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Where Decaf Gets an Equal Opportunity

I really dread hotel decaf. Hotel coffee is generally pretty bad. At best, there’s a fake Starbucks in the lobby, or some terrible drip decaf if your room comes with breakfast. Hotel stays are when carrying my own instant coffee (like Swift Coffee) really comes  in clutch.

During a recent stay at a Hyatt, my room came with Keurig pods, which are not particularly exciting. Still, there were four coffee cups staring at me, two of which were decaf. In a world heavily skewed toward caffeinated drinkers, this was suddenly an acknowledgement that we decaf drinkers prefer coffee just as frequently as others! I don’t love a Keurig pod, but the taste of inclusion is so sweet.

Pop art illustration od Decaf coffee cup on a bed

This has happened to me before. Usually the “first class” experience in a hotel room is a Nespresso machine. There are often four pods waiting in the room, only one of which is decaf. Often the hotel doesn’t refill the pods daily, so you have to ask for more. On one stay, I called downstairs to ask for more decaf Nespresso pods, and when I got back to my room there was a literal bounty of decaf pods. It was like they couldn’t give them away (to anyone but me that is.) 

This left me pondering if the hotel room is a rare space where decaf is given an equal opportunity. The other place I can think of is in a classic roadside American diner. Many stay open 24 hours a day and customers are on different sleep cycles, so there’s always a chance somebody wants decaf. For me, that moment when the waiter comes around with two glass carafes and I see that brilliant orange rim on one is a moment of excitement.

“Would you like regular or decaf”?

Well, I’d like decaf. It’s probably going to be terrible, but it’s a rare moment when caffeine isn’t “normal” and decaf isn’t “other.” 

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