Have you ever worked in a coffee shop that isn't mainstream like Starbucks or Peet's Coffee & Tea? Well, even if you haven't, you've probably been inside a store that sells fresh coffee and employs baristas, so you can relate. Here are 15 things that I've found to be what most every barista would like to tell you, as the consumer, but would never say to your face. (As in, we are respectful individuals and would probably lose our jobs if we did so. Just saying.)
1. Please don't order a drink and expect it to be exactly like Starbucks.
Trust us. We get that Starbucks has great, sugary, oversized drinks, but a caramel macchiato in the coffee world is very different from a caramel macchiato at Starbucks. (Hint: It is literally espresso with a touch of foam and milk and a bit of caramel syrup.)
2. You will get what you order.
I mean, we do write down what you ordered onto the cup, so please, we know you'd like decaf and we will make decaf for you, so you don't need to repetitively ask us if your drink is decaf. (Also, 98 percent of the time most people can't even tell the difference between decaf and espresso until later, and unless your barista is a prick, you will not receive anything other than what you ordered on purpose.) That being said, the worst time to tell me how you want your drink is after I have made it.
3. Tips are very much appreciated. So are compliments.
Hey, we all have to work for a living. No one wants to be a barista forever, and many of us work multiple jobs. So save a barista, give them a smile and tip, and tell them their drinks are glorious.
4. If we remember your drink order and name, it's either because you're "that" customer or we love you.
Plus, we either want you to leave as quickly as possible or we want to make you feel special by letting you know that someone remembers you and knows your drink!
5. We love talking to you, but not while there's a line out the door.
This always makes us as baristas feel awkward when there's 40+ people waiting for coffee and you choose now to tell me your life story.
6. If we are clearly busy doing something, there's no need to impatiently badger us.
We see you. We will help you. There are also other drinks and food that needs to be made for people ahead of you. You badgering us with being impatient does not make us want to interact with you any sooner.
7. We are not all experienced latte artists.
Latte art is a talent, and not everyone has mastered it. I'm sorry that attempted heart looks like a penis. No, I can't make a swan on your latte. It takes a lot of practice to truly master the art of perfect foam and milk pouring.
8. I know the coffee is expensive.
Stop telling your barista that. Trust me, we know. We work seven-hour shifts multiple times per week, and we know what the prices are. We can't help that our coffee is super good or that the tax is high or whatever. We have no say in prices, we just serve it to you.
9. Don't expect free drinks because you're a regular.
I admit, I have done the "you look like you're having a bad day, your drink is on me" thing, but it was because you really looked down, or I discounted an item so someone who was a few cents short could still get a drink, but that doesn't mean I will do that every time. Especially if my boss is around. So really, please stop saying "oh, you did that one time for me" because it will probably make me remind myself this is why I never give anyone anything discounted.
10. Don't lecture your barista on how to make your drink.
Fact is, most of us had to go and get special training where we learned to appreciate and understand the art of making coffee. I don't care if you like your Americano shots poured into the cup before the hot water (which ruins the taste, by the way) or you stir in your sugar differently, I have my own way of doing it, and dammit, you will enjoy my talent! Besides, if I feel the drink is not good enough to consume myself, I won't serve it.
11. Don't be an asshole.
Hey, I just make your drink, okay? It's super unnecessary to be rude to your barista, and it will leave an impression on us for the rest of the day. Plus, we will not look forward to seeing your happy face every day. We will remember you.
12. If you make a mess on the bar, clean it up.
We fill up the cup completely (especially if it's blended or frozen) because when we leave room people complain. I constantly watch people make a mess on the bar because they don't realize that there's extra that they need to consume before putting a lid on. Then they leave a huge mess. Repeatedly.
13. If you ask me to put five Splendas in your coffee for you, I am judging you.
It also makes me cringe to do so.
14. This is what you look like when you're trying to hit on the barista.
Though you may not get my number, it sure is amusing and sometimes quite a compliment.
15. When someone gets extra kale and no fruit in their smoothie... it's weird.
Blending kale with ice is a challenge, makes a chunky mess, and all I can think of when someone asks for this is that they're a little obsessed with their veggies.
In the end, even though there are a lot of things that customers do that make a barista's life a living hell, we still love doing what we do best and making coffee for all of you. Just remember, we are people too.