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Being an annoying customer leaves a bad taste in a barista's mouth. And it might result in a bad taste in your mouth, too.
A bit of background to this week's article may be rather helpful. I've been a barista for several years. In my time I've met a lot of wonderful, charming and respectful customers on a daily basis. They have a chat, ask you how you're doing, leave a tip and wish you a productive and energetic day. These customers appreciate your work in preparing their favourite cup of coffee in the morning before work, during lunch when they need to get out of the office, or in the evenings before they return home to their (stressful) families.
Then there are those (not specifically one type of customer, it includes everyone: business men/women, housewives, parents with kids, foreigners, locals...) that come in, moan, complain and bugger off making you feel like you're worthless. So what should you do to not piss off your barista?
Do know what you would like order before you arrive at the counter. If you say "hm, not sure yet actually" and baristas reply with "no worries, take your time", they actually mean hurry up, order, and get out.
Don't complain to your barista about the price of drinks, it's probably not your barista that runs the place. Ask for the manager's contact details, or leave a review. But your barista is just trying to make you happy with a quality cup. Don't blame it on them.
Do try and keep your order simple. You have no idea how much baristas love simple customers that order a plain espresso, black coffee or cappuccino. Non of that caramel frappe with cream, a double shot and chocolate sprinkles. Secretly we still judge you when you order one of those calorie bombs.
Don't talk on the phone while ordering. Especially in the mornings I'm sure there is important business to attend to, but I'm still a human being that deserves some respect and attention for 30 seconds of your day. So can the business wait for a moment? Otherwise I'll make sure I'm on the phone next time you come in to order your drink.
Do answer the questions the barista asks you. What size would you like that in? Is it for here to to take out? Card or cash? Anything else on the side? Yes, I know, that's a lot, but it avoids confusion and you coming back later saying "hey, it's not what I ordered". I once had a person say: "are you just going to keep asking what I want to boost your ego?"
Don't expect that every barista speaks Italian. That means if you're Italian, don't simply order in Italian expecting the barista to understand. "Un espresso, per favore" will probably still work, but don't try and go further than that. You know that there are also professional baristas outside of Italy, right?
Don't ask for the milk to be "extra hot". There is a science and art behind steaming milk, and heating it to over 70 degrees will burn it. Sure, I can make it extra hot, but the taste will be disgusting. After burning my hands once steaming the milk extra hot, one customer responded: "good, that's how it's supposed to be". Get out.
Do realise that when you order a rather complex coffee preparation, such as a french press, aeropress, paper filter or something of the sort, it will take slightly longer. Please be aware of this and don't keep asking when your haute cafe is coming!
Don't complain about your drink not being properly made, and when the barista offers to do it again, to say "sorry, I don't have time" and to rush off. This "hit and run" is absolutely pointless, you just make me feel really bad about myself without having the opportunity to correct the coffee you asked for.
Do leave a tip if your barista is friendly, respectful, attentive and makes a delicious cup of coffee. Wages are not very high, and tips go straight into the pockets of baristas (you can ask them what happens to the tips if you're unsure).