In New York, coffee snobbery is the norm with fancy (and admittedly delicious) java joints like Blue Bottle, Gorilla Coffee, and Brooklyn Roasting. But the mark of an authentic coffee snob is someone who demands a "regular coffee"—usually at a deli/corner store/bodega.
“I think it’s a part of New York jargon,” said Joseph DeRupo, a spokesman for the National Coffee Association. “My suspicion would lead me to believe that it originated with curbside carts, which are often run by immigrants who may have a language barrier. When customers say ‘regular’ maybe they took it to mean something else — or that’s how their coffee is drank in their country.”
Hmpph. That's sort of an answer. Anyway, Detective Lennie Briscoe had to suffer through the changing coffee climate in a 1998 episode of Law & Order:
Coffee Shop Clerk: [Briscoe and Curtis are investigating the disappearance of a coffee shop owner] He usually likes to keep a close watch on the cash drawer, but he hasn't been around in a couple of days. Anyway, how about a free large latte on the house?
Det. Lennie Briscoe: Maybe for the kid here, but I'd like a regular coffee.
Coffee Shop Clerk: Okay, how would you like it?
Det. Lennie Briscoe: Uh, regular?