Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Do You Trust Your Cafe Barista?

The good barista earns the trust of her customers by consistently crafting high-quality drinks made to specification.

Do you trust your cafe barista will make your drink the way you wanted? A few of them, I do. I know from experience that they are reliable and competent drinkmakers and whenever I'm in the mood for something special, or if I have a free reward burning a hole in my app, I'll go ahead and order one of the most expensive potions on the menu.

Some baristas I've learned I can’t trust to make me a dandy drink, I know there's a good chance they'll screw it up, so when I see them standing behind the syrup dispensers, I just order the regular coffee. I don’t want to waste a free drink if I suspect the barista won’t concoct a delicious brew. I wait until I see a familiar, trusted barista behind the counter, then I order the big fancy drink.

I don't think a barista would poison me or add a drop of something not on the standard ingredient list, although such actions are not unheard of. Some are just uncaring and incompetent. They aren't meticulous. It's a temporary job, not a career, and are seeking to leave for something more in harmony with their life's dreams--and with better pay.

Some cafes I won’t even enter anymore after a bad experience with a clueless barista. One time I order a frappuccino and it tasted like it had no sugar or sweetness in it. It was the most horrible drink I've ever had anywhere. So you can understand why I've never set foot in that café again, and that was years ago.

Sadly, some baristas just can't be trusted with anything beyond the basics. Tall coffee, and a standard breakfast sandwich. Anything more and I feel like I’m asking for trouble--and sometimes I get it even with an order of nothing but simple coffee. I've noticed some baristas have trouble distinguishing a request for Blonde coffee and hear it as Bold instead. I've written earlier that I've had trouble with a few minority baristas serving Bold coffee instead of the requested Blonde. Honest mistake or not?

Speaking of race, there isn't a single barista on earth I trust enough to discuss race relations, of all things. I can see conversations like that getting out of hand. Wouldn't surprise me if Starbucks' wrongheaded idea leads to fisticuffs--if not a bit more. We've reached a point where the world wants chaos, and will have it anywhere and everywhere, including cafes included.

A lousy barista can wreck an otherwise groovy café. Just like one annoying customer can wreck the entire seating area environment and make all the good folks go elsewhere.

Some baristas you can talk to, and they know how to converse with customers. They have stories to tell; they’re fun people. Others, I wouldn't even try. I want as little communication with them as necessary to complete my business transaction. And I'll spurn the race relations offer if asked.

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