Nine Reasons Your Barista Hates You

Categories: Coffee

angry coffee 350.jpg
Chris Blakely/Flickr
​I've been a barista for almost a decade and I've seen the best and worst customers have to offer. Caffeine can be nasty: Deprived people do crazy stuff.

Here's a list of activities that draw the ire of the person behind the espresso machine. Print it out, keep it in your pocket, learn it and be secure in the knowledge that you haven't made yourself an enemy you'll see every morning.

1. "Not having your coffee yet" isn't a good excuse for anything.

It's early, you are tired and you haven't had your first hit of caffeine yet. Poor child. This does not make it okay to have forgotten your money, or what drink you were supposed to get for your hungover boyfriend, or to spill an entire 12-ounce cup of coffee on the ground. If you can't function without a cup of overpriced coffee roiling about in your belly, sequester yourself until you have had it.

Coffee Break550.jpg
DC Comics
You know your order and have exact change? Super!
2. You are not prepared.
You have been waiting in line for 10 minutes, the menu dangling above you, yet as you sloth-walk to the register you stare at me with eyes agog and mouth ajar, no knowledge whatsoever of what you might order. I'm not the only angry one: that line of customers behind you is building up a solid head of impatient steam.

3. You are still not prepared.
If you know what you want, know how much it costs. Scramble around in your purse prior to the drink being handed to you. Rifling through your receipts and empty gum wrappers for a nickel tip does nothing but tighten the coil of my anger one more notch. And who knows when that thing is going to snap?

4. Money is passed from hand-to-hand.

You and I, we are both human beings. When you carelessly dump a wad of sweaty dollar bills on to the counter in front of me instead of gingerly placing them in my calloused hand, it makes me feel like a badly lit vending machine. Or a hooker. I'm not paid enough to pretend to be either.

5. You will never learn how to make latte art.

I pour between 100 and 150 latte drinks a day. The intricate muscular pattern required to pour rosettas in the top of your micro-foamed latte has been digitally encoded into my soul. How do I do it? Hours and hours of standing behind a glowing hot espresso machine pouring drinks. Can I teach you how to do it? If you can afford to quit your high-end finance job and dedicate 20 grueling hours a week to delicately dumping steamed milk into ristretto shots of espresso, then yes, yes I can. If not, next please.

6. No photographs please.
Latte art is pretty and seemingly complicated, I understand that. What I don't understand is the customer standing on a stool, iPhone in hand, trying to get the best angle on the heart I just sliced into his cappuccino while a line of 30 people stews behind. Can't stand the thought of never seeing that dairy-based tulip ever again? Order another drink.

7. Stop staring.

Standing behind a counter is the food industry equivalent of being in a cage. This feeling of imprisonment is not helped by you lurking two feet to the left of the register surreptitiously ogling me as I prepare your quad-shot soy latte. The continued presence of your beady eyes on my back will not speed up the delivery of your drink. Kindly step to the rear of the shop and loiter with the other caffeine addicts.

8. What did you do to that condiment table?

Okay, you're excited. You have your coffee and you are at the condiment station shoveling sugar and cream into the murky abyss and you are just so close to having that coffee in your mouth. This does not justify you spraying cream in concentric circles or leaving a foam- and sugar-caked spoon plastered to the table.

9. This ain't a restaurant. Bus your damn table.

I am not a waiter. I do not walk away from my shift with a bulge of $20 bills spilling from my pocket. When you are done with your delicious pastry and coffee, I am not expected to sweep in and usher your discarded dishes away. That's what you and the bus tub are for. Leaving a pile of napkins and soiled plates on the table is the equivalent of pouring a cup of coffee on the floor and walking away. It's a mess I have to clean up and it does not make me happy.

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26 comments
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Feliciak23
Feliciak23

This just sounds like someone doesn't like their job. Maybe you should quit instead of posting on the Internet about it? This is nothing diffrent than being a Waiter or waitress. You work in the food industry. Get over it.

Cv94117
Cv94117

The bussing your table thing really gets me.  It's common courtesy.  A lot of small places can't afford staff to clean tables so they have to clean up when no one is at the counter - resulting in new customers having to sit at a table full of someone else's dirty crap.  Clean up after yourself.

And #11:  You have no right to save a table the minute you walk through the door when 20 people are standing in line waiting to order.  Find a table or seat after you get your drink and are ready to use it.  Again, common courtesy.  Wait your turn.

