Coffee Shop Insight: 12 Insider Secrets Baristas Want You to Know

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Americans love their coffee. An average of three cups a day is consumed in the States, totaling 400 million cups a year. Your local baristas have seen a thing or two, and they are spilling the tea or, in this case, coffee.

There are many inner workings in a coffee shop, and some of them even include insider secrets, such as what happens when you ask for your coffee to be extra hot or which roast has the most caffeine.

It goes without saying that you might not like the results if you don’t treat your local barista and other food service employees with kindness and respect.

1. Don’t Be Rude

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It’s common for baristas to give you decaf coffee if you’re rude to them or the cashier. So be nice! They get it—it’s early in the morning, you’re running late, your boss has already sent a curt email, so you aren’t in a good mood when you step into the shop. That’s no reason to take it out on the one person there to make your life more tolerable.

If they don’t give you decaf, they may bend the straw just enough to damage it, ensuring your drink experience is as unpleasant as your morning. “Sometimes, to rude customers, I fold their straw before giving it to them so that it has a small hairline split in it so that after a certain point they can’t drink anymore,” wrote Reddit user UhIsThisMyDrink.

2. Dark Roast Has Less Caffeine

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Many might assume that the darker the roast, the stronger or more caffeinated it is. That isn’t true, though. Lighter roasted beans are roasted for a shorter time, so they contain more caffeine. A blonde roast contains a concentrated amount of coffee, making it more robust than a drip or a dark roast cold brew.

But on the flip side, blonde roasts also contain more acidity, so be sure to pack your Tums if you’re sensitive to high amounts of acid.

3. Extra Hot Drinks Aren’t as Sweet

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Coffee lovers often enjoy their cuppa joe as hot as possible, but baristas want you to know two things. Ordering your beverage extra hot isn’t always possible by law. There are regulations around how hot they can make your drink, and they don’t want to burn you.

Secondly, oversteaming can break down the sugars in the milk, causing it to lose the sweet notes you love so much. Once the temperature goes past 149°F, negative flavor characteristics, such as a burned oatmeal taste, form.

4. Tips Are Appreciated- Not Expected

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Everywhere you turn these days, consumers are expected to tip regardless of the service provided. Baristas have shared that while they don’t expect tips, they certainly appreciate them.

Counter-service employees understand that there is no guarantee, but they often go above and beyond with their service to receive a little extra dough. If you’re a regular at the shop and the barista knows your order and gets it right every time, you should hook them up for exceptional service.

5. Dogs Are Welcomed

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If you live in a city like Austin, like I do, it’s common to see dogs at pup-friendly coffee shops. I frequently take my two furry babies with me when I want to enjoy a dirty chai latte while sitting on a patio.

Barista Aaron Estrada wants you to know that if the establishment welcomes dogs, they want to meet them, but only if they are well-behaved. If they are good boys and girls, they might even get a treat, like a “puppuccino.”

6. Baristas Don’t Control the Prices

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Unless the owner of your local shop is handling your order, the baristas don’t control the menu prices. Management determines prices, and making a fuss about them won’t win you any points. Baristas might be able to share some insight about pricing strategy, such as if it’s a particular type of roasting process, but at the end of the day, their hands are tied.

7. Misspelling Your Name Isn’t a Mistake

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How often have you given your name at Starbucks only to have the barista completely mess it up? It’s not always a mistake, and Starbucks management doesn’t care when it happens. According to employees who replied to a Reddit thread, they know people will post on social media, providing them with free marketing. Giving truth to the old adage that any publicity is good publicity.

8. Free Drinks Aren’t a Guarantee After a Mess-up

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The same Reddit thread of employees revealed that they don’t always provide a free drink if the customer declares a mistake made, even if there wasn’t one. One user shared that they would take the “bad” drink and dump it out rather than allow the customer to keep it while receiving a second “correctly” made one.

Another employee shared they will call out to the other guests that a “free drink is available at the bar for whomever wants it!”

9. Discounts Aren’t Accidental- Especially When You’re Nice

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Often, if you’re kind to the staff, that extra pump of syrup or alternative milk request will get discounted altogether. Baristas appreciate a friendly face and compliments, so it pays to deliver them. Coffee shop staff will take notice and reward regular customers who tip frequently. But don’t be pleasant for cheaper drinks- do it because it’s the right thing to do!

10. Don’t Feel Pressure to Order Coffee

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Coffee shops offer so much more than just coffee, so if that particular beverage isn’t something you love, don’t feel obligated to order it. Baristas enjoy sharing information about the other types of drinks on the menu and are happy to make them for you.

Never had a chai latte (I promise it’s not coffee unless you order it dirty) or a spritz before? Now’s your chance to go for it.

11. Feel Free to Hang Out

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As a freelance writer who primarily works from home, I’ve often felt pressure not to overstay my welcome when working at a local coffee shop, but employees have reassured me they are okay with how long I stay there. “As long as you get a drink every hour or two and tip, you can stay as long as you want,” Estrada shared.

12. Not All Coffee Shops Make Drinks the Same Way

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Not all coffee shops use the same beans, milk(s), or syrups, so it’s to be expected that your favorite drinks will taste a little different from shop to shop. The barista doesn’t control this, but the staff will do everything they can to ensure you love your drink.

However, to improve your experience, it helps to be as detailed as possible with your instructions to the person making your drink.

14 Little Frugal Luxuries to Make Life Better

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Living on a tight budget and diligently saving money can create frugal fatigue. It’s hard to avoid spending temptations, which can lead to impulse or binge spending.

Enjoying tiny luxuries every once in a while can make sticking to your budget easier. This way, you can fatten your savings account without depriving yourself of all pleasures. These small treats feel luxurious but cost next to nothing.

14 Cheap Purchases That Make You More Productive

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Countless distractions and heavy workloads demand maximum productivity. The solution isn’t found in overtime and grand gestures. It’s found in small investments.

These purchases are not about cutting corners but making smart enhancements to your workplace to boost organization, relaxation, creativity, and time management. Whether you’re a busy professional, a creative soul searching for inspiration, or anyone in between, these cheap purchases could be the game-changer you’ve been looking for to be more productive.

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With a passion for travel, great food, and beautiful art, Julie put aside her 15-year career in the tech industry and dove head-first into a more creative sphere. Utilizing her degree in Communications, she is pursuing freelance writing. An avid traveler, Julie has experience writing and documenting the amazing spots she has visited and explored, the delicious food she has tasted, and the incredible art she has admired and purchased! When she’s not writing, she can be spotted around Austin, TX, at various art gallery openings, having a delicious meal with her husband and friends, and playing with her two dogs.

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