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Life Secrets of a Barista

Life Secrets of a Barista

Let’s face it – I’m a coffee fanatic. I need my properly brewed flat white to kick the day off right. Without it I’m just mental mush.

It took me a while to pick my “local”; the coffee shop I would frequent every day early in the morning to watch people grapple with life as they went through their morning routines. Over time I gravitated towards my local Starbucks and found within its walls a crew of Baristas I came to know by name.

Like any writer I can’t meet someone without getting curious about their life story, the events of their day, and their interactions with others. So I started listening carefully to their conversations with customers and then began asking probing questions. Did these humble servants of the bean have a secret life; perhaps some caffeinated stories to tell?

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Please note: Starbucks did not condone this article and it was not written on company property, nor did company representatives participate on company time or give specific details about company practices or company secrets.

First The Good ..

Researching this article really made me appreciate the positive aspects of being a Barista. Unlike staff in other retail jobs, Baristas really know their customers, and I’ve heard heart-warming stories that really surprised me. For example, did you know that at some stores staff attend funerals for selected regulars? I’ve even heard stories about birthday cards being sent by snowbirds, and fruit-baskets being brought in for staff who were sick. This hints at the kinds of relationships that can be built over the counter.

Creepiest Story of All Time

One happily married Barista described a story where a guy came in when the staff had decorated the store with balloons and streamers. There was one placard saying “Kiss me I’m 40”.

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The next day his wife found a Craigslist missed connections article saying “I saw the Kiss Me I’m 40 sign and I just wanted to kiss you”, printed it out and gave it to the Barista for a joke.

A couple of weeks later the same guy applied for a job at the store. Can you spell S-T-A-L-K-E-R?

What drives a Barista nuts?

The general consensus is that while many customers are worthy individuals, some can be challenging to say the least. Here’s some things Barista’s absolutely loathe.

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  • Don’t reload your Starbucks card during the morning rush with eight people in line.
  • Don’t forget to tip if your drink is complex. Baristas make a good wage but a little extra goes a long way.
  • Don’t use your phone at the counter. It’s rude to talk on the phone or surf the internet while ordering. Show some respect for your your Barista.
  • Don’t pick up the wrong drink. If you ordered an Americano, then don’t pick up the passionfruit ice tea for godsake! Pay attention people!
  • Don’t order stupid drinks. A grande frappe double mocha chip is fine, but a non-fat with whip is just stupid.
  • Don’t ask dumb questions about your order. Asking, “did I put whip in that” is not going to make you popular. Know your drinks.
  • Don’t hit on the staff. It’s endemic as well as unappreciated. One staff member we spoke to told me of an incident when a 50 year old man made a highly offensive sexual comment to her while on break. Now she goes outside and sits in her car to avoid harassment.

What’s the dumbest drink ever ordered?

As one veteran Barista put it so well “oh lord .. there are so many to choose from.” Here’s three of the best!

  • Barista #1: Mocha Frappuccino with a scoop of matcha powder, and a shot of espresso.
  • Barista #2: “Venti” pumpkin spice latte with ten pumps of syrup three times a day. The entire crew wondered if he had diabetes.
  • Barista #3: A skim anything with 2% foam. Enough said.

Dirty little secrets?

Starbucks is full of people cheating on their spouses, and believe me, the Baristas know who’s who as well as who’s doing who. I’ve heard stories about well known members of the community conducting trysts under the green and white sign, hands locked in lovers embrace – with their wedding rings noticeably missing.

There’s something of a code of silence that Barista’s have about such issues. They’re often treated to the same information that’s potentially damaging and they understand that what goes on in the store, stays in the store.

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Featured photo credit: Wikipedia Commons via upload.wikimedia.org

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Colin Rhodes

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Published on March 22, 2019

14 Healthy Easy Recipes for People on the Go

14 Healthy Easy Recipes for People on the Go

Greasy hamburgers at lunch or a buttered bagel is not everyone’s idea of a dream lunch. Healthy eating is important but not always so easy when you have little time on your hands. You may be forced to eat snacks that you do not enjoy in a rush.

