Confessions from a barista

double tall, half-decaf, long shot, no foam, 134 degree, four pump vanilla, 2½ sugar latte
double tall, half-decaf, long shot, no foam, 134 degree, four pump vanilla, 2½ sugar latte
Here in Seattle, we love our coffee. The customization of a cup of coffee has become equivalent to that of a cocktail. Even terms like “dirty,” “dry,” and “double shot” can be used interchangeably amongst the two; just don’t expect to get the same results. In a sense, we are coffee snobs who have become known by our nametag on the side of a cup that reads “Mocha” or  “Cappuccino.”

But sometimes it can be hard not to roll your eyes when someone orders a double tall, half-decaf, long shot, no foam, 134 degree, four pump vanilla, 2½ sugar latte, and think, “That’s quite the high strung beverage.” If you can make sense of all that, then you are either a barista or that very customer.

Just like there are hipsters, bros, or thugs, baristas categorize drinks and their drinkers with a simple writing on a cup.

The High-Maintenance Drinker

These are the customers with drinks that are made to be so high-strung that it’d be blasphemy to miss a single thing or else something may come flying back in your face. An example of something like this would be the drink stated before, or a Grande cinnamon dolce latte in a Venti cup with breve (cream) on top and extra whipped cream.

Another type of this drinker would be the ones who get more of a sugar high than coffee from their beverage. The worst I’ve ever heard of is a single Venti, 7-pump vanilla, 7-pump hazelnut, breve latte with whipped cream.

The Cell Phone User

Probably the most obnoxious and rude thing that people do is using their cell phone while being helped. Not only is it disrespectful to the people serving you, but many ignore the fact that there are people behind them, and their conversation about groceries is making those people wait longer as the cell phone user struggles to make their order and get their wallet. Best not to be this person.

The Anti-Foam Clan
These people avoid foam like a disease. If any trace of frothy milk is in a drink, they will throw fits like little children. There are even a bright few who demand no foam cappuccinos even though those drinks are meant to be half foam and half milk. The fact of the matter is that nonfat or soymilk can be tricky to not get foam, as well as when the temperatures can be up to around 180 degrees.

The Game Player

These are the people who know how a company works, and takes advantage of that to get free drinks. These people can be seen when they drink an entire beverage, come back and say that it was made incorrectly and would like a free drink. Some even get tricky and go from store to store on a daily basis having different coffee shops remake their drink every time because another made it wrong. There is also the occasional person who will claim that someone took his or her drink—everyday.

The Regular
You see them daily, you address each other on a first name basis, and they know everyone in the shop. These are the regulars. Some tip, some don’t. It’s good to know that these people enjoy how you make their drink as well as the people who made them.