7 Things You're Probably Doing When Ordering Coffee That Make Your Barista Hate You

If they look busy, maybe don't order that double steamed mocha with ice. 😬

Tristan working at a cafe and bakery. Right: Tristan drinking coffee on a mountain.

Tristan working at a cafe and bakery. Right: Tristan drinking coffee on a mountain.

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.

One of the least-appreciated service jobs out there, in my opinion, is the coffee shop barista.

We are the few folks who have to deal with people before they've had their morning coffee, who have to deal with scalding hot liquids and who are usually tasked with making 15 drinks in 7 minutes. And, that's if everything is going according to plan.

What makes the job harder? Well, you might be surprised to hear that there are a whole lot of things that customers do that can annoy a barista who is just trying to do their job.

Take it from me as an ex-barista of two years at a popular coffee shop and bakery in Vancouver — there were tons of common things that customers would do that would annoy me to no end.

So, to stop you from being "that person," I've put together a little list of things you should stop doing to make life a little easier for your favourite coffee-maker.

Tristan behind the espresso machine, about to be sprayed in the head.Tristan behind the espresso machine, about to be sprayed in the head.Tristan Wheeler | Narcity

Ordering a "large cappuccino"

This is maybe a more persnickety and a particular thing on my part, but it needs to be said: there is no such thing as a "large cappuccino," folks.

The only thing that differentiates the different espresso drinks is the amount and foaminess of the milk.

As far as my coffee knowledge goes, a cappuccino is an espresso shot with about eight ounces of frothy, foamy milk. Anything larger than that is just an overly foamed-up latte, which is totally fine to order. Just call a spade a spade!

Requesting your drink "extra hot"

In the coffee shop I worked at, the espresso shots and the milk were manually prepared. That meant holding the little metal pitcher of milk while you were steaming it. For regular steamed milk, as soon as it gets just too hot to hold, that's when you know it's ready.

But, when you ask me to make your drink extra hot, that means I have to stand there and hold it with my bare hand while it just gets hotter and hotter past that point.

It's not fun having to risk burning myself so that someone can have a warm drink an hour after it's made!

Ordering a complicated drink in the middle of a rush

There are always two major times when the barista is slammed; first thing in the morning and in the afternoon during lunch. And there is nothing more annoying than when in your backlog of 20 americanos and lattes, there is one extra special caramel spiced tea misto (or whatever fancy beverage it might be).

Granted, you should order what you want, but if it's super complicated and the barista is slammed, expect a little bit of venom in their voice when they call your name when it's ready.

Not tipping on big orders

Tipping is a contentious thing for some folks, but I'm of the mind that if your barista fulfills a massive order for you, putting extra care into things like latte art and properly pulled espresso shots, it's customary to give a gratuity that reflects the hard work.

There are many times when I've done my all to ensure a big $40 drink order was perfect, made sure to ask the customer clarifying questions, and all I got in return was a cursory nod.

Heck, if you don't want to tip, at least say thank you.

Complaining about the prices

Tristan standing behind the baking display.

Tristan standing behind the baking display.

Tristan Wheeler | Narcity

Yes, I will agree. At the place I worked at, things were expensive. Even just a brewed coffee would be nearly $3, which is a lot depending on what you're used to. But, complaining to me about it isn't really helpful. I have no power to change it!

On the other hand, the place I worked at definitely had some high-quality coffee. We were the only place in North America/Canada to have certain roasters, so the prices did reflect how good it was and how much care went into making the drinks.

Either way, don't complain to me, I'm just here to make the drinks.

Chatting with the barista while they're busy

Making drinks can be complicated work, so while we might be standing there by the espresso machine looking like the person ready to hear your life story, we're not.

When things were less busy, I loved chatting to customers. It was honestly one of the highlights of the job.

But when there is a massive rush and I have three things on the go, it's hard to do my job and listen to you talk about the movie you just saw or what your son is doing with his life at the same time.

Using lots of coffee jargon

While I might sound like I'm Mr. Coffee Snob, I'm the first to admit that I don't know a whole lot about coffee, and that was especially the case when I first started as a barista.

So, when someone comes in asking for things like "ristretto" or "cortados" (basically anything that wasn't on our listed menu) I would be lost.

And the thing is, I usually knew exactly what they wanted once it was explained to me. So, if you're keen on using specific jargon, it might be best to ask before assuming everyone knows what you mean.

So, with these tips, hopefully next time you visit your local coffee shop, you can be a little less of a headache while you try to ease your own coffee withdrawal headache.

Stay caffeinated, Canada!

Tristan Wheeler
Tristan Wheeler was a Creator for Narcity Media focused on money and budgets and is based in Toronto, Ontario.