As many of you know, I am a complete coffee snob. I love independent cafes, fresh tamped espresso, and the smell of steamed milk. I love coffee so much that I work with it for a living. I currently hold the position of head barista at SPoT Coffee in downtown Toronto, a stone’s throw from the Roger’s Centre. I see people from all walks of life coming into the cafe and I honestly adore serving them. I’ve made lattes for professional baseball players. web designers, and actors, and it’s a rewarding experience. We also reach out to our local community by donating to organizations who work with the homeless. My co-workers and I spend our mornings with some of the greatest people. Our regulars come in early before their day’s work to talk to us over coffee. We hear about their lives, we laugh together, and I’ve made some pretty great connections with people who live in the neighbourhood. I can safely say that I genuinely love my job.
That being said, it has it’s share of frustrations. There are little things that customers don’t usually notice that actually make our jobs considerably more difficult. This might be easy to dismiss if it weren’t an overwhelming pandemic in the cafe world. If you’ve worked in a cafe, you’ll understand. And if you’re a mindful customer, you notice when the patron in front of you is inflicted with this syndrome. So here I am, giving you a list of things you may or may not notice when you’re buying your skinny half-sweet split latte, to help you win the love and adoration of your local barista.
1. Wait to Order Your Drink if You’re on the Phone.
I get it. You’re walking to work or in the middle of talking to your mom and you’re just jones-ing for a chai latte. So you stick your iPhone between your cheek and your shoulder and try to order. Or you’re texting your boyfriend about dinner plans instead of talking to who’s in front of you. I think it’s safe to say this is one of the barista’s biggest pet peeves. First, you’re not even making eye contact with the person you’re ordering from, and we both know your phone isn’t going to make your latte for you. Secondly, we like to give you more than just a cup of coffee. For people like me who work in the service industry, we LIKE working with people. The smile, the genuine interest in how your day is going, and the help we can offer you is included in the price of your 5 dollar drink. Also, it’s just common courtesy. So next time you get a phone call in the middle of the line, just take a second to finish up your call. We understand. And we’re rather happy to wait.
2. Hot Coffee and Garbage Does Not MIx
Pouring your coffee in the garbage can result in a melted bag, full of holes, which then leaks out coffee/trash sludge that ends up all over the floor and my jeans. Please for the love of Pete, whoever Pete is, just ask us to give you some more room in your cup, and you’ll be on your way. We don’t bite!
3. Wait Your Turn
Often we forget to order everything we wanted when we get to the cash. Somewhere between skinny vanilla and extra-hot no-foam, we forget to ask for that glass of water to wash it all down with. So we go back to the front of the line and shout to the barista while she’s in the middle of helping another guest, to get that glass of water. However, you’ve just thrown off the order she’s working on, interrupted the person who waited just as long as you, and chances are you’re still going to have to wait for that water. I know it sucks, but you have to queue up like everyone else.
4. Know Where You Are
I luckily do not work at Starbucks or Timmies, and we don’t have frappacino’s or french vanilla’s. However, we do have a massive menu of delicious drinks that we’d be more than happy to make for you!
5. Remember What You Ordered
This is actually a really common issue. It’s like we get amnesia between the register and the bar and all of the sudden we’re taking Bob’s Tall Mocha instead of the tea we ordered. Then people get upset that their drink is gone. Then we have to remake it. Then we have to dump things out. Then we’re behind by three chits and everyone is left waiting longer than necessary. Just remember, if I call out a large coffee and you ordered tea, it’s not your drink. But I can assure you yours is on the way!
6. The Hutch
This is the last one before I sign off for the evening, and it’s a big one. The hutch. The stand. Whatever your local cafe call’s it. It’s the thing with the milk pitchers and the sugar packages on it, where you can dress up your americano in whatever way you please. Please, please pleaseeeeeee read this part closely. Sugar and cream doesn’t not belong all over the hutch. When you spill cream and sugar, we provide napkins so you can clean up after yourself. I know it may seem small, but it shows that you respect the person coming in behind you, as well as your barista. We have to clean up after ourselves at home, so we should do it in public too, right?
Anyways, these are just a few helpful tricks to ensure that you’re barista’s adore you. Use these tips and you’ll be sure to become their favourite. We love serving you, and we love even more when you respect our jobs. We want to make every guest feel comfortable and at home, and we need everyone to do their part. All this being said, thank you for loving coffee just as much as we do! On behalf of barista’s everywhere, we look forward to making you your next cappuccino! We’ll even try our best to make your day a little bit brighter.
Until next time,