Earlier this week we reported on the hot new viral coffee trend of 2022: putting espresso in orange juice. It was a fun little ditty about a beverage pairing that feels like it shouldn’t work but very much does, and as a coffee drinking leitmotif it has captured the imagination of TikTok over the last several months. Espresso in orange juice is actually really good, an unexpected pleasure just waiting to be enjoyed by anyone willing to give it a whirl.

The story was titled The Internet’s New Favorite Coffee Drink Is Orange Juice & Espresso.

We expected it would be a pretty popular story, but what we did not expect was just how mad, and I mean BIG mad, it would make so many, many people. Turns out, some iteration of the coffee-and-orange-juice drink has been around for many years, and people on the internet—particularly those of a certain age—are positively outraged by the idea that TikTok users might enjoy a thing without first properly crediting their elders.

advert but first coffee cookbook now available


Of the many hundreds comments and messages we received around this story, most were pretty boilerplate, along the lines of “gross, no thank you” to “actually that sounds good I will try it.” But some on social media felt it was important, and I mean REALLY important, for us to know that well, actually, espresso and OJ is not a new drink at all, people on TikTok are wrong, and the combination has been around since at least as far back as 2004.

big mad espresso sunrise

Buckle up, kiddos, because it’s about to get semantic.

Let’s take a look at the headline. “The Internet’s New Favorite Coffee Drink Is Orange Juice & Espresso.” Very clicky, but that’s not the point. It would appear that some of the internet’s most begrudged not only didn’t bother to read the article before commenting—the modern journalist’s lament—they didn’t even bother to actually read the headline!

For this headline, The Internet’s New Favorite Coffee Drink Is Orange Juice & Espresso, the word “New” DOES NOT DESCRIBE the words “Coffee Drink,” as in: “Orange Juice & Espresso is a new coffee drink.”

In fact, here the word “New” is a descriptor for the words “Favorite Coffee Drink,” which expresses a whole different meaning all together. “New Favorite” vs. “Favorite New” are two completely different things.

For instance, if I was to say, “PB&J is my new favorite sandwich,” you wouldn’t think I was trying to say that the PB&J is a totally new type of sandwich, would you? An old drink can be a new trend. We’ve seen this for many years in coffee and it happens in like every other drinks industry as well. I’m aware that having to explain a headline this much means maybe it’s the headline’s fault, but I think there’s something else going on here, a sort of righteous anger that defies an easy explanation.

The truth is, any idea that the younger generation has “invented” something that has in fact been around for years makes some people’s blood boil; this isn’t exactly the first time it has happened. Dalgona coffee, chopped & screwed music, sex, and countless other things the kids incorrectly thought they were the first to. It’s a tale as old as Leibniz and Newton for the new generation to not have the full historical record of their elders before claiming ownership of a thing. Remember when Gen X thought they invented detached irony? That moody Greek Eiron would like an ancient, sullen word.

But what is it about human nature that makes us say loudly, and in public, “I KNEW ABOUT THIS FIRST!” Reading comprehension aside, who cares if The Kids are having fun drinking coffee? Who cares if something old is cool again?  TikTok loves Gen X stuff so is there really any surprise they think the big idea you had between smoke breaks in 2005 is interesting? You should be so lucky—every last thing the millennials have come up with is swirling the drain as we speak. What’s old is new again, is what I’m saying, and that’s why espresso and orange juice is the internet’s new favorite coffee drink (and not its favorite new coffee drink, which would be a completely different thing).

It’s awesome you were already familiar with the trend but listen, @ItsJustBenjy is 17 years old, has 12 million followers on the ‘Tok, and they all think espresso and OJ is <fire emoji> so who cares if you knew about it first?

Allow me to reference another generation of elders as I channel my inner Carly Simon and say to you directly, from the depths of my being, like seventh chakra deep so you know I mean it, congratulations for being aware of espresso and orange juice prior to the publication of the story. I was just trying to write about people having fun with coffee. You are obviously the one who is fun.

Zac Cadwalader is the managing editor at Sprudge Media Network and a staff writer based in Dallas. Read more Zac Cadwalader on Sprudge.

New Rules of Coffee banner advertising an illustrated guide to the essential rules for enjoying coffee