Complaint Box

Reader Accuses Doughnut Plant of Decaf Deception

Photo: Shanna Ravindra

The subject line “Deception at Doughnut Plant” may have been a bit much, but we can only sympathize with a complaint we just received:

Maybe this isn’t as big a deal to other people, but I just found out that the delicious coffee sold at Doughnut Plant on Grand Street is DECAF — and it’s not in any way advertised as such. A friend tipped me off last Friday, and I confronted a woman working at the counter this morning with the rumor. She confirmed it, seemed kind of embarrassed, like I’d found out some big secret, and asked me if I still wanted the coffee I’d ordered. I’ve been drinking this coffee almost every day for a year, and it’s pretty upsetting. Everyone in my office is flipping out — most have been here and drinking that coffee longer than I have! Thought you might be interested in the humor or tragedy of the situation.

Interesting indeed — after all, Doughnut Plant makes it a point to serve organic, fair-trade coffee. Why wouldn’t it be caffeinated? We poured ourselves a strong cuppa and called DP owner Mark Israel for comment.

Israel tells us he doesn’t drink caffeine himself, since it makes him sleepless. “I really like the taste of coffee,” he says. “Whether it has caffeine or not is not really important to me. I like the flavor like I like the flavor of chocolate.” Israel says, “We never tried to trick people” — he merely hasn’t been concentrating on the coffee program at his current establishment because it’s mostly a wholesale operation (he started serving coffee only when customers clamored for it). But when he opens his new Chelsea location “in a few months,” he says there’ll be “a lot of surprises” and “a lot of things I’m working on that will be different than Grand Street,” including a full (caffeinated) espresso bar. Israel, who still hasn’t decided on a purveyor, says the Grand Street location may then get caffeinated also.

What’s funny is that the reader and his colleagues didn’t notice the lack of caffeine after more than a year of drinking it. Guess the sugar high was enough.

Reader Accuses Doughnut Plant of Decaf Deception