Melbourne's coffee queues are the new frontline in etiquette school, with some cafes banning customers from ordering their caffeine hit while using their mobile phone.
But it's not cafes in the hipster belt banning the technological appendage. Cafe 655 in the industrial chic part of West Melbourne has taken a stand, putting up a sign in January.
The red sign that says "Please do not use mobile phones in this area" and features a phone crossed out costs $7.25 at Bunnings and is cheaper than shipping out customers to a finishing school in Switzerland.
Husband-and-wife cafe owners Craig Pearce and Jessie Familetti grew tired of customers gesticulating "coffee, coffee" while yapping on their phone, holding up the queue and spreading documents on the counter like it was their own desk.
"A percentage of people think it's acceptable to talk and make hand gestures instead of interacting," Pearce said.
Pearce, a former Australian Army infantry soldier, is instilling discipline and stamping out rudeness but doesn't go to the extreme of the Seinfeld Soup Nazi's "No soup for you".
Instead, customers are told that they will be served when they are off the phone. Some coffee fiends are perplexed at the edict, questioning whether their phone signal affects the Eftpos machine, but polite customers step away to continue talking or texting.
Coffee lover Josephine Cole was stunned at the ban, declaring: "Is that even possible? A cafe is not a theatre."
Despite the tough love, Melbourne's cafes are friendlier than others. The Bella Natural Food Co in Terrigal, NSW, has a 50-cent surcharge for rude customers who contribute to wrong orders while on their phone. And the Cornucopia Museum Cafe in Darwin toyed with the idea of making customers donate $2 to charity.
Another mobile-exclusion zone in Melbourne is Mister Close cafe. Owner James English has a handwritten note on the cash register saying: "We can't and won't serve you if you are on the phone. We need to engage."
English said the constant reliance on phones for communication or playing games pointed to a wider social problem. "The disengagement of our society is what I find prevalent," he said.
And hospitality workers aren't robots on a production line of lattes and espressos. "People in the service industry need to engage and deserve the respect."
Far from being bad for business, the edict wins him compliments from customers, especially those who work in the retail industry and wish they could put up a sign.
While customers zone out when using their phone, they forget that the barista is there to serve them and pressing questions await about the type of coffee, the size of the takeaway cup, whether they want sugar and what their name is.
"We need to serve them as fast and efficiently as possible," English said.
Phone dependence is like an X-ray into the psyche and photographing the queue, the barista or the latte art has contributed 93,510 photos to Instagram with the #melbournecoffee hashtag and it grows by the minute.
If the glare from Melbourne's tribe of tattooed baristas isn't enough to put away the phone, defer to Britain's king of society etiquette, Debrett's, the essential guide for multi-hyphenated-surnamed English beauties since 1769.
Its mobile-phone etiquette states: "It is always rude to pay more attention to a mobile than a person in the flesh, so mobiles should always be put away when transacting other business – for example in shops."
Cafes realise social media posts are free advertising for businesses and the Cafe Owners & Barista's Association of Australia has advice on improving their mobile-phone strategy.
Back when mobile phones were closer to the size of bricks, their intrusion irritated baby-banning restaurateur Paul Lynch who owned Lynch's in South Yarra. In 2002, he told Fairfax Media: "I have a note on the menu saying that the use of mobile phones will interfere with the cooking of the corned beef."
A street-wise barista could tell customers that their phone signal interferes with the bouquet of single-origin coffee beans.