11 Things That Secretly Annoy Your Barista

Learn to be an ideal customer by following basic coffee shop etiquette.

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Woman typing text message on smart phone in a cafe.
Shutterstock / Jacob Lund

Ordering while on your phone

While your cell phone may seem like an extension of your body or act as a safety blanket to avoid social interaction, please put your phone down while ordering. Real human eye contact—and perhaps a smile and some small talk—will make the ordering process more pleasant and less awkward for both you and the barista. Trust me… That email from a needy client and your BFF’s gossip text do not require instantaneous replies, and your Instagram feed won’t change much in one minute.

Keep this in mind at coffee shops and restaurants, too. Here are 10 things restaurant hosts wish you’d stop doing.

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Customers queuing to order and pay at a coffee shop
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Assuming baristas know the alleged “secret menu”

This may come as a shock to some, but not all baristas are familiar with the Butterbeer Frappuccino or the Peanut Butter Cup Latte or the Sparkly Magical Unicorn Color-Changing Surprise. Off-the-menu items are exactly that: not on the menu. If you desire a customized drink, be sure to be specific. As long as you know what modifications are in the “secret menu” drink before you order, your barista will be happy to make it for you.

Check out these Starbucks secret menu items before your next trip.

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Woman is insulter with offensive words of stranger sitting with laptop.
Shutterstock / Cookie Studio

Being rude

We totally get it. You need your caffeine fix to function like a normal human in the morning. However, keep in mind that if you’re having a rough morning or are anticipating a not-so-great day at work, it’s important to not take your morning stress out on your barista—or anyone, for that matter. Always be kind and respectful, even if just for a few minutes. After all, you never know what kind of day the person who’s about to make your coffee has had.

Being polite goes a long way—but find out what seemingly polite habits can actually be pretty annoying.

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Group of friends chatting and using laptop in cafe at the coffee shop cafe in university talking and laughing together.
Shutterstock / Pond's Memories

Talking loudly

Whether you’re having a face-to-face conversation with a friend or chatting on the phone, it’s still polite to use your “indoor voice.” Many people come to coffee shops for creative inspiration, to read, to listen to music (with headphones!), to get away from the hectic “real world” or (gasp!) to simply enjoy a hot cuppa, so be sure to respect their wish for a little peace and quiet. Baristas are not librarians; they shouldn’t have to ask you to take it down a notch.

Love coffee? Here are 10 unexpected ingredients that take it to the next level.

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Woman ordering at the counter in a cafe
Shutterstock / Monkey Business Images

Wildly complicated drink orders

One of the best perks of most coffee shops is that customers have the freedom to customize their drink orders. However, if your absolute favorite go-to drink involves a seemingly never-ending list of ingredients, picky preferences, drastic omissions and other ultra-specific qualities, you may be flagged as a high-maintenance customer. Then, there may be some cringing among the staff whenever you walk in. Why not learn how to make your favorite coffee shop drinks at home instead.

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People standing at the counter of a modern coffee shop
Shutterstock / mavo

Being indecisive at the counter

It’s normal to feel somewhat out of place if you’re visiting a coffee shop for the first time. It’s also okay to take a couple extra minutes to review the unfamiliar menu before approaching the counter to place your order. This way, you won’t hold up the line or make it awkward for both you and the barista. If you have a question for or would like a recommendation from a barista, go ahead and ask! They are there to provide those services, in addition to preparing you the perfect drink.

Find out the dining habits that secretly annoy your server.

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Diverse people looking at thoughtful frustrated man in cafe
Shutterstock / fizkes

Being impatient

The woman who ordered her Americano after you received her drink before your cappuccino was called. What gives?! Be patient. Perhaps your drink order required a little extra time to prepare, or the baristas had to go back into the kitchen to grab a specific ingredient like the type of milk you wanted. Contrary to how things may appear, there is a lot going on behind the counter, and there are times in which orders aren’t ready on a first come, first served basis.

Keep your cool with a slice of this frozen mocha pie recipe.

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portrait of a female waitress serving coffee to a male customer
Shutterstock / Odua Images

Asking for multiple remakes

If you ordered a vanilla latte and notice that it tastes like pumpkin spice, absolutely ask your barista to remake your order. However, don’t take advantage of this by asking baristas to make a drink over and over.

Wonder what the pumpkin spice latte really is? We tried them all to find out.

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beautiful woman order a coffee to barista in a coffee shop
Shutterstock / People Image Studio

Not being specific

Believe it or not, baristas aren’t mind-readers. It may take a bit of practice and patience, but while placing your order, be specific about the type of drink, the size and any other customizations you prefer. Try to prevent the barista having to ask a ton of questions. Of course, they want to prepare the best drink for you, but being upfront to begin with makes the experience a whole lot smoother.

You need to stop discarding your used coffee grounds—here’s why.

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Coffee Cup on table Cafe shop Interior Blur people background
Shutterstock / VTT Studio

Leaving your dishes and trash out when you leave

While you’re at a coffee shop, you’re encouraged to make yourself at home. However, some people take that sentiment a bit too literally. If your home or apartment has used bowls, plates and mugs lying around, that’s your business. Leave your space tidy by wiping off any crumbs, cleaning up any accidental spills or mug rings, and taking the extra trip to the counter, dish rack, garbage can or recycling bin before you leave.

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Smiling young man cleaning his table at coffee shop
Shutterstock / Jelena Danilovic

Hogging tablespace at peak hours

We all need personal space and room to stretch, but if you’re at a coffee shop all by yourself, opt for a smaller table or a comfy chair instead of a table meant for a larger party or as a communal study or work area. Fewer things are as uncomfortable as asking someone to move because you need a spot. If you do plan on staying awhile, try to avoid spreading your laptop, papers and books all over the place.

Ceara Milligan
Ceara “Kiwi” Milligan is a professional marketing strategist and copywriter who is proud to call Milwaukee home. She loves baking, cooking, writing, listening to music, dancing, playing and hosting trivia, watching college basketball (Go Marquette!), telling lame jokes, and petting every dog that crosses her path.