11 Things That Secretly Annoy Your Barista
Learn to be an ideal customer by following basic coffee shop etiquette.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.