I’ve been a barista for over a year now. It’s not the most significant job title out there, but it’s one I’m proud of. Barista just sounds fancy AND I even have a certificate somewhere out there proving I really am one. I’ve never had a certificate-required job before, so this makes me feel special. I think I’ll stick with this gig until I graduate college. I like talking non-stop, I have benefit options, and I love making and drinking coffee. For right now, it’s perfect. Since I’ll be here for a little while, thought I’d be the friendly neighborhood barista and share some notes/tips/advice that I’ve picked up along the way. Starbuck’s customers,get your mocha ready and read away!
-Don’t worry about the technical stuff you see in the movies. Unless we’re ridiculously serious about our jobs (Hint-I’m not) we won’t actually blurt out “You mean a TALL?” When you ask for a small, or cough “Venti!” under our breath when you ask for a large. However, please don’t ask me for a “regular” size. I have no idea what that looks like to you. Some ask for a regular and want a tall and others assume we know that their ‘regular’ is the biggest size we have. I personally would assume it means our medium size. Regular is in the eyes of the beholder, no?
-Tell us about your life. Most likely, we’d love to hear. We have this job because we like people. We like you. Ask questions. We have answers. And no,unless you’re asking us what coffee is,we won’t think you’re stupid. You shoulda seen us when we were training.
-I have to force myself to keep my mouth shut when someone orders a ‘Non-fat white mocha.’ I am tempted to tell you,there is really no such thing. No matter your milk choice, white mocha syrup is absolutely potent calorie-wise. You’re pretty much putting lard in a cup. Really delicious,orgasmic lard.
-I hear this uttered frequently throughout the holidays: “Can I have a peppermint mocha? I’ve been waiting all year!” A secret: You don’t have to wait! We can serve peppermint mochas all year round,folks. We always have mocha and we always have peppermint syrup, and these two together make the amazing concoction that is a peppermint mocha. We just wait on advertising ’til it’s Santa Claus time. However, I always wait ’til around Christmas to drink them, simply because it puts me in the festive mood and gives me warm feelings.But if you’re less sappy than me, which I’d be willing to bet you probably are, load up on your favorite minty goodness in the middle of July!It’s pretty tasty iced and as a frappuccino as well. But still know my annoyingly sentimental season-inspired heart is cringing as I give you this tip.
–We often have an idea of what you’re going to order before you order it. Sometime’s the predictions in our heads are wrong, but a lot of the time, we’re right. What you order, believe it or not, sometimes says a lot about who you are and where you’re at in life. Kids are definitely the easiest to predict. Roughly 95 percent of the time, they’re going to order a creme-based frappuccino. This reminds me of my past Tuesday at work. A young girl,probably about ten, came in and started with “I want a D–” And then abruptly stopped. “Oh. Wait…” She had forgotten what she wanted but I already knew. I smiled and asked “A double chocolate chip frappuccino?” Her reaction was the most adorable thing I’ve seen in a while. Her eyes got about the size of saucers and she blurted out “How did you know that?!??!” I refrained from telling her about the psychology of coffee-ordering.
-Wanna save a little money? Instead of a flavored latte, which run anywhere from 3-5 dollars, order a plain coffee and add cinnamon dulce or vanilla or whichever syrup you prefer in your lattes. Put some half and half in that puppy and it tastes almost exactly the same and will save you a couple of dollars everytime, and hundreds over the year if you wanna do the math. But shhhhh…Don’t tell them I told you!
-Don’t apologize. I really don’t mind making you a 1/2 caffeinated, triple venti, no foam, extra hot, three splenda, extra whip, french-vanilla soy latte. It’s kind of fun. Just trust me on making it right. It’s my job.
-Don’t be rude. Don’t rush us. Don’t huff and puff. I will say this rarely happens, but when it does, it makes me want to go ten times slower. We are doing the best we can. We don’t make the prices or run out of your favorite syrup on purpose. We weren’t the ones to rain on your parade in life. So please, don’t take what you’re going through out on us. We are simply trying to make you coffee and earn a little money in the process.
– Going off of that last one–Appreciation is much appreciated. We don’t have the hardest job,and usually it’s more fun than anything else. But there are days where we are on our feet for over eight hours, and sometimes part of this time is working alone. Knowing that you understand that somehow makes even the hardest days a breeze. Luckily, I come across a lot of sweet and understanding people. As a little example, this last Saturday I was working an opening eight hour shift. As we’re extremely short staffed, I worked the first three hours alone. Not a walk in the park on a Saturday morning. I was half-awake,forcing a smile, and battling long lines alone throughout the morning. I was staying awake by playing a game I’ve started with myself–How many drinks can I make in a row without marking it on the cup? (Yes, this is totally against S-Bux protocol.) I had got up to making four in one order but still wasn’t feeling too energetic. It was like my line of people read my mind. Suddenly, customer after customer started telling me how amazing I was doing and began asking why I was working alone. One dude even commented on my multi-tasking by saying I was like an octopus. I’ve never been referred to an octopus before, but I took it as a compliment and stayed awake and glowing the rest of my shift. I try to be complimentary and kind to my customers and others in general, and whenever I get it back it’s always noted. Kindness grows exponentially and you never know how far a few sweet words are going to go. Whether you’re at a coffee shop or not, always try to remember that.
In closing, I decided upon making a short video blog to reinforce being nice to your barista. My hair is a mess but I did manage to put some lip-gloss on for y’all!