Do not ask your barista if your drink is really nonfat. It is usually made correctly. Unless you have reason to believe that a mistake was made, you should not ask your barista to confirm your drink all over again. She is greatly annoyed by your doubt in her abilities. And anyway, two percent won’t kill you.
Do not ask your barista for soy milk when she is halfway done with your drink. You must ask for soy at the register, where you can pay the extra $0.60 like everybody else. The same applies for extra caramel. Do not ask at the bar unless you have already done so with the barista on register. It’s not fair to the people that pay, and certainly isn’t fair to your barista. Rethink that choice.
Do not ask your barista for no room in your coffee, but then change your mind afterward and pour it sloppily into the trashcan at the condiment bar. Someone has to clean that at the end of the night, you know. Your barista is cursing your name as she scrubs the rolling cabinet that holds the condiment bar trash. And she knows your name, remember?
Do not watch your barista while she works. She can feel your eyes on her and it’s creepy. Your drink will be made even if you don’t actually watch the process, she promises.
Do not ask your barista if your drink is next, for she will have to stop what she is doing to ask your name, and then will have to inspect each cup before she finally comes to yours, which is usually near the end. Then she will have to “sympathetically” explain to you that the wait will be a few minutes, and will seem to thank you sincerely for your patience in waiting. By then, though, she is no longer thinking of you or your petty problem; rather, she is calculating how best to make up for the disruption you have caused with your pointless question, and how most efficiently to placate you. Your barista doesn’t want to act out another verse to you, the ever unhappy customer. She’s silently begging: don’t be needy! But you—how you like to be noticeably affirmed.
Do not ask your barista for a different drink because you messed up and ordered something you did not want. She sympathizes with your plight but wishes you would listen to the helpful clues given by the barista on the register—hot or cold? blended? whip?—for all you have to do is ask, and he or she will assist you.
Do not ask your barista why your cappuccino is so light. Cappuccinos are half foam. Perhaps you wanted a latte, your barista might say. She is not happy, and you are dumb.
Do not ask your barista for a large ice water when she is clearly busy. Justifying the question with a statement such as, “when you have a chance,” does NOT make the situation better. Your barista is fantasizing about throwing a caramel frap in your face. She imagines the caramel dripping off your chin and onto your shirt.
Do not ask your barista for another drink when you clumsily spill yours everywhere. They’re already on it, your barista assures you. Asking just makes her want to repeat the frap throwing from earlier. Plus, your barista now has to stop what she is doing to mop up the alarmingly large puddle that was your handcrafted drink. Either that, or she must send someone else to clean it, such as the barista on the register, and then he or she will be annoyed with your barista and you, and your barista will resent you for incurring her coworker’s annoyance. She will pour that resentment, likewise, into your remade drink.
Do not ask your barista to make your drink with nonfat milk and whipped cream. PLEASE, for the love of God, stop doing this. It’s driving your barista crazy. And you—you know who you are—what’s going on with the extra caramel? Tone it down if you want to live to see your grandchildren.
Do not ask your barista for foam on an iced latte or for an iced cappuccino. These things are abominations of nature and should not be spoken of, much less made real by mankind. Hot milk plus cold milk, put simply, is the perfect environment for bacteria. Go ahead and drink it, your barista thinks. In fact, she dares you.
Do not ask your barista to write a complicated, fictional, or “uniquely” spelled name on your cup. The actual letters on the cup don’t matter—phonetics are what really count. When there’s a line out the door, your barista doesn’t care if your name is Gary or Garry or Garey (or Barry or Larry), to be perfectly honest. She only cares that you hear something that sounds like your name and your drinks, and that you pick them up promptly. You should be able to handle this one on your own. All you have to do is remember what you ordered, and pay attention, and everyone wins.
(However, if your name is Jazzmin, Jazmin, Jasmin, or Jasmine, your barista has a bit of unpleasant news for you. It turns out, you have a WAY less unique name than you think. Every twelfth girl is named Jazzmin [of some kind]. Sorry about that.)
Do not ask your barista to french press something for you. Come on, what are you, better than Pike Place, the coffee named after the street where the first real Starbucks in Seattle was opened? You’re going to make her bust out the french press? You see the line.
And on a related note, do not ask your barista to make your drinks for here and to bring them to you. Not cool, man, not cool. You see how busy your barista is. You’re asking her to act nice to you, stop what she’s doing, and carefully bring your order over, alerting everyone in the store to the fact that they do for-here and they’ll bring it to you! Your barista would like to keep that under wraps. She doesn’t like to think of herself as a waitress when she is, correctly named, a barista.
Do not ask your barista for a cup of whipped cream, a cup of hot water, a cup of cold water with no ice, anything that you’re trying to get for free, or anything that requires her to ask her manager. She doesn’t like those. Well, she does like to do the whipped cream cups, especially with extra caramel and mocha, as they are fun to design, but the thought of you eating it grosses her out. And inevitably, you always seem to need a spoon, as well. She supposes she’ll have to go get that, too, which poisons the fun of filling an entire plastic cup with fluffy whipped cream.
Also, do not ask your barista to remake your drink more than once. The second one was perfect, she guarantees. Your barista took the extra time to do it carefully and avoid further conflict. You bringing it back again suggests that you do not understand what you want, you aren’t familiar with the taste of your drink, or you are trying to make a fuss to get something free or something refunded. Not cute.
Do not ask your barista if the drink you already sipped is yours. Too late, son. Check before you drink. Now your barista must deal with an annoyed customer whose drink was taken by someone else, and she still hasn’t actually gotten to make the drink you ordered. The flow of everything—the peace of mind and body that your barista works to achieve—has been disrupted.
Finally—one last, specific thing—do not ask your barista to steam your milk to 200 degrees. It scorches any higher than 180, first of all. No human being could possibly want to drink something at 200 degrees, second. And lastly, no one waits that long on purpose to drink their Starbucks. Just sayin’.