How to get the best service at a coffee shop

How to get the best service at a coffee shop


Ahead of the launch of Prodigal, Mark and I cupped for a minimum of one hour each morning. Having such a routine allowed us to calibrate well after cupping more than 2000 samples together. Those sessions also taught us a lot, some of which I’d like to share here....

How to get the best service at a coffee shop

9 Tips From a Barista

Now, we can all agree that buying and brewing your own beans is the way to go. Some days, though, it’s nice to see what the coffee shops have to offer. We’ve all been there. We order one thing, we get another. We say room for cream, and alas, the coffee is filled to the brim. Now, you can accept your fate, or you can change it. Here’s how you can get the best service possible… and maybe even make the day of the person that helps you wake up: the barista.

1. Know what you’re ordering before getting in line.

It’s easy to get distracted when waiting in line, but once you get to the front, you’d better know what you’d like! There are people behind you that would like to order too, and the faster you order, the faster you can drink your delicious morning brew. If you are having a hard time deciding between a couple options, feel free to ask the person behind the counter (they often know what’s best).

2. Don’t use your cell phone.

This should be a given, but you’d be surprised. There’s nothing more frustrating than the guy on his cell phone, trying to have two conversations at once. We understand that there could be an emergency … in that case, can’t the coffee wait?

3. Speak up!

It’s okay to get a little loud with us. Baristas don’t have super-hearing, and sometimes the coffee grinder can be a little bit louder behind the counter. Make sure that you’re getting exactly what you wantand you’re not going to get that telling secrets into thin air.

4. Have your form of payment ready.

You may worry that you’re inconveniencing those behind the counter by having us make a change. It’s OK, they don’t mind! It’s part of the job. Making people stand behind you while you dig for exact change and pocket lint or counting pennies is far worse than breaking that 50. 

5. Don’t hover over the pick-up counter.

We will call out your drink when it’s ready. Take a