Thursday, June 25, 2015

Why Your Barista Hates You

Many of you already know this, but those who are newer readers may not know that in 2010 with the help of my parents, Jason and I opened our own coffee shop. This wasn't a chain or a franchise, this was our very own labor of love made from absolute scratch - Coffee Buzz. Between owning my own shop, working at a coffee chain for years before and the couple of years I've been moonlighting as a barista after the closing of Coffee Buzz...I have a lot of coffee shop experience. I'm here to tell you today what, as a barista, are some of the things customers do that drive us right up the wall and may even result in us slipping you decaf.

1. You don't tip. While tips are always optional and are an acknowledgement of a job well done, it seems as baristas are frequently getting the short end of the stick in the gratuity department. My favorite example is this - would you EVER not tip your bartender? He may just be pouring you a beer from the tap or maybe is mixing up a super involved martini...either way I'm willing to bet you are leaving a minimum of $1 as a thank you. Explain to me how this is different than what a barista does? I'm either pouring you a drip brew coffee or I'm mixing up an elaborate espresso drink. I try to be fast, accurate and friendly as any good bartender would be....so why don't you leave a lil sumthin' to thank me for starting your day on the right foot? AND, if you don't leave a tip every single time - that's OK. Maybe once every couple of weeks throw a $5 in the jar. Believe me, we notice and like a bartender take extra special care of the customers who take care of us. 
2. You can't hang up the phone for 2 seconds. If your phone call is so dang important that you can't put it on hold for less than 30 seconds while you order your beverage than maybe you shouldn't be taking this call at a coffee shop. Your rudeness and lack of attention often leads to you forgetting a piece of your order which leads to us making the incorrect beverage and finally results in you sending it back to be re-made and now everyone {including you} is annoyed. Take a second to give your order your undivided attention. And also, just don't be rude. 
3. You don't pay attention. #1 greatest barista pet peeve is this...there's a line of people and 10 drinks on the screen waiting to be made. We make your nonfat half/caf latte with half a shot of sugar free vanilla and one pump of caramel with no froth and whip on the side and announce as loud as we are able to be sure you hear us "I have a medium nonfat half/caf latte with half a shot of sugar free vanilla and one pump of caramel with no froth and whip on the side for Ashley!" and you - Ashley - are not paying attention which then leads to another customer, let's say - Joe - to see a medium drink on the bar and because he is also not paying attention he grabs your latte. Well now Joe is mad because he has the wrong drink, and you are mad because you've been standing there for 5 minutes and haven't gotten your drink yet even though it was ready for you 4 minutes ago. Wanna avoid all that? We do too. Pay attention.
4. You have no earthly idea what you're ordering. I know not everyone knows what the difference is between a latte and a cappuccino or what the difference is between a real macchiato and a Starbucks "caramel macchiato" but when you just order something out of the blue and then complain that it's wrong because you don't know what you are ordering - sorry, not my bad. I am HAPPY as a clam to answer questions and educate customers on what the different drinks entail - so just ask. Also, be aware that not all coffee shops are the same they use different names, different sizes and different recipes. If you learn what you are ordering at one place you will be able to easily ask for any other place to replicate it.
5. You pour hot coffee in the trash. Hi. Let me tell you something. If you order a coffee with room for cream and we don't leave you as much room as you would like so you decide to pour your piping hot coffee into the trash to create more room it WILL 100% burn the trash bag in the trash can causing the trash to leak, spill and maybe even completely split open on whoever the poor bastard is {me} that has to take it out. If you need more room kindly ask us and we will dump some of your piping hot coffee down the sink and we may even hug you in gratitude for not pouring it in the trash. 


There you have it. A couple of super easy steps to follow to make sure your barista stays happy and your coffee stays caffeinated. :)





20 comments:

Carrie @ahollidayseason said...

Everyone one of these is absolutely true!! I was a barista at Starbucks for two years and I still miss it (though not the hours). We also had a drive through and there was a women that refused to open her window to order if it was raining. She would hold up the whole line by ordering and waiting for her drink at the window!

Unknown said...

Still cannot believe we actually owned a coffee shop. I never did learn the barista art but really happy you are carrying on for us.
You are so good at it! xo m

Erin LFF said...

Loving these throwback photos of you!!! ;) I'm such a non-regular at coffee shops that I have probably ticked off a lot of baristas in my visits. I will be sure to reference this before I make my annual Starbucks trip- lol!!

Carolyn said...

BAHAHAHA! These are all SO TRUE!

Jenn said...

All great tips to avoid ticking off the barista! :)

Brittany said...

Who are these idiots that put hot anything into a plastic bag? Seriously?!

mickey661636 said...

Thanks for the comment about tipping being like tipping a bartender. I never thought of it that way. I'll be tipping at coffee shops from now on!

Kate said...

Oh my gosh I loved this!!! How did I not know that you owned a coffee shop... And worst of all (hangs head in shame) have I never, yes NEVER, tipped a barrista. I am so ashamed of myself!! Best believe I'll be making up for that next time :) Thanks for the tips girl!!! But seriously - explain what a real machi... whatever (I can't spell it) is??? I always order a non fat latte. Is that super lame or what? I want the inside scoop!

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