However, there are recipes that do not involve spending a lot of time or having special culinary skills. Try these 14 healthy easy recipes for busy people on the go.

1. Green Salads

    Photo credit: bake your day

    Salads are super easy to make and require no cooking at all. Just chop up the ingredients and put it in a Tupperware and you are good to go. You can make a lot at once and keep for later.

    Ingredients:

    • Kale
    • Lemon
    • Olive oil
    • Salt
    • Pepper

    How to make it:

    1. Chop kale into small bite-size pieces. Squeeze out the lemon juice and whisk in olive oil, salt, and pepper.
    2. Toss kale in the mix and add bean sprouts or cheese

    2. Chickpea Slaw

      Photo credit: Unsweetened Caroline

      Ingredients:

      • ¼ cup plain yogurt
      • 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
      • 1 tbsp. water
      • Salt
      • Black pepper
      • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
      • 2 ½ cups of sliced green cabbage
      • 2 stalks celery (sliced)
      • 2 shredded carrots
      • 2 tbsps. sesame seeds (toasted)

      How to make it:

      1. Stir together yogurt, vinegar, water, salt, and pepper.
      2. Add in chickpeas, cabbage, celery, and carrots.
      3. Toss and sprinkle in sesame seeds.

      3. Juice Your Greens

        Photo credit: Loving it Vegan

        Ingredients:

        • A handful of kale
        • A handful of cabbage
        • A handful of parsley
        • A stalk of celery
        • An apple or a pear

        How to make it:

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        1. Place the ingredients one at a time into your juicer.
        2. Put it in your favorite bottle and you are done!

        4. Steamed Veggies And Meat

          Photo credit: Gimme some oven

          This recipe includes meat but does not take years to prepare. Steaming cooks the meal really fast. If you are a vegan, you can use tofu to substitute the meat.

          Ingredients:

          • Broccoli
          • Meat (of your choice)
          • Olive oil
          • Salt
          • Pepper
          • Apple cider vinegar

          How to make it:

          1. Steam broccoli and meat in a steamer while drizzling the meat with olive oil and apple cider vinegar.
          2. Remove the broccoli when it becomes soft and the meat when it is well cooked.
          3. Remember to sprinkle on some salt and pepper.

          5. Seared Meat and Vegetables

            Photo credit: Gimme some oven

            A skillet will come in handy for this dish. And yes, it is another meal with veggies and meat, you cannot go wrong with this. It is a mix and matches meaning you can switch up the oils, seasonings, and vegetables according to your taste.

            Ingredients:

            • Ground meat (of your choice)
            • Vegetables (anyone you fancy)
            • Organic oil/butter
            • Store bought sauce/dressing
            • Salt

            How to make it:

            1. Cook meat with heated organic oil/butter in a skillet over moderate heat for 3 to 4 minutes.
            2. Add in shredded and chopped vegetables and stir until the meat cooks and the vegetables are semi-soft.
            3. Put your salt or dressing to give it some extra flavor.

            6. Green Smoothie

              Photo credit: Yummy Mummy Kitchen

              Smoothies are quite filling and combine fruits and vegetables for a healthy breakfast if you need to rush out in the morning.

              Ingredients:

              • 1 tbsp. Spirulina
              • 1 banana
              • 1 cup blueberries
              • Milk/Soy milk
              • Blend till smooth and enjoy. To make it thicker, add ice in with the ingredients.
              • A tea smoothie

              Note: If you like green tea, then try out this smoothie that uses your favourite tea and fruits:

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              • ¾ cup green tea
              • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
              • 2 tsp. lemon juice
              • 2 tsp. Agave nectar
              • 1 small pear
              • 2 tbsps. fat-free plain yogurt

              How to make it:

              Blend until smooth.

              7. Feta Omelet and Toast

                Photo credit: Improved Health Club

                Toast and eggs will definitely taste different from this recipe.

