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9 Things Baristas Would Like To Tell Coffee-Lovers

9 Things Baristas Would Like To Tell Coffee-Lovers

The world clings to coffee. In fact, 2.25 billion cups of coffee are consumed every day in the world!

We drink coffee to be more productive at work, to get us through the night shift, and sometimes just to get ourselves out the front door in the morning. We grab a cup to go on road trips, hack our hotel room coffee pots, and indulge. Whether it’s a pour over or a fresh french press, coffee is widely popular and fairly addicting. It’s here to stay.

Over the past several years, I’ve worked as a barista at four different coffee shops, some local and small, some hugely corporate. The barista lifestyle takes elements of retail work, the face to face communication skills of customer service, the multitasking and sense of urgency of kitchen work and smashes it all into one job.

At its core, working in a coffee shop is a pretty simple endeavor. But workplace variables often make situations more difficult than necessary. These are the things your friendly barista wishes they could tell you.

Cappuccinos and frappuccinos are two entirely different things

One drink is an Americanized, frozen, sugar-infused coffee slushie and the other is a fairly bitter, extra foamy latte.

Do you know which is which?

For my own sense of sanity, I relied on Google to give me these answers. It took a total of 30 seconds for me to find three definitions that spell it all out. Here are the pieces of the proverbial coffee puzzle.

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frappuccino

    cappuccino

      frappe

        Frappe is the term for an iced or blended coffee drink, typically topped with whipped cream and some type of garnish such as sprinkles. It’s essentially a “coffee milkshake”. All frappuccinos are frappes but not all frappes are frappuccinos (you’ll only find a frappuccino at Starbucks).

        A cappuccino on the other hand is essentially a latte with lots of extra foam. If someone asks for an extra dry cappuccino it’s literally just shots of espresso and foam.

        Please let this lesson sink in: just because two things rhyme doesn’t mean that they are the same or even similar for that matter. Point in case, a cappuccino and frappuccino couldn’t be more polar opposite drinks.

        Public reading material and ‘for here’ cups aren’t your personal property

        While working at a coffee shop a few years ago, I witnessed a regular occurrence that still seems as ridiculous today as it did back then.

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        A regular customer, who we will refer to as Dick McGee, had a morning ritual that was both staggering and unsanitary. McGee would order his daily whole milk latte that he insisted be served to him in a mug–not a paper cup, which is totally understandable. I’m all for not wasting cups! However, McGee had an odd sense of entitlement associated with ‘his’ mug and ‘his’ newspaper and magazines.

        They certainly weren’t his. The reading material and ceramic mugs were for everyone to use, but that didn’t stop McGee from taking all of these items into the bathroom with him, every day. He used these items as entertainment while taking a ritualistic morning poop. We knew this was the case because the average time that the reading material would go missing was at least an hour or more.

        I don’t have the words to express how that conversation went down. Awkwardness resounded; McGee just didn’t understand the logic behind why he couldn’t take those things into the bathroom with him. But I’ll put it this way, we stopped giving him drinks in ceramic mugs, we started hiding the reading material, and we did our best to be friendly in such an atypical scenario.

        When buying drinks for your entire office, please plan ahead

        This scenario has happened to me so many times–it’s infuriating. Nothing completely throws off a crowded morning at a coffee shop more than a random drink order for the entire office. Buying a few extra drinks for your friends is one thing, but placing a 25 drink order on the spot is like a slap in the face of the morning rush and all the employees in that building.

        Furthermore, if you have a complicated drink order composed of dozens of uniquely annoying drinks, call in and place the order ahead of time. This will make every step of the process much more fluid and enjoyable for everyone involved, yourself included.

        Yes, the hot, no-room, Americano you ordered is going to be extremely hot

        Ever think about why many Americanos are double cupped by default at the majority of coffee shops? It’s because the water used in that drink is only a few degrees short of boiling in most cases. If you order a regular Americano without room, please analyze what it is you’re ordering. The drink is going to be really hot if you don’t order an iced one, end of story.

        We are champions of multitasking

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        multitasking

          Need a smoothie, three bagels with cream cheese, and five coffee drinks all on one order? No problem!

          Looking for a pound of coffee ground to gold cone filter, three loaves of banana bread, and a gift series of cards? You got it!

          Multitasking skills and barista work go literally hand in hand. We blend drinks while we are pouring shots. We brew tea while we are stocking fridges. And we do all of these things while conversing with customers and keeping a smile on our faces.

          Be respectful and please don’t get in the way of these superhuman multitasking skills. We want to get your coffee to you as fast as possible.

          Many baristas don’t plan on working this job their entire lives

          Although many baristas seem to be in it for the fruitful benefits of a coffee house career, I can assure you that the job is not permanent for most. Baristas commonly juggle working and attending college simultaneously. I can’t tell you how many people asked me if I was a barista “lifer” while I worked in coffee shops. It’s a job, not a prison sentence!

