trained to expect) - large, extra-large, and beyond - and standing up for our own principles of "less is more." As we were planning our shop in Westboro, we debated what sizes to offer. We made the decision to go no larger than 16oz (same in Almonte) and to not advertise anything larger than 10oz on our menu board. Our hope is to gently but surely show our customers that bigger is not necessarily better. For espresso-based drinks in particular, the milk to coffee ratio is actually a science - years in the making! - for each drink. Drowning the shots of espresso in more milk messes with that ratio and alters the flavour of the drink.

Our goal - our job, really - is to give customers the best coffee we can make. We do that by sourcing high quality beans, roasting them with care and consistency, and brewing the coffee under a certain standard. The ratio and size of the coffee is part of that standard. It's part of what makes the coffee good.

If there's one thing we've learned about coffee, it's that throughout history and even today, it rarely gets the credit it deserves. After seeing coffee production at origin, we wonder why we don't pay $50-$100 per pound. Understanding the amount of work that goes into it - from farm to cup - makes it taste like the luxury that it is. So suddenly each cup becomes a treat, to be savoured and appreciated. Which also makes monstrous sizes seem downright excessive. Since I started drinking better - both in terms of how it tastes and how its sourced - coffee, I actually drink less coffee. And guess what? I get more out of it than I ever did before.

So next time you're ordering your latte or cappuccino or even a regular drip, remember: small is beautiful...and tasty.