So I’ve been working for a coffee and tea chain that was actually founded right here in the Bay Area, (shout out to Peet’s Cofffee and Tea!). I’ve learned more than I ever thought imaginable about coffee and tea as far as: how the beans and tea are roasted/dried, multiple ways to prepare them (extra dry cappuccino anyone?), and am now one of those snobby people who uses words like, “full bodied” and “high notes” to describe certain tastes. It’s awesome. In the same time, however, that I’ve amassed all of these technical skills, I’ve also managed to learn a few things about the customers that we serve every day. Let me preface this article by saying, the views and opinions expressed are not that of Peet’s Coffee and Tea (I really just wanted to sound all legal and cool for a few seconds) and that these opinions were formulated based on broad observations of patterns I see on a day-to-day basis. I think I’ve pretty much gotten this down to a science though.
Usually younger working guys will order these to get them through day. To me it says, I don’t have time for you to steam milk or any frilly syrups, I like the taste of pure caffiene and am not trying to get anything in the way of having that coursing through my veins in the foreseeable 20mins when I’ll need it for the big presentation. These guys can also appear as their younger counterparts as “bros”. Bros love Americanos. Don’t ask me why, it’s the most basic combination of water and espresso but, maybe that’s what a bro needs and loves the most. Simplicity. We salute you brotastic businessman of tomorrow. Keep doing you.
“Bone dry” Cappuccino
Let me start by saying that most people who order cappuccinos have probably never had to make one in their entire life. Any idiot can steam milk and pour it over a shot and call it a latte, but for customers who want perfect foam, and a lot of it, that perfectly marbles with the espresso and doesn’t manage to (God forbid) incorporate any non-airated milk, well let’s just say it takes a particular finesse and a lot of failed attempts as a barista to master the perfect cappuccino. The cappuccino customer on the other hand, doesn’t seem to care about any of that, and WILL let you know if you didn’t make it right. These are usually older customers who have done away with the simplicity of regular coffee and even Americanos and just want something to judge and berate before they consume it.
These people have apparently not left the ’90s yet. We stopped calling them “skinny lattes” a long time ago. You’re drinking non-fat milk. Let’s just call a spade a spade, shall we? And not to mention nonfat milk is actually probably the unhealthiest of choices considering all of the extra processes it has to go through to become “skinny”. So I just assume most of the time that these customers are willfully ignorant in their “skinny obsessed” worlds and don’t want to explore the wonders of whole milk with espresso (if you have never asked for your latte to be made with whole milk, you’re sorely missing out on a beautiful coffee drinking experience IMHO). The next level up from this customer is the “Skinny latte with one pump of sugar free vanilla” customer who I assume just cries on their stationary bike at Soul Cycle in their Lulu lemon leggings 3 times a week and will never truly love themselves. SKINNY doesn’t = BEAUTY or HAPPINESS PEOPLE!
Anyone who uses Starbucks terminology
You are an asshole. Small, medium and large are actually standard sizes. If you ask for a TALL or GRANDE, I’m going to give you a Large because both of those words mean BIG, and you’re stupid. And rude.
Ice blended coffee (with whip, duh.)
If you’re not a family with young children, you might just be a grown adult who never understood the allure of coffee but like the routine of coming to a coffee shop and ordering the same thing every time and feeling like a real adult. You have adult money now too, so you don’t feel completely insane spending the same amount for what’s essentially a 16oz cup of milk than you would for an entire gallon at a grocery store. Part of me as a barista hates the blended drink customer, and scolds them for basically getting a milk shake at a respectable coffee institution, but on the other hand, I can almost commend someone who throws caution and calorie counts to the wind and embraces something minus all of the snobbery and drama that comes with traditional coffee and espresso drinks.