          While we love our work, we recognize that more opportunity exists. Although I have mixed feelings about the corporate chain that is Starbucks, they recently made a move that addresses this very topic.

          Starbucks is now offering free online schooling from Arizona State University to eligible baristas. This concept is a fresh one for the coffee shop workforce. Hopefully other coffee houses will follow suit in the future.

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          Pulling the perfect shot of espresso is an artform

          espressocomic

            It may look like the easiest thing ever but pulling a perfect shot is actually much more technical than most people realize.

            If you’re curious about the espresso shot protocol, refer to this resource.

            Starbucks jargon applies at Starbucks

            When you walk into a local coffee shop and order a Venti Caramel Macchiato, the barista will likely make you a large caramel latte with a smile. But don’t let that fool you. Inside they are fiery with vexed rage.

            Baristas are only pretending to not be annoyed because, quite frankly, Starbucks terms should stay at Starbucks. And for the love of God, don’t order Starbucks Secret Menu items at a local coffee shop. Newsflash! Not every barista has worked at a Starbucks. The lucky ones haven’t.

            Talking on your phone while you order is not cool

            This one is simple. Just don’t be rude! We get that you are a paying customer but try and project at least a glimmer of respect towards the person taking your order. Put down your phone for two minutes; it won’t kill you, I promise.

            Featured photo credit: 29/1.2014 – Larry the Barista/julochka via flickr.com

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            Robert Parmer

            Freelance Writer

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            Last Updated on May 5, 2020

            10 Brain Vitamins for Enhanced Brain Power

            10 Brain Vitamins for Enhanced Brain Power

            Your brain is the house your mind lives in. The brain is the most high-powered organ we have and requires the right amount and type of fuel to work properly. When we don’t give our brain the right fuel, it slows us down, dampers our focus, makes us more unhappy and unmotivated.

            If you want to maximize your brain power so as to increase your focus, think more clearly and live a happier and longer life, then pay attention because this article will give you the top nutrients you need to maximize your brain power and what foods to include in your diet in order to get them.

            Here are what your brain needs and where to get them:

            1. Omega-3’s

            Your brain is made up of 60% fat so if you want a healthy and optimally performing brain, you need to ensure you’re giving your brain the right building blocks and fat is one of the most important. Fat has been vilified over the years as being the big villain of health, but in reality, high-quality fat is not only good for you, it’s essential for your brain power and health.

            Some of the most important fat to give your brain are Omega-3’s. Omega-3’s such as DHA are the essential nutrients that form the outer layer our brain cells. In fact, not getting enough omega-3’s in your diet can affect normal brain development and cognition. It has also been shown to be implicated in premature brain aging and cognitive decline.[1]

            Getting healthy sources of omega-3’s from your diet is critical for optimal brain power.

            Foods Rich in Omega-3’s: Walnuts, chia seeds, sardines, salmon, flaxseed, eggs, fish oil

            2. Magnesium

            Magnesium is an essential mineral that is critical for brain activity and has been known to calm the brain and nervous system to the point it has been called “Nature’s Natural Valium.” Magnesium is essential for hundreds of metabolic processes within the body and brain yet it is still the second most common nutritional deficiency in the world.

            Magnesium helps the brain by:

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            • Providing antI-inflammatory benefits
            • Lowering stress hormones
            • Increasing neuroplasticity
            • Relaxing the nervous system
            • Helping to lift depression
            • Reducing anxiety

            Foods Rich in Magnesium: Almonds, spinach, cashews, avocado, black beans

            3. Vitamin B1: Thiamine

            Many B vitamins are known to be beneficial for brain health and well-being but for this article, let’s focus on some of the critical B vitamins.

            B1, also known as thiamine, is needed for a large number of metabolic processes in the body including the processes that manage your energy. Your brain uses tremendous amounts of energy throughout the day. Having low levels of thiamine can rob your brain of the vital energy that it needs.

            Thiamine can boost your mood, energy, and alertness by providing the energy your brain cells need to work effectively and keep their strength up.

            Low levels of thiamine have been associated with:

            • Nerve damage
            • Nerve inflammation
            • Fatigue
            • Loss of short-term memory
            • Confusion
            • Irritability

            Having enough vitamin B1 (thiamine) is essential for optimal brain performance and health by providing your brain the energy is needs to get through the day.

            Foods Rich in Vitamin B1: Seaweed, sunflower seeds, macadamia nuts, lentils, black beans

            4. Vitamin B6

            Vitamin B6 is critical for helping to improve your mood to make you feel happier but is also important to combat mental fatigue. B6 is a critical component of building the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine.

            Serotonin is known as your happy neurotransmitter and is vitally important for improving your mood. Norepinephrine helps your brain stay focused and alert.