                Ingredients:

                • Chopped broccoli
                • 2 eggs
                • 2 tsp. Feta cheese (crumbled)
                • 2 slices toasted bread
                • Olive oil

                How to make it:

                1. Cook broccoli for three minutes in heated skillet.
                2. Mix feta, eggs, and dill in a bowl and cook in the pan for 3-4 minutes.
                3. Eat with toast.

                8. Banana and Almond Toast

                  Photo credit: Dolly and Oatmeal

                  This recipe is sure to keep you full until lunchtime.

                  Ingredients:

                  • 1 tbsp. almond butter
                  • 1 slice rye bread
                  • 1 sliced banana

                  How to make it:

                  Cover toast with almond butter and put banana slices.

                  9. Quinoa

                    Photo credit: Kitchme

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                    You can cook the quinoa the night before to reduce the amount of time spent on the dish.

                    Ingredients:

                    • 1 cup cooked quinoa
                    • 1/3 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
                    • 1 small tomato (chopped)
                    • 1 scallion (chopped)
                    • 1 tsp. olive oil
                    • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
                    • Salt
                    • Pepper

                    How to make it:

                    Gently toss all the ingredients in a bowl and voila, you are done.

                    10. Hummus and Beans

                      Photo credit: Pinch and swirl

                      Mashing your beans to create hummus takes just a few minutes.

                      Ingredients:

                      • ¼ cup canned white beans
                      • 1 tbsp. chopped chives
                      • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
                      • 2 tsp. olive oil
                      • Assorted Vegetables (chopped)

                      How to make it:

                      1. Combine beans, chives and lemon juice in a small bowl and mash till smooth.
                      2. Add assorted vegetables.

                      11. Egg Sandwich

                        Photo credit: Home Sweet Eats

                        Ingredients:

                        • 2 cooked eggs (chopped)
                        • 2 tbsp. Greek yogurt
                        • 2 tbsp. red bell peppers (chopped)
                        • ¼ curry powder
                        • Salt
                        • Pepper
                        • Rye bread
                        • ½ fresh spinach

                        How to make it:

                        1. Combine eggs, yogurt, bell pepper, curry powder, salt, and pepper and stir well.
                        2. Place the spinach on the rye bread and egg salad.

                        12. Swiss Sandwich and Ham

                          Photo credit: My Recipe Magic

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                          Whip up a simple but tasty sandwich.

                          Ingredients:

                          • 1 tbsp. Greek yogurt
                          • ¼ Tsp. dried dill
                          • 2 slices bread
                          • 1-ounce lean sliced ham
                          • 1 pear (sliced)
                          • 1 1- ounce slice Swiss cheese

                          How to make it:

                          1. Combine yogurt and dill in a bowl and stir until blended.
                          2. Spread mix on bread slices with ham, pear slices, cheese, and bread slice.

                          13. Salmon Noodles

                            Photo Credit: Killing Thyme

                            Noodles take just a few minutes to cook and are extremely tasty.

                            Ingredients:

                            • 4 ounces noodles or spaghetti
                            • 5 ounces asparagus (cut)
                            • 1 (6-oz) salmon fillet
                            • 1tbsp sesame oil
                            • Zest and juice of 1-2 limes
                            • Salt
                            • Fresh pepper
                            • 4 ounces cucumber (cut)
                            • ½ avocado

                            How to make it:

                            1. Cook noodles for 6-8 minutes until soft.
                            2. Strain and then add asparagus to boiling water.
                            3. Cook for 2 minutes then rinse with cold water.
                            4. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat and cook for 2-3 minutes.

                            14. Spaghetti Squash

                              This is one of my favourite recipes on the go (all it takes is 20 mins)! I substitute pasta for spaghetti squash. No plate needed.

                              Ingredients:

                              • 1 spaghetti squash
                              • 2 tsp of olive oil
                              • 2 pinch’ of salt
                              • 2 pinch’ of pepper

                              Steps: 

                              Check out the detailed steps in this full recipe here.

                              All these recipes can be prepared with ease and have carbs, proteins and fat to keep you energized until your next meal.

                              Featured photo credit: Brandy S via unsplash.com

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