If you were born after the year 2000, expect to get carded for coffee at Costa

By Tim Nelson
Updated November 05, 2018
Credit: Photo by Jordan Siemens via Getty Images

Growing up, you probably heard from at least one adult that coffee stunts your growth. There’s no evidence to suggest that’s the case, but it’s a great ready-made excuse for any tired parents who don’t want to deal with excessively hyperactive tweens.

Now, thanks to a new policy, those who seek to cut kids off from caffeine can count international coffee chain Costa as a new ally. They’ve implemented a new corporate policy that allows individual stores to ID potential customers and refuse service to anyone under the age of 16.

“We do not encourage the sale of caffeine to children under 16 and it is at store discretion to question a customer’s age if they have any concerns,” a Costa spokesperson told the Manchester Evening News. "Our advertising is not directed at children and you must be 16 or above to own a Costa Club Card.

It’s not an outright, corporate-level ban, but there’s evidence to indicate the policy is already in effect at least at one Costa location. One dad told the Daily Post that a Costa Coffee in Conwy, Wales, refused to serve his 12-year-old daughter—who seems to be way too tired and jaded at such a young age—an iced coffee.

Costa is second only to Starbucks in worldwide coffee-chain size, and its ban is a big move that could inspire some parents or officials to reevaluate how they think about caffeine and kids. The NHS doesn’t think caffeine is suitable for toddlers and young children, but otherwise there isn’t much in the way of policy edicts on the subject.

So will other coffee chains follow suit? Or will they double down on sweet and colorful coffee drinks to woo the little latte sippers that Costa is missing out on? Who knows. But don’t be surprised if a teen sheepishly asks you to buy them a coffee the next time you’re near a Costa.