I'm not familiar with the tipping system in the US. One day I'm buying a coffee and i am presented with a machine asking me to tip 15%, 18% and 20% and no tip. I feel like I have to tip at least 15% but i still haven't tasted the coffee and I won't even sit down at the place. I don't mind tipping if I get some sort of service.

What do people do with the tipping for getting a to-go coffee?

  • 3
    Are you ordering standing up at the counter like at a Peet's or a Coffee Bean, or are you sitting down at a counter like at a diner or bar, or are you ordering from a waiter/waitress at a table at a table or booth? What matters is where and how you are ordering, not so much what. The answer does not change if you are getting gelato or a burrito or a plate of chicken masala to go instead of coffee.
    – choster
    May 20, 2015 at 20:01
  • I'm ordering at the counter.
    – toy
    May 20, 2015 at 20:20
  • 1
    @toy The answer is: "It is still up to you". Some people tip. Other people don't.
    – Karlson
    May 20, 2015 at 20:20
  • Coffee houses sometimes use the same point-of-sale systems as restaurants, which may include this (unnecessary?) tip suggestion function. May 20, 2015 at 20:21

1 Answer 1


In general in the US, the 15% guideline only applies if you're getting some service associated with your food/beverage - service in a sit-down restaurant, food delivered, etc.

If I'm getting coffee to go and paying cash, I'll usually throw some of the coins I get in change into the tip jar, but that's as much because I don't like carrying coins as anything else. (The largest commonly used coin in the US is only worth $0.25.) If I'm paying with a card and presented with those options, I'd skip the tip.

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