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            Symptoms of B6 deficiency include:

            • Irritability
            • Loss of focus and concentration
            • Fatigue
            • Memory trouble
            • Muscle pains

            Foods Rich in Vitamin B6: Grassfed beef, pistachios, tuna, turkey breast, avocado

            5. Vitamin B9

            Vitamin B9 is known as folate. Folate is especially important for normal brain development. Folate is an important component in creating many neurotransmitters that the brain uses to communicate and regulate our immune system. Folate is also a natural antioxidant and studies have shown that it can help preserve brain function and memory.[2]

            Low levels of folate can be detrimental to the brain. Low levels of folate have shown to lead to increased degeneration in the cerebral cortex as well as cognitive impairment and decline.[3]

            Symptoms of low levels of folate include:

            • Lowered immune function
            • Chronic fatigue
            • Increased irritability or anxiety
            • Brain fog

            Food Rich in Vitamin B9: Spinach, beef liver, broccoli, asparagus, romaine lettuce.

            6. Vitamin B12

            B12 is essential for many aspects of our health and wellbeing including building strong bones, hair, skin, nails, immune system and heart health. B12 is also extremely important for your brain and mental wellbeing.[4]

            B12 is necessary for many aspects of mental performance including being able to memorize and stay focused. It also plays an important role in producing serotonin and dopamine. Dopamine is your motivation and reward neurotransmitter.

            Having low levels of B12 can have some serious consequences including:[5]

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            • Brain fog
            • Memory loss
            • Depression[6]
            • Anxiety
            • Confusion
            • Depression
            • Hallucinations and Schizophrenia (severe cases)

            B12 is commonly found in many animal products and meats, so vegetarians and vegans should pay special attention to their B12 to make sure they are getting enough of it in their diet from plant sources or supplementation.

            Food Rich in Vitamin B12: Beef liver, sardines, wild salmon, eggs, nutritional yeast

            7. Vitamin C

            Vitamin C is a very powerful and important antioxidant for your brain. Your brain consumes a lot of energy and oxygen in order to do its job. Antioxidants like Vitamin C protect the brain from the wear and tear of doing its job.

            Vitamin C is also needed to produce important neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. These neurotransmitters are important regulators of your mood, so without Vitamin C to produce these important neurotransmitters, your mood may suffer.[7]

            Food Rich in Vitamin C: BroccolI, citrus fruits, bell peppers, watermelon, spinach

            8. Vitamin D

            The “sunshine” vitamin is arguably one of the most important vitamins that many people miss out on. Vitamin D is usually associated with bone health and heart health but it’s been shown in research that Vitamin D may play a critical role in your brain performance. Several studies have shown that low levels of vitamin D can impair cognitive function and performance.[8]

            Fewer people are getting outside in the natural sunlight leading to more cases of vitamin D deficiency than ever before. The best part about Vitamin D is that you can get it for free or extremely cheap. Just a few minutes a day of natural sunlight can make a big difference in your Vitamin D levels.

            Food Rich in Vitamin D: Natural sunlight or find a Vitamin D supplement.

            9. Vitamin E

            Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants are critical to help our bodies fight off oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is a metabolic process that occurs in the body that wears and tears on our cells. Antioxidants fight against this wear and tear to keep our cells youthful and optimally functioning.

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            Vitamin E is an often overlooked vitamin for brain health. It prevents oxidative stress from damaging an important component of our brain cells, DHA. DHA forms the outer membrane of our brain cells and Vitamin E works to prevents oxidative stress from damaging our brain cells to keep our brain young, energetic and high-performing.[9]

            Symptoms of Vitamin E deficiency include:

            • Cognitive impairment
            • Diarrhea
            • Muscle weakness
            • Balance issues

            Food Rich in Vitamin E: Almonds, kale, Swiss chard, parsley, olives

            10. Zinc

            Zinc is essential for neuron growth and performance. The highest concentration of zinc is located in your brain, particularly in your hippocampus, the area of the brain involved in regulating your limbic system, the region that regulates emotions. Neurons require zinc in order to communicate effectively to one another.[10]

            Low levels of zinc are associated with:

            • Attention and focus problems
            • Lowered immune system
            • Acne or rashes
            • Diarrhea

            Food Rich in Zinc: Pumpkin seeds, grass-fed beef, cashews, mushrooms, spinach

            Keep Your Brain Sharp With Brain Foods

            Your brain works hard and it takes plenty of nutrients and fuel to keep it working well. Getting the amount and type of vitamins, minerals and nutrients can make the difference in feeling energized or feeling sluggish throughout the day.

            How would you fuel a Ferrari? You wouldn’t put the cheap gas in a Ferrari. It’s a high-performance machine, so you need to put in high-octane fuel to ensure optimal performance.

            Eat a wide variety of foods that include a vast array of the top brain nutrients to ensure your brain is getting plenty of the resources it needs to work efficiently. If you want more brain power, make sure you give it brain power foods.

            More Tips for Boosting Brain Power

            Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

            Reference

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