By Katie Stewart |
There is a certain attraction to the sound of the espresso grinder. The machine is just quiet enough to hear customers close to the bar, yet just loud enough to make it impossible to hear someone behind you. Some customers are in a hurry to get on the road or to grab a café table for that special meeting. Others may be at the end of their career and are there to simply soak up sweet time, the fragrance of warm coffee and the bustle around them.
The coffee bean grinder blasts as loud and obnoxious as a muffler taken out of an exhaust pipe as it roars through the fresh pile of little dark, oily beans of pleasure. The steaming wand of the espresso bar, like a wand of milk magic, tears through the two percent milk preparing for the most perfect soft and airy blanket of clouds to marry the fresh espresso.
Can you tell I love coffee and being a barista? It was a bittersweet decision to leave my post as a barista at Starbucks. I loved my fellow partners, but I needed to progress to something that aligned more closely with my career goals. Being a barista is definitely not a glamorous job. But regardless of leaving work sticky with all sorts of ingredients, having sore feet from standing and mental fatigue from the hypersensitivity to multitasking, sometimes I really miss it.
Of course, I am still the barista in my house, but there is truly something special about preparing the delicious coffee and espresso. I was a barista at Starbucks for two years. I developed a wonderful relationship with the many regulars and other partners at various stores. But with every sincere, kind coffee-loving regular comes with the impatient, rude and condescending customer.
There are two dirty words to most baristas that I know: Frappuccino and PSL. I will write it if I must: pumpkin spice latte. Now, I am a traditional coffee drinker. I like my coffee black and only sometimes with cream and no sugar — ever. Americanos are my second favorite. Now don’t get me wrong, most other Starbucks drinkers have 5 pumps of this, 2 splashes of that and 2 ½ packets of raw sugar. But once the pumpkin spice latte arrives for the fall season, it brings out the bad in a lot of people.
Yes, yes I know, I myself LOVE to drink coffee or a hot latte on a cold fall day. But we are in Texas people. Just because it’s fifty degrees outside does not constitute your bombardment of our store with your exercised impatience. I feel for my fellow baristas. You would be surprised how often customers are so rude simply because they have not gotten their pumpkin spice latte in time.
I miss being a barista, but I do not miss being a barista in the fall! Remember that when you get in line for your chestnut praline latte, pumpkin spice latte, caramel brulée, or whatever your vice: there is a living human being behind that apron. We care and are kind and considerate to you. So, give your barista a smile. I mean it’s supposed to be the holiday season, right? Raise a glass (or recyclable cup) to your barista. They’ve worked hard to make it through the dreaded PSL season just for you.
Cheers to my fellow baristas… may you all make it through another holiday season!