The new coffee blog “use the handle” is everything right now.
The blog seems to have but one purpose – to highlight the unsanitary nature of holding a cup by anything but its handle. We reached out to the blog’s owner, who agreed to an interview so long as he / she could remain anonymous.
UTH, why so anonymous?
I compete in throw downs. I’m a barista. I’m afraid if my identity is revealed I’ll never get to compete again.
Fair enough. Why did you start this blog?
For too long baristas have been trained to mishandle cups. I don’t understand why. I guess one of the biggest reasons is because no one ever talks about it. In latte art throw downs, judges never disqualify a barista for smearing their greasy fingers all over the lip of the cup. Sometimes I feel like I’m in the Twilight Zone where no one knows it’s wrong.
Kind of like that episode where the woman gets facial reconstruction surgeries to look normal and they remove the bandages and she’s gorgeous but everyone thinks she’s hideous because everyone else is mutated.
Exactly. In my posts, I don’t want to out anyone that’s mishandling cups – you’ll never see faces on use the handle. Because everyone does it! I just want to finally address how gross it actually is.
Are you a germaphobe?
Not at all. If anything, I’m just a huge fan of food and public health safety. I’ve gone to food handlers courses in five states. I’m kind of obsessed with it. Hand washing feels amazing. But I do worry about cross-contamination and spreading potentially hazardous bacteria with unwashed hands. A lot of baristas have to go from exchanging money to drink building – and a lot don’t wash their hands between the two. It’s a dangerous situation – and if they go and rub their hands all over the lip of my cappuccino cup, I’m going to freak out.
Is there a way of holding a cup that you’re particularly fond of?
It’s not any specific way, really. I’m just a fan of using the cup handle. I have this post up of a latte art competition – and one barista is gripping the entire lip of the cup with their bare hands while the other is holding the handle. If I were judging that, I’d automatically vote for the barista holding the handle. Always.
Thanks for talking with us and keep fighting the good fight.
Thanks for giving my little blog a shout-out. Love you guys.
Follow “use the handle” on Tumblr.