Why Are Coffee Straws so Small? (Strange but Makes Sense)

Ever requested coffee straws and then found yourself being handed a small, minuscule straw with holes so small you cannot understand? Why are coffee straws so small?

Coffee straws are small because they are meant to perform several functions. One is to allow you to stir your hot coffee well. They also allow you to sip hot coffee slowly without staining your teeth or burning your mouth.

This article explores coffee straws, especially why they are so small. We will also discuss if it is ok to sip coffee using these straws.

Types Of Coffee Straws

You may see two types of straws being handed out in coffee shops. One is for cold drinks, and one is for hot drinks. Straws for cold drinks are similar to normal straws, while straws for hot drinks are small straws that may also function as a stirrer.

Generally, you may see two types of straws being handed out in coffee shops and cafes, each responsible for cold and hot drinks:

Cold Drink Straws

Cold drink straws are similar to the usual straws in fast food restaurants. They are commonly about 8.5 inches (about 21.6cm) long and 0.24 inches (about 0.6cm) wide.

These straws are commonly made with plastic. However, as people become more aware of their damage to the environment, makers have switched to cellulose, paper, or biodegradable plastics instead. Metal straws are washable and reusable.

Hot Drink Straws

Hot drink straws are the straws in question here. It usually consists of two small tubes joined in the middle by a flat surface. It is usually around 5 to 7.5 inches long (about 12.7 – 19 cm) long, and the holes are small, only about 0.125 inches (about 0.3 cm)

Hot drink straws were also commonly made with plastic before makers switched to cellulose or other biodegradable materials. Steel or metal-based straws are also becoming more popular. 

Why Are Coffee Straws So Small?

Coffee straws are small because they serve two major functions. One is to stir hot drinks, and the other is to allow you to sip the hot drink slowly without staining your teeth. The small holes also prevent you from sipping in too much hot drink and burn your mouth.

Coffee straws are small for several reasons, such as economic, safety, and keeping the straws more functional. 

To Keep Costs Low

One of the reasons coffee straws are kept small, with two small holes, is because they are cheaper to make. This benefits the makers, coffee shops, and you in many ways. 

By making a coffee straw with two holes, the makers save on the materials they need to make them. It also allows the straws to be used as a stirrer, meaning they do not need to make wooden stirrers. 

Coffee shop owners only need to stock up on straws and do not need to also spend more money to keep ice cream sticks as stirrers. This allows them to save operating costs and pass down the savings to you. 

As a consumer, you may enjoy the savings the coffee shops and manufacturers make. Usually, the savings come to you in a cheaper cup of coffee.

To Make It Easier To Stir Hot Drinks

Small coffee straws with two small holes are also stronger than common straws, so you can use them to stir hot drinks without bending them. 

Of course, it cannot beat the rigidity of a metal teaspoon or a wooden ice cream stick. Still, the fact that it can also double up as a straw makes it flexible enough for many coffee shops to use it. 

This means you can easily put creamer, sugar, or milk into your hot coffee and use the straw to dissolve and stir them in well.

To Allow You To Sip Hot Drinks Safely

There is a reason why hot drink straws have such small holes. It allows you better control of how much hot drink you are sipping into your mouth.

Unlike cold drinks, when over-sipped, hot drinks can burn and hurt your mouth. This means you want to be careful when sipping it using a straw. 

A smaller straw is also stronger in rigidity, which means it may be able to handle hot coffee better without getting too soft.

To Avoid Staining Your Teeth

If sipping hot coffee is such a bad idea you need a small straw, why not just drink it the old fashion way? Just sip it right out from the cup?

The reason is simple. Common hot drinks such as coffee, tea, or chocolate are dark and intense in color, which may easily stain your teeth. To those that spend a lot on teeth whitening, this may not be something they can accept. 

By using small straws, they can sip the drink, have the coffee pass through their teeth, and end up directly on their tongue. This allows them to enjoy the drink and, at the same time, keep their teeth phosphorus white.

Final Thoughts

Coffee straws are small for a variety of reasons, including economic, safety, and functionality. Their small size helps keep costs low, makes it easier to stir hot drinks, and allows you to sip them safely without staining your teeth.

Coffee straws may be small, but they serve an important purpose and make it easier to enjoy your favorite hot drinks.

Do you know what drink goes great with a small straw? An iced oat milk latte! Learn how to make an iced oat milk latte in our great guide.

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