20 Bafflements of a Barista

I’ve been a barista for awhile now.  (Oh, you didn’t know? I find that hard to believe.)  If I had to guess, I’d say it has been a collective 18 or so months.  In that time I’ve worked in a few different shops, all with different vibes and sorts of clientele.  Sure, I am occasionally unhappy with something but is anyone ever really happy with the entirety of their work? I doubt it. But I digress, I am drawn to barista-ing.  The craftsmanship of someone who actually knows what they’re doing is just a pleasure to watch.  At it’s peak, like any form of food or drink, barista-ing is an art. You are presenting a five senses symphony for some dude who happens to be tired and have 4 bucks.

But even with all my training, time, and burns, I still find there are the occasional things that just baffle me.  From the register to the bar, front of the counter to behind it, and from the window to the wall there are things I may never understand in the world of the coffee shop.  Here are my top twenty:

  1. Why anyone orders decaf.
  2. Why decaf is even a thing. I’m tempted to stop here.
  3. How my hands aren’t burn proof yet.
  4. If there is really any difference between a small latte and a Flat White.  No seriously, I am legitimately confused on this one. Is it just a tiny double shot latte?
  5. This is a macchiato.  It is small. It has no room for caramel. Deal with it.

    This is a macchiato. It is small. It has no room for caramel. Deal with it.

    Why Starbucks felt the need to confuse everyone on what a macchiato is.

  6. Why some people think it’s socially acceptable to be on their phone when they order.
  7. Why those same people think I’m the rude one and put their finger up at me to “wait a second.”
  8. Why, in general, people are terrible litterbugs.  I have to clean those floors assholes.
  9. Why there are so many goddamn pennies in the drawer! Who is paying with all these pennies?
  10. Speaking of, where did all my five and ten dollar bills go?  It’s like magic.
  11. What is so confusing to customers about the idea of simple syrup. It’s literally sugar water. Two ingredients.
  12. That guy I saw putting honey in his coffee.  Is that a thing I’m just not aware of?
  13.  My seemingly supernatural ability to have twelve shots of espresso in one day and zero the next with no physical or mental repercussions.  I’m like the Archer of coffee.
  14. Soooooo day one.

    Soooooo day one.

    People who make crazy impressive latte art.  I bow to your milk manipulating abilities dragon making lady.

  15. That look of bewilderment you’ll occasionally get from customers when they hear they have to pour their own milk and sugar. Damn you Dunkin’ Donuts!
  16. People who spend five bucks on a drink, sip it for an hour, and give back the dishes with two-thirds their coffee left.  Seems like a waste.
  17. Consistent non-tippers.  If you don’t have change once in a while that’s cool. No worries bud, it happens. However, if you’re that guy or gal who never seems to have any change to spare, I hate you.
  18. Why the concept of a line is so absurd to some people. Yes, your drink is coming.  Did you, by chance, not see the other seven customers in front of you?
  19. How on earth Starbucks baristas deal with all the biddies.  Also how they memorize all the ingredients of a frappuccino.  They’re magicians I tell you.
  20. How the students of Boston University haven’t developed a nasty involuntary twitch by now.

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