Emily
Emily

Sure it's all part of the job, and it should be expected asa barista, but it shouldn’t always be that way. You shouldn’t have to deal withrude customers and clean up after adults who want to make a mess like a fouryear old... and throw tantrums like one too...I am I barista, and I love making coffee and pleasing people who appreciate theeffort and good quality I put in just for them, but it becomes tiring and oldwhen people can’t use manners, respect you and treat you like another humanbeing while you are trying really hard to still be polite, smile like an idiotand use every ounce of self control to not throw the coffee in their face andwalk out. A smile and a thankyou go a very long way, and just one rude idiotperson can ruin your entire day.

Joe
Joe

Even in the corporate world, one has to learn to work with all kinds of people. So, with regard to your point, yes, you need to learn how to deal with rude customers, and to clean up after them, and to stay calm when they throw tantrums. 

Jill
Jill

See, this is why you should NOT be in the coffee business. You're obviously burned out. Leave. Find a new career and get passionate about it. I own 2 shops and not one of my baristas is sarcastic, rude, flighty, or arrogant. They are there to serve an excellent product, joyfully. Our motto is make the customer feel welcome upon arrival and special when they depart. We care.

iloveyummycoffee
iloveyummycoffee

Funny, these are actually the same nine reasons I (might) hate my barista! get over yourself!

Dave Lieberman
Dave Lieberman

Can we add #10, please? Number ten is people who aren't paying attention in the line and don't hear when the counterperson, in an effort to keep the barista working efficiently, collects orders.

"What can we get you, sir?"

"..."

"Hi, excuse me, sir, would you like to order a drink?"

"..."

"Excuse me, sir, is there a drink I can get started for you?"

"..."

(...okay, never mind...) "Hi, ma'am, what can we get started for you?"

"A medium lat..."

"HEY! You skipped me!"

Richard
Richard

Fuck you! You clean the bathrooms, wipe the counters, mop the floor and wash the dishes because that's your job. Well, so is cleaning a table once in a while. Boo, fucking, hoo! You have a tip jar, bus a table. I suppose I should tip you for doing your job, you ingrate? If I sat down, you came to take my order, brought my correct order to the table and brought me condiments and more napkins and refilled my drink, then we can talk about leaving a tip. Until then, shut the fuck up, get paid more than minimum wage, get benefits (if you work at that chain) and do your fucking job and be happy you have one, you miserable loser.

Sewbed
Sewbed

Richard seems a bit ignorant how things work.  The barista's responsibilities don't necessarily include table service, mopping, washing dishes etc. I can see that it's confusing for people like Richard though, probably have never worked in the service industry before. If there is table service, yes, a waiter will come and take your order, bring drinks, clear table.  However, coffee shops usually don't have a waitstaff/table service, so it's proper etiquette to clean up after yourself.  Richard seems overly sensitive to this issue, so guessing he has been called out on his  ignorance and condescending view of people working in the service industry.

Barista
Barista

if you can use only the F word and nothing else , stay at home and shut up, maybe YOU should work 3 month only in  a cafeshop, and then we let you talk again.But its more likely that people like you,  are the once we would like  chuck their  coffe in the face.

Pat
Pat

From experience, #5 re: latte art is more about leaving the worker alone to work versus peppering him/her with questions. One person a day would be fine, a few a day tolerable, but a few an hour, especially when it's busy, is fucking annoying.

Most small coffee places don't have made up sizes and "BS fake Italian names." That's reserved for large corporate places. Don't go there.

And if drinking instant coffee or Yuban at home fulfills your coffee needs, great! But why post on an article aimed at folks who frequent coffee joints? Is venting about someone venting useful? (I know I'm venting about venters of venters now, but really, I'm curious. Why do people comment when it doesn't have anything to do with them?)

Joe
Joe

Yeah, I love my barista with attitude. Not. 

Really, get over yourselves. You make an overpriced cup of coffee. Try to smile when you do it. 

Philip Harrell
Philip Harrell

For coffee drinkers, you may find this useful (and maybe even hilarious)...

Philip Harrell
Philip Harrell

For coffee lovers, you will find these tips useful (and hilarious)...

