Coffee Fright. n. The trepidation encountered at taking the first sip of piping hot coffee or other hot drink.
Coffee fright is a real and dangerous reaction to hot coffee. You need to be aware that this reaction of your senses to prevent you from burning yourself adds to your anxiety levels and possibly causes hypertension (I've asked a couple of people who agree.) Coffee fright is especially a problem when drinking from a thermal mug or a paper cup with a lid at the likes of Starbucks. The sipping action involved takes away our natural defense mechanism of slurping that first sip of coffee to make sure that there will be no harm to lips, tongue, or throat. Unless you own one of those super deluxe coffee makers that brews coffee at its intended temperatures, you probably do not have a recurring problem with coffee fright in the home.
"Ghost sips" are the result of extreme coffee fright. These faux sips of coffee produce nothing but a sniff of the flavor. Especially at cafés and coffee shops, I've been known to take as many as five (yes, 5) ghost sips before digging into the real goods. I'll take the hot stuff, though, as opposed to that weak, semi-warm brown liquid they try to pass as coffee at the second-rate shops. No thank you.