To many folks, a barista is just a faceless person who hands over some coffee before the sleep is wiped from their eyes in the morning. In reality, any caffeine addict should appreciate that a barista is the gatekeeper to a perfect latte, macchiato, or Americano. How much do you know about your barista? Here are a few insights into what it’s really like to serve up coffee treats for a living. Oh, and some advice on how to order your drink so you get what you really want.
Yes, They are Trained to Make Coffee
Your barista might have more training than you realize. In fact, Starbucks baristas must attend two weeks of professional training before they can serve up a Venti Frappuccino, soy latte, or drink made from Starbucks Verismo Coffee Pods. The baristas not only learn about the history of coffee, but must learn the entire menu and study proper technique. This training is all done to ensure that your espresso is just right and your milk is always whipped into perfect condition. Even your local mom-and-pop coffee shop barista has probably been mentored by more seasoned baristas, learning the ins and outs of perfecting each drink.
They Appreciate Kindness More Than You Know
A little kindness generally goes a long way, and your relationship with your barista is no exception. Whether you are ordering a single-serve coffee or a more complex concoction, remember your “Pleases” and “Thank You’s.” Baristas may even be prone to playing favorites – to become a favorite patron and receive extra special service, remember to tip your barista and be respectful. Baristas love their jobs, but they don’t appreciate customers who bark complicated orders out of the side of their mouths while on a cell phone. Put down your phone and give your barista a smile!
They Might Just Spill Secrets…If You Ask
Baristas know that a large specialty coffee may only have more milk than a medium and no more espresso. Or that your favorite low fat, vegan pastry is still chock full of sugar and not that healthy of a choice. If you ask you barista the honest truth, they might spill the secrets about the menu. They can also shed light on the best way to order something. Did you know that if you want less milk in your drink you can ask for a “dry” coffee? Or that you should never call something a Venti size outside of Starbucks? Use each coffee shop’s lingo and ask your barista about how they refer to certain special orders so you can order more efficiently in the future.
Whether your barista serves up a drink made from coffee pods, an espresso machine, or a shaker – they hold the key to your coffee nirvana. Show some respect, offer your change as a tip, and you just may earn yourself an extra shot or some creative foam artwork on your next trip.
Lena Simon is a coffee lover who once worked in a small coffee shop. An avid writer, she likes to look into the lives of real people, and then report what she finds online. You can read her interesting posts on many websites and blogs.