Costa Coffee – In Hot Water – Part 3

Costa Coffee in Hot Water

Costa Logo

I had hoped that there would be no part 3 to this saga but sadly the message still doesn’t seem to have seeped through and disappointingly Costa Coffee seem to have decided to no longer respond to my emails advising them when I have been refused hot water for Grumpy Baby’s bottle, against their own policy.

In the most recent incident, the Grumpy Family re-visited the branch that started it all at Green Bridge, Swindon. Previously the manager of this branch had been quite rude to me regarding my request for hot water, so we entered hopeful that the message had finally been passed down to branches and this time we would have a stress free visit. Unfortunately as I placed my order and requested the cup of hot water my heart sank as the server replied with certainty that he had been trained never to hand out hot water for this purpose. With a sigh I politely recited my explanation that Costa head office had confirmed, in email, at least 4 times that I could have the hot water and offered to show him the emails. He declined but agreed to go and speak to the manager who was working at the other side of the bar. On speaking to him she turned around and looked at me before telling him to just give me the water… I’d like to think this is because she was now aware that she had been miss informed, but from the look on her face and tone of her voice I think it’s more likely that she remembered me and just couldn’t be bothered to deal with me again. So with a smile on his face the server came back with the hot water only to be intercepted by another server who seemed horrified that he was giving me the water despite his assurance that the manager had OK’d it.

What followed was a somewhat heated argument between the two where the second server assured the first that they weren’t to give out the hot water because they had been sued by someone who scolded themselves while heating a baby’s bottle. Now, I’m not saying that this is a urban myth but we Googled several times looking for any reference to this case and while we found numerous cases of customers suing Costa Coffee because they were burnt by drinks they had purchased and one very worrying case of a woman who sued Costa Coffee because a server had cut himself and dripped blood in her coffee, then served it to her. We couldn’t find a single case related to the heating of a baby’s bottle.

Eventually the servers finished their argument and we were able to sit down to a nice relaxing drink only slightly disturbed by the fact that the branch manager seemed to feel the need to look over and glare at me every few minutes.

I would like to think that the message just hasn’t got through to the branch yet and therefore it’s not their fault that they still believe that they should be refusing requests for hot water, however, Grumpy Dad is far more cynical than I and he believes the message has been passed on (after all it has been several weeks) but that the branch manager has chosen not to retrain her staff for reasons best known to her.

As I’m not one to drop something like this I diligently put all of this into another email to Costa Coffee customer services. Unfortunately it would seem that they can no longer be bothered, as after several days I still haven’t received a reply. I can understand that this situation is frustrating for them as well as me, however, if they can’t resolve a problem like this which should be as simple as sending out a group email to check everyone is aware of the current policy, you really do have to wonder what other policies branches are ignorant of.

Sadly this saga seems set to continue but I’m looking forward to the day when I can finally report that all the promises of resolution from Costa Customer Services have finally come true.


Continue reading about my experiences with Costa Coffee by following the links below.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6



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  1. Instead of messing around with hot water, why not take a flask of boiling water out with you, freshly make the feed inside Costa and request some cold water to cool the feed sufficiently?

    feeds shouldn’t really be made up in advance in any case. If you do it the above way, the feed is safe, Costa don’t have to worry about you spilling boiling water over yourself and you don’t need to be grumpy!

    1. Hi Rachel,

      Thank you for your response!

      When I’m out and about I use Aptamil ready made milks, not normal powder formula as I find it far more convenient and as you say, formula milk shouldn’t be made in advance.

      After the first time this happened I did consider taking out a flask instead, which I’m more than happy to do, but it’s the principle of the thing. Costa head office have told me repeatedly that the staff in their branches should be happy to supply me with hot water and that the Costa handbook which is in every branch confirms this. They have also advised on numerous occasions that they will ensure that the branches in the Swindon area are made aware of this and re-trained… Despite this repeated assurance the staff have not been made aware and on more than one occasion my request for hot water has been met with quite rude response.

      Costa’s response that they are worried about me spilling hot water on myself is also somewhat strange to my mind as they sell hot drinks. There is as much chance of me spilling these as there is of my spilling the cup of hot water, in fact, I believe there is more as the hot drinks I order are in tall glasses which would be far easier to topple than a mug which has a much lower profile and as a result is much lass likely to topple if knocked.

      As to my no longer being Grumpy, well, it would rather ruin the blog if I became Chirpy Mum instead!

  2. Go Grumpy Mum! You’re dead right to be grumpy about this. There’s no logic or consistency to their refusal to give you hot water. Their sole purpose is to give hot liquids to customers, so it’s ludicrous that they’d refuse you hot water for your baby’s bottle. With all the legislation (rightfully) in place to ensure breastfeeding is supported, you’d hope as much consideration would be given by businesses to support parents to feed their babies by bottle.

    Also, to your last commenter – refrigerating appropriately prepared formula and keeping it in a cool box or pouch for short journeys is a safe and acceptable way to feed your baby when out and about, as NHS, WHO and RCN guidelines confirm. They don’t mention using a flask to make up your feed with, perhaps because (unless you use a thermometer), you don’t know if the water has dipped below 70 degrees. It’s probably not a bad option, but no reason to think it’s safer than the refrigerating option which is very safe, and, incidentally, remains a recommended method for prepping formula generally in the US. Ready made cartons are also good, of course, but outside the budget of some mums.

    For what it’s worth, I wouldn’t read Chirpy Mum’s blog 🙂

    1. Thank you Rachel,
      You took the words right out of my mouth and make a very good point about the official recommendations regarding the preparation of formula while out and about… I shall shelve the Chirpy Mum idea and remain Grumpy for the time being 😉

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