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The Ten Things You Do That Drive Baristas Crazy

As a person who has worked on and off in the coffee business for the past four years, I often joke that I will be making coffee for the rest of my life. While working at a coffee shop does have its perks (free coffee, for starters) there are definitely some downsides. Most of these problems arise from dealing with customers.  I have compiled a list of guidelines that every coffee consumer should abide by in order to make you and your barista’s days a whole lot brighter.

1. Do know what you would like to order by the time you reach the counter.

Most of the time we are busy and there is a significant line behind you, so you should know your order when you approach the register. The best thing ever is when a customer comes up and orders their drink without me having to ask a single question of “What size?”, “Would you like that sweetened?”, or “Whip cream on that?”

2. Don’t change your order after I’ve already taken it and most likely rung you up.

This isn’t the end of the world, but it would help greatly if you wouldn’t do this to us. A majority of the time we have to start the whole order process over, which is tedious and avoidable.

3. Do be polite when ordering.

I understand that you are most likely getting coffee because you are tired and/or have had a not-so-great day. I may be feeling the same way, so it would make everyone happier if you could just order your drink with a smile and continue on your merry way. We just want to make you coffee, so try not to kill us.

4. Don’t talk on the phone when ordering.

Just don’t.

5. Do speak up.

Most of the time the combination of music, coffee grinding, and steaming milk is continuously crammed into our ears, so it would be great if you could order your drink at an audible level. Take a hint when you see us leaning very close to you that you need to talk a bit louder.

6. Don’t order your drink hot, then claim you ordered it iced.

We will happily make you a new drink because that’s what we’re here for, but don’t be this kind of person. Trust me, we know that you ordered it hot.

7. Do clean up after yourself.

Please try not to spill sugar all over the counter, leave your straw wrappers, or spill the half and half. If you happen to, just wipe it up with a napkin or let us know.

8. Don’t freak out if we got your drink wrong.

This happens. We aren’t perfect. Obviously we try to make your drink right, but things go wrong. If we didn’t make it how you would like, just let us know in a nice way and we would be happy to make another for you!

9. Don’t leave your drink on the bar for half an hour.

I’m not sure why you would want to do this, but try not to. It’s slightly annoying for everyone.

10. Do ask us questions so we can make you happy.

I love making people happy. Its a main part of my job, and seeing smiles on people face when they get their drink is a great reward. If you are having trouble picking between your two favorites, don’t know what a mocha is, or need help in any other way please just ask us questions. We want to give you the drink you are looking for and make your day better!

I’m sure most of you are awesome people and treat everyone with respect, but as you can tell I am here today for a reason: some people are just plain rude, and thus warrants my list of rules. Sassiness aside, these do’s and don’t I have provided above are just a few tips to make your coffee shop experience a good one.  As long as you have a smile on your face, treat your barista kindly, and shoot us a quick thank you at the end,  the world will be a brighter, more caffeinated place.

Hello there! My name is Melissa and I am a sophomore Business major at Cal Poly. I am from a small beach town in sunny Southern California. Technically I am an introvert, but I absolutely love people. My favorite things in the world are the sound of waves, the scent of pine trees, and Grumpy Cat. I am very quirky, a big daydreamer, and I will probably bake you cookies if you ask.
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