Opinion pieces

Your Barista is Not a Robot

Australia is full of coffee addicts, and some even consider Melbourne coffee to be up there with the best in the world, but I’ve something to say: brilliant coffee doesn’t just magically appear. There are humans involved, baristas like me, who eventually get pissed off at customers who continue making the same mistakes. Many things can irritate us and as someone who’s worked in the industry for far longer than I should have for someone my age, I feel it my duty to give you the low-down on what to remember the next time you visit one of us.

We’re not memory champions

If your barista remembers your name and exact order along with the orders of 250 other regular customers, don’t take it for granted. Don’t tell the person taking your order that ‘she already knows it’, because that may be true, but a) doesn’t help me charge you the right amount, and b) cafe’s have systems. That involve writing down your coffee so we don’t get it wrong. If you quite literally can’t remember what you drink, coffee’s obviously not that critical to your day.

Don’t jump the queue

There’s a legend at my previous workplace that a certain bigwig political leader once tried to cut to the front of the line, even though said politician has always been pretty clear about Australia not accepting queue jumpers. Pretty sure y’all can work out who we’re talking about, and he was swiftly sent to the end of the line. This doesn’t just go for people in charge of whether or not I can ever afford to pay off my HECS debt. Your time is just as valuable as everyone elses, and no, we aren’t trying to make you late for your Very Important Meeting. We’re just trying to make good coffee and serve everyone in order.

Don’t throw cash and runIMG_9272

The amount of people I’ve had slam shrapnel on the counter and scarper off only to find they’ve short changed me is ridiculous and rage inducing. It’s not an accident and we’re not stupid. Feel free to throw too much next time and aim the excess at the tip jar. Side note: in Australia we tend not to expect tips, but we really do appreciate them. Send your cash money our way, folks. It’ll help us with that HECS debt.

Don’t be pretentious

Hey hipsters, it’s not a competition of who can have the most complicated coffee order. I know the days of the cappuccino-loving early 2000’s are over, but if you have to take a second breath to rattle off your soy-mocha-with-weak-coffee-and-strong-chocolate-three-quarters-full-without-a-lid, then it’s time to make a life assessment. We might not hate you, but we sure don’t appreciate it.

Nobody has it out for you

Mistakes happen in every industry, and as with all, we’ll try and correct them when they happen. Taking a slightly lukewarm coffee or a delayed sandwich as a personal attack is doing nothing for anyone. I’ve seen baristas make five perfect coffees in under one minute during rush hour, so people are genuinely working really hard to try to get you your morning cup of happiness- and don’t need more pressure than the line of 30 coffee dockets staring them in the face.

As hospitality workers we genuinely try to do our jobs to the best of our ability. This is made a whole lot better if you guys, customers, engage with us in a way that we can feel positive about, and don’t try to make our job any harder. It’s a symbiotic relationship after all. You need baristas, we need customers, and we both need coffee.

Jasmin Ashton

Originally published at hijacked.com.au.

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One thought on “Your Barista is Not a Robot

  1. Very cool reading 🙂 My daughter is a Barista (and has a Diploma of Hosp’) so I can understand where you are coming from, have also seen it for myself occasionally when visiting her at work.

    The worst story she told me about was (after her approx 4 years at the same establishment) ‘high on’ ridiculous situation that I’d ever heard of. I also come from a Sales and Marketing background. A customer had complained in writing and quite ‘in depth’, bemoaning that it had also ruined their trip..? They had obviously returned home, about a 5 hour drive away (apparently judging by the letter) and agonized over the ridiculous letter. (Did they expect a free meal next time I wonder, lol) It must have been a big adventure for them, and/or they ‘mustn’t get out much’

    My daughter apparently had not smiled at them immediately / greeted them as they walked in! Which is not even logistically possible from the counter. (or necessary)

    Unbelievable what some Barista’s have to put up with so I’m glad I stumbled across your story Jasmin 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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