Coronavirus: Irish coffee shops ban keep cups in effort to avoid disease

3fe, Gourmet Food Parlour, Sprout & Co, and Busyfeet & Coco follow Starbucks’ lead

Some coffee shops and cafes have banned reusable cups, or keep cups, to protect staff and customers from the spread of coronavirus.

Starbucks branches internationally, which had been encouraging customers to use keep cups to mitigate the environmental damage of disposable ones, temporarily banned reusable cups some days ago in response to the outbreak of coronavirus disease, which is also known as Covid-19.

3fe Coffee, which roasts coffee in Dublin to ship all over the world, announced that its cafes in the city, on Grand Canal Street and Sussex Terrace, had stopped accepting customers’ reusable coffee cups amid growing coronavirus fears. It also has a no-handshake policy – although its notice says, “Feel free to fist bump us.”

Other companies that no longer accept reusable cups include Gourmet Food Parlour, which has seven restaurants in Dublin and Galway; Sprout & Co, which has seven outlets in Dublin and Co Meath; and Busyfeet & Coco Cafe, on South William Street in Dublin.


Some coffee shops have also asked customers to use contactless payment, to avoid handling money, and not to leave any litter, especially tissues, behind. They have also moved tables farther apart and put bottles of hand sanitiser by their front doors.

At Shoe Lane coffee shop, on Tara Street in Dublin 2, business was brisk this morning even though vehicle traffic was noticeably scant. Natasha Seifred, behind the counter, said they were “not making coffee in keep cups because we need to keep sterile”. About 20 per cent of their customers normally use reusable cups, but they have accepted the switch readily. “Everybody can really understand it,” she said.

Deirdre Falvey

Deirdre Falvey

Deirdre Falvey is a features and arts writer at The Irish Times