Controversial Trend Sees Cafés Replacing Normal Cups With Baby Bottles

Einstein Café, a popular coffee chain operating in several middle-eastern countries has come under fire for sparking a controversial trend of replacing paper cups with baby bottles.

It all started with Einstein Café, a dessert chain with branches in countries like the UAE, Kuwait or Bahrein. One day, allegedly inspired by pictures of trendy-looking bottles shared on social media, it changed the paper cups it usually served its drinks in with plastic baby bottle complete with transparent silicone teats. No one expected the change to have a huge impact on the business, but according to company management, everyone wanted to try the new bottles, even calling to book tables in advance.

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“Everyone wanted to buy it, people called all day, telling us they’re coming with their friends, they’re coming with their father and mother,” Younes Molla, CEO of the Einstein franchise in the UAE, told the AP. “After so many months with the pandemic, with all the difficulties, people took photos, they had fun, they remembered their childhood.”


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The baby bottle trend got so huge that people started lining up on the sidewalks outside Einstein Cafés waiting for the chance to try the baby bottles. Some got creative and brought their own baby bottles to other cafes, and pleaded with the shocked staff to fill them up instead of the regular cups.

As you can imagine, the baby bottles made great props for Instagram pictures and TikTok videos, and that only inflated the trend. Before long, other cafes starting picking it up to satisfy demand, but the increased attention on social media also had a negative effect…

First, negative comments accusing Einstein Café of bringing “aeb” – shame, dishonor – to Islam started appearing online, and recently the criticism reached the highest levels of Governments. Authorities in Dubai started conducting raids in cafes known to use baby bottles, Kuwait decided to shut down Einstein Café locations, and in Bahrain and Oman café owners were warned that serving drinks in baby bottles “violated customs and traditions”.

“Such indiscriminate use of baby bottles is not only against local culture and traditions,” a UAE government statement read. “But the mishandling of the bottle during the filling could also contribute to the spread of COVID-19.”

For now, the baby bottle trend seems to have died down completely in the Middle-East, which is somewhat astonishing. To think that a simple bottle could be perceived as such a huge threat. Well, to each their own, I guess.

Interestingly, this isn’t the first tine that businesses use baby bottles to serve drinks to adults. A few years back, Insider Magazine featured Le Refuge de Fondus, a Paris restaurant that served wine in baby bottles. An there is also Sunday Cafe in Los Angeles, where drinks are served in giant baby bottles.