How to get a loogie in your latte, aka 10 ways to piss off your barista

Scary latte photo courtesy of

Since quitting my museum job a month ago and starting a job at a coffee shop, my life has simplified considerably. No more getting screamed at by crowds of people in foreign languages, no more answering the same question 873 times a day, and no more hour-long peak-time commutes. The only down side: customers who require very special attention and behave badly when they don’t receive it. Trust me, we’re here for you soy macchiato drinkers; nobody sets out to be a bitchy barista. So how about you don’t do any of these things on your next coffee run?

1) Order an iced half-caf cappuccino and proceed to chat on your phone outside while I call out your dumb order over and over again for 10 minutes and then complain when you finally come back inside and your fussy drink is watery.

2) When asked what you want to eat/drink, begin to slowly read the menu out loud to yourself.

3) Ask me to turn off the music because you’re trying to have a business meeting.

4) Bring back your iced soy latte after the milk “curdles.”  IT’S NOT ACTUALLY MILK! IT’S WATERY, COLD, BEAN SOUP!

5) Fail to read the sandwich menu properly and then tell me you’re allergic to cheese after said cheese has already been melted and the sandwich has been assembled.

6) Take someone else’s drink and put a ton of sugar and milk in it before realizing.

7) Tip your server with a fistful of coins.

8) Complain when your macchiato doesn’t look like the one from Starbucks.

9) Put a large lid on a small cup and then rage at me when you spill your drink down your shirt.

10) Stand at the counter when it’s busy, eyeing everyone’s food and drinks and asking when yours is going to be made because you’re in a hurry.

Did I miss anything? If you’re a food or drink server with a pet peeve, or a triple Americano drinker with a few thoughts for your local barista, lay it on us in the comments. 


  1. Jason "Gravy Train" Matuskiewicz

    Occasionally, I have this fantasy where I quit my sweet ass job laying around at home to return to the food service industry–I don’t know why, the brain in a peculiar specimen–and then I remember shit like the behavior described in this article. I feel your pain. I’m with ya.

  2. Craig

    Oh, man, so many:

    1. Talk on a cell phone while ordering, especially if you just mouth the order instead of saying it out loud.

    2. Leave garbage on your table.

    3. Leave garbage on the condiment bar INCHES AWAY from the garbage hole in said bar.

    4. I think you were getting at this with number 8, but: order a macchiato and then get mad when you get espresso and foam. That;s what that drink is. A caramel macchiato is a drink that Starbucks invented, and it’s just a vanilla latte with a bunch of caramel sauce. So if you want that, that’s what you have to order.

    5. Order an espresso in a big glass of ice and then go and make yourself a latte with the milk from the bar. Look, if it means that much to you, I’ll just charge you for the espresso and give you the latte. At least that way I don’t have to refill the milk at the bar every time you come in the store.

    6. Look, you spilled something. It happens, it’s ok. I may even decide to give you a free replacement, if I like you. But you’re not entitled to one. You bought the drink, you got the drink. Nothing about the transaction guarantees that it’s going to end up in your stomach. I’m not sure why you think that the fact that you just made a mess that I have to mop up entitles you to a free drink.

    • Tim Donnelly

      I can’t stand seeing people leave stuff on their tables at restaurants that clearly are self-busing establishments. Nothing makes me instantly judge people for being inconsiderate, pampered bastards than just assuming someone will clean up their mess. I saw this my frist week of college in the dining hall and it was then that I knew I made a mistake in my choice of higher education.

      • singoutlouise

        I think most Australians assume that the waiters/servers bus the tables, self bussing tables are something I’ve only seen in America. I don’t know about other countries though.

        • penelope

          Particularly if I’m the one who has to clean it up. You make a mess, you don’t clean it up, and somehow you’ve earned the right to a free drink? In what universe?

    • singoutlouise

      Yeah at times I am too nice at work but there’s no way I’m going to make you a free drinks for the one you spilled unless I physically pushed you over myself. You have to buy another one.