UrbanUndead
UrbanUndead

It's been a long & complexity-encumbered couple of decades since I got paid to make coffee for people, it would seem. Back in ye olden dayes, the list was:

1. Don't tip2 - 9. See #1

A Retort to Your Rant
A Retort to Your Rant

I would agree if the drinks didn't cost more than a beer and I tip the same amount to both my barrister and my barman. I would probably wouldn't be perplexed in the ordering line if you lot didn't come up with some BS fake Italian names, sizes, and rules for things. There are only 2 or 3 coffee related products I require in life.

A Turkish Coffee and an Italian Double Espresso, at a push if I'm homesick of Europe a French Bowl of coffee with several butter croissants to dip into for breakfast. None of these need to be watered down with milk or wasteful chemicals or things that can only be described the largest insult to scones this side of the commonwealth, it is a coffeehouse not a tea-house stop serving it! A panettone would have been the proper thing to eat.

After then all I would hope for is a place to sit and discuss, maybe with friends or strangers about the current state of affairs of things, which was the tradition of coffee houses from 1700 - 1990. If you wish to come to do work that is fine too as is the tradition of writers and playwrights. However what I do insist on, is not to treat me like cattle and shove me out of the door the moment I hand you money nor to favor people with Mac Air's playing on twitter, FB, and blogging about their angst problems over people that if given the chance would spend more if left in the comfort of their chair. This I can contest to as the local Italian coffee shop sees customers drop $40 a visit just to stay for the social activity of being there.

Melvin Yoder
Melvin Yoder

You could make a list of gripes for pretty much anything. Nine reasons why bus drivers hate you. Nine reasons why Burger King employees hate you. Nine reasons why bank tellers hate you. Nine reasons why meter maids hate you. Basically, we could amass a list of millions of reasons for why people hate each other. Nine reasons terrorists hate freedom. Nine reasons I hate "Everybody Loves Raymond." Nine reasons people hate baristas. One reason why people should stay home and brew Yuban. Sheee-it.

Gpwh2os
Gpwh2os

Pour my coffee and shut your pie hole.  Reminder - you pour people coffee for a living!  Please get over yourself you useless hipster. 

barista
barista

i accidentally liked it, i meant to reply.   What do YOU do for work christine?

Northsummmit
Northsummmit

totally agree! simmer down barristas, y'all are far from important in our daily lives. there's no need to analyze the frustrations with your life like this. 

APR
APR

clearly this post is meant to be a (at least somewhat) humorous rant. Everyone has the right to their opinion and there is nothing worse than being told your job is unimportant. That is incredibly disrespectful and regardless of where you land on each of this issues addressed in this article, it creates a dialogue about topics which may otherwise remain unnoticed. If you would like to contest them, fine. good actually, that is how people learn and grow. but do not demean someone's occupation, it's tacky, insensitive, ignorant and ugly. a job like this contributes something and it does so in a way which is rarely recognized, the last thing that needs to be done is for jackasses like yourself to further demean a thankless job that someone takes pride in and does everyday. It's a service, if you don't appreciate it, then don't partake, but that doesn't give you the right to bitch about it. 

barista
barista

your all important daily lives!!! WOW!!

Why the ego?
Why the ego?

Latte art is not hard. It takes a morning of (serious, focused) practice for most people to texture milk reasonably and do competent hearts and rosettas. I've seen talented people placing in latte art battles with decent competition after a month working behind the machine. I've seen dedicated home baristas win them too. Tell your customers to practice, practice, practice (and have fun). And drop the attitude.

(Pulling consistent, good shots that maximize the flavor of the coffee you are working with... that is hard. Most people I know who can do that don't talk down to people and boast. They evangelize coffee because they have lived it and they see the beauty in it.)

Anonymous
Anonymous

Really? You HATE me because I will never learn to make latte art?

Hmmmm, maybe I should start working on that list of nine reasons I dislike my arrogant, holier-than-thou barista...

Barbara | Creative Culinary
Barbara | Creative Culinary

You have made some good points. Points that some customers could make as well...oh, except that design part.

The ones that KILL me are those that have somehow managed to come up with a coffee choice that has more words than most can really remember. I like an Americano or a plain latte...maybe so I don't spend all of our time allotted to me just making sure you got my 'caramel macchiato skinny with matcha over ice with a touch of  soy and sweet and low' just right. OK, I made that up but it actually sounds very much like some I hear!

People are too often self indulgent and rude. I have made a point whether at restaurants or coffee bars or whatever to treat the staff there with the same respect I give everyone else.I don't get how rude people actually expect that behavior to get them anywhere; I've found that some respect goes a much longer way towards getting what I want...in all areas of life!

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