As many of you know, I’ve been working at the cafe inside Barnes and Noble for a couple of months and before that I worked at Starbucks for a few years. I know the life of a barista, and even though I adore Starbucks (and other coffee shops) working there can be rough.
When I ran across this article I knew I just had to share. And by “share” I obviously mean “complain about my experiences.”
13 Things Baristas Won’t Tell You (Read this for the original article. I just pulled the main points for this post and added my own commentary. Of course. )
1. Drinking two quad-shot, 22oz, vanilla lattes every day is bad for you. So is the pumpkin loaf you have for breakfast every morning. Just saying.
2. Sometimes the owners of independent coffee/espresso carts buy cheap coffee and sell it as a respected brand. I know nothing of this, but it’s not surprising.
3. Please believe me. Listen, I get that you think I’m dumb just because I work in a coffee shop. I mean, how are you to know that I am going to college/just graduated? And you! Well you wear a suit, so I can only assume that you have a “real” job and are very smart and know everything and basically trump me in every way possible. So I suppose it makes sense that you would repeat the word “nonfat” eight times while placing your order (hey, those suits gotta fit, right?). And I mean you might as well repeat it again while I’m making the drink, juuuuust in case I decided to pour whole milk because I get the letter “N” confused with “W”. And fine, watch my hands carefully and yell if you think I brushed up against the whip cream because you DO NOT want whip. Of course, I know you don’t want whip because the cup tells me you don’t want whip, but it’s alright if you want to tell me again. HOWEVER, when I look you in the eye and say “here is your grande, nonfat, no whip, mocha” the last thing you should even think of asking me is “is it nonfat?” Seriously, believe me.
4. If you’re not at Starbucks, don’t order like you are. The main reason for this being that Starbucks likes to make up words. A caramel frappuccino did not exist before Howard Schultz allowed it to exist. See also: Vivanno, misto and marble mocha macchiatto.
5. You are the reason for the wait. Yes, you with the cell phone who had 10 minutes to decide what you wanted but were too busy telling your BFF about your new man (who is so sweet) to look at the menu. You and your “do I want a frappuccino or a white mocha?” are the reason for the wait. Oh, you really wanted a vanilla latte? I thought so.
6. Be nice. Not just to us. To everybody. Just be nice all the time. If you never go to coffee shops but happen to be reading this anyway, please take note of this one. I’m tired of rude people. I’m tired of annoying people. I’m tired of people who think they’re better than others. The only people I’m not tired of are the genuinely nice people. The ones who I know are nice to everybody they meet, not just me. Incidentally, these are the people who get free drinks.
7. Just because they’re vegan doesn’t mean our cakes are good for you. Sorry.
8. Yes, I went to school for this. I wouldn’t really call it “school”, but I do know what I’m talking about. And if I don’t, I will still help you to the best of my ability. I promise.
9. There is an art to pulling a perfect shot of espresso. And it takes more than half a second. So stop with the foot tapping already!
10. Tip. It’s nice. I won’t be mad if you don’t, but it’s nice.
11. A bigger cup doesn’t mean more
coffee espresso. Hold on to your hats kids, this ones a doozy. A bigger cup really just means more syrup, milk and whip cream. And money. So when you come in all sad and tired because your life is SO hard and the only thing getting you through is the idea of a mocha don’t laugh and say “obviously I need a venti” when I ask you what size you want. Grandes and ventis have the exact same amount of espresso in them. So jokes on you because you could have saved yourself a few cents (and calories) had you gotten the smaller size. Another thing: if you’re really THAT tired you should just order a brewed coffee. It has more caffeine and makes you less annoying to us.
12. Latte art isn’t merely decorative. I know nothing of this. I can barely get all the milk in the cup….I’m far from latte art.
13. A real macchiato has just a stain of milk foam and no sugar. Weird, right? If caramel macchiatos are your drink, try to stay away from the cafes in Italy. They don’t have what you’re looking for.