what your barista really thinks

by sophiespencer

I am one for introspection. I love to know why, to know how, to know the cycles driving and the assumptions prolonging everything I can. If you’re a psychoanalytical freak like me, read on. If the idea of seeing yourself through someone else’s reality gives you the skeevies, flip to creatif. There’s some fun stuff there:)

I am a barista, serving the great people of downtown Burlington at a coffee shop that will remain nameless. I work too much for my own good, which gives me a horrendous sleep schedule, a teeter totter of a work/life balance, and countless hours satisfying a never-ending stream of drink modifications and special orders. The customer is always right in customer service!! 

My main contribution to society is efficiently addicting the majority of the Burlington public. My real passion though, is judging each and every drink that shoots out of the drink ticket printer and makes its way to the pick-up bar. I see you, I know you. And here is exactly what your barista is thinking. 

First off, the good. If your go-to, everyday drink is some form of cappuccino, you are a godsend. Steaming seven ounces of milk (no more, no less) is a barista’s wet dream, extra sexy if it’s whole milk. A cappuccino is the most respectable drink order, in so many ways. If you want to make your barista happy, order a cappuccino. If you want to impress your date with a sexy ratio of espresso to milk, order a cappuccino. If you want to feel like a cool Italian man with a hot wife and a shiny red Vespa, order a cappuccino. They’re quick, they’re fun, and they let me use my favorite milk-steaming pitcher (the short and wide silver one). One caveat: if you get an almond milk cappuccino—you are going to get a shitty cappuccino, and I am judging you. More on that to come. 

Respectable also are a twelve ounce latte or a cup of drip. They’re the cappuccino you can hold and drink for a little longer, and they still provide a good opportunity for art. I smile when I see a twelve ounce whole milk latte printed from the machine, and there’s a chance you’ll get a cute little heart on your drink when I pass it over. It’s a win-win.

The bad: anything over twelve ounces, and ridiculous drink modification. 

Listen. Anything over twelve ounces of espresso and milk is plain unnecessary. Maybe, maybe I can let an iced twenty ounce drink slide, because the ice takes up considerable space. But a large, whole milk ANYTHING is an abomination. Basis for judgement, if you ask me. If you want your drink in two extra minutes longer than literally anything else on the menu, order the largest size possible. Chalked onto the usual drink-making time will be the mental preparation of your barista as they prepare to embark on a soul-sucking, joy-draining adventure. Get a small and make everyone—your digestive system included—all the happier. 

A plight of my barista days are the tickets that just keep printing. The orders that are spit from that printer and keep going, adding modification after modification. Your twenty ounce dry, 2% latte with half the vanilla but also a little bit of maple, will NOT be sweetly serenaded as I blow hot air into the milk by hand. It just won’t! And seeing the ticket printed with all of that bs is enough to make the blood of your beloved barista boil. That’s grounds for the shit list. I will recognize you, and busy myself when you come in just to avoid both having to take that horrendous order, and having to manifest that kind of evil into this world. 

The ugly: anything with almond milk. 

Here’s the schtick with almond milk: it is flavored water. Steaming it is a loud, unsatisfying nightmare, and art is impossible. Just for the frustration of the experience alone, ordering a hot drink with almond milk is an automatic spot on my own personal shit list. I will remember. I am not one to spit in a drink (it’s too obvious with a mask://), but I will be talking shit about you to my coworkers. We are the gatekeepers to your addiction. Don’t piss us off. 
Bottom line: your baristas judge you. Most of you little caffeine-addicted freaks are cool. If you’ve committed the evils I wrote of above though, you’re pushing it. We know you. We make your drinks. You suckle from our tit.

Categories: 8, february 22 2021, sophie spencer

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