I’ve been a barista for about four years now. I’ve worked in quite different areas of the country, for quite different coffeehouses. But people are people, and I’ve noticed they invariably fall into one of several different archetypes. Fellow baristas will recognize them; fellow coffee patrons should beware them.
The Wanderer: Walks in the door. Walks to the bar. Orders nothing. Walks to the condiment stand. Walks to the bathroom. Walks to the newsstand. Walks out.
The Pretentious Git: Orders a ‘macchiato’. Has no clue what it actually is.
The Ultra-Pretentious Git: Orders a ‘macchiato’. Knows what it is.
The Epicurean: “I want a skinny-double-half-cup-latte with extra foam. Cinnamon on top. Cardamom, not plain.”
Apparently Your Best Friend: “Dude, can I borrow your phone, use your bathroom, take this paper with me, bum a cigarette, and oh, I just want water.”
The Legally Blind: “Where’s your menu?” You point to the huge menu directly behind you. “Do you have espresso?” You point to the huge $14,000 espresso machine next to you. “Where are your prices?” etc., etc.,….
Where’s your menu?
The Smart-Aleck We Can All Do Without: “Do you guys sell coffee here? Huh huh.”
The Purist: Orders triple espressos. Drinks them like Evian. Usually has groupies. Competes with others in drinking espressos like they were at a frat party.
The Moron Purist: Orders a triple espresso decaf.
The Trendy Cynic: Comes in, orders one cup of plain coffee, sits by the door for the rest of the day sneering at whoever comes in.
The Trendy Moron About to Get Beaten With a Bat: Comes in regularly, and asks for something with coffee in it that doesn’t taste like coffee. When coffeehouses became the new fad these idiots came out in droves. Blame “Friends”.
It’s Always ShowTime: Always comes in with a musical instrument (guitar, bongo drums). Plays regardless of being asked, regardless of being asked to stop. Acts hurt when you ask him to play elsewhere.
The Requisite Nutbar: Asks for hot water, claiming he has a tea bag he bought elsewhere. Sits in the corner talking to himself and staring at the wall. Tries to argue with imaginary friend in opposite chair, gets angry at imaginary friend’s silence. Asks you to mediate dispute between them.
Wasting Her Time: Seems to think coffee’s the Diet Drink of Tomorrow: “I want a decaf latte with skim milk, a shot of sugar-free vanilla, nondairy whipped cream on top and could you point me to the powdered creamer?”
Wasting My Time: “Gimme a double-espresso. No, make that a vanilla capp. No, I actually want a hazelnut mocha. No, I meant to say almond. Ah, screw it, just gimme coffee.”
Coffee Nazis: Complains that your coffee wasn’t organically grown. Complains your Tanzanian Peaberry isn’t acidic enough, your Sumatra too acidic. Complains if the coffee wasn’t brewed less than five minutes ago, demands a fresh pot. Complains the Colombian doesn’t taste as good as the place down the street’s. Complains about the prices. Complains that you’ve been using Folgers to deceive customers and save money, etc.
The Undead: Those whose introduction to coffee was Starbucks. Obviously undemanding, fairly easy to please, but cannot comprehend that the REAL world doesn’t use nondairy creamer and *doesn’t* call a small coffee “tall”.