  3. justinmora

    I work at Starbucks and there are two things that piss me off. The first is prior to even looking at the cup to see what the drink is I get yelled at from the customer who just made the purchase, “Hey! make it good!” I had no clue I had any intention of actually making it bad.
    Secondly, frappucinos – people need to understand that these drinks already come with whipped cream unless asked for it not to come with it. Also, I know how to make the drink so you don’t tell me, ‘don’t forget to give me whipped cream!’
    I don’t know how I haven’t erupted in anger at a guest but then again I don’t take that job all too seriously anyway.

    • singoutlouise

      Yeah people that watch you make other people’s food/drinks and tell you not to put cheese on it/milk in it when they only just ordered and it’s busy. Sit and relax, you’ll get your order. Shhhh…

  4. Alyssa

    It’s been a while since I’ve worked in a job like this but..

    Apologize to the person you are on your cell phone with because you have to order a coffee drink, then forget your barista is an actual person. Why yes, I would like an apology for you being rude to me.

    ‘Remember’ you want non-fat, after I’ve made your drink with whole milk, then expect to get the other one too.

    Not tip at all, ever.

    • singoutlouise

      If something is so critically important that you have to remain on the phone while ordering, I think you’re better off dealing with that emergency before you decide to get a coffee/bagel.

  5. Dan Hassoun

    Back when I worked in service, the most grating thing for me was when patrons would stand waiting in long lines to order and then have no idea what they wanted when they finally reached the register. What were you thinking about during those 10 minutes in line???

    • singoutlouise

      Yes! Also I think that if people wait 20 minutes in a line, they should expect to wait at least that long for their food. Complaints about how long their breakfast is taking and how much of a hurry they’re in always get to me, because it makes it clear that they believe their time/hunger/schedule is more important than everyone else’s.

  6. conaldarcy

    Old Lady: Can you double bag that as well?
    Me: Mam, you have seven items and we’re already up to six bags. Do you really need two more?

    I know it’s not coffee, but needed to be shared..

  7. humanresources

    OMG so many things!
    1. Attempt really intense eye contact while shoving dollar after dollar in the tip jar.
    2. Tipping a penny, or holding up a long line to find exact change so that there is no possibility of you tipping.
    3. tell me you want something on the menu but you want to pay less for it.
    4. complain about the hours/prices as if I have any control over that
    5. Order the cheapest thing on the menu sit at a four person table, spread your stuff everywhere and then stay for 6 hours.
    6. tell me you are going to “keep it simple” then order a long list of the most complicated caveats.
    7. stand at the counter and hold forth, lecturing me about whatever, and not letting anyone who is trying to order get around you until you finish whatever it is you have to say.
    8. coming in and downloading two seasons of breaking bad, effectively slowing the wifi to a halt.
    9. going through each menu item and asking how much it will cost with tax.
    10. assuming that in addition to taking your money fixing your drink I want to be your best girlfriend, therapist, and babysit your unruly children. etc….
    I could go on….

    • penelope

      I think it depends on the cafe’s tip policy. At my cafe, our registers are closed out by a third party, who calculate the tips, and whatever system they use often leaves a remainder of coins behind that are technically ours, but we are not allowed to take (I don’t know why). On the other hand, if I’m running low on quarters, I pray there’s a handful in the tip jar so I don’t have to go back and get more out of the safe.

  8. ScarlettMW

    “Tip your server with a fistful of coins.”

    Right, because with all those registers in front of you it’s so difficult to change it to bills before you go home at night.

  9. Sorry, if I only have coins, I’m going to tip coins. Would you rather not have a tip at all? I hate having coins in my pocket and often times, those coins might add up to more than the dollar I’d otherwise give you.

    Also, it would be nice to be acknowledged for tipping. I’m not looking for a handjob or anything but if busy bartenders can throw a “thanks” my way once in awhile, why not my barista? It’s like they purposely look away when I throw the money in the tip jar.

    Only thing I ever get from coffee shops is plain, black coffee. I assume a dollar plus my change is a sufficient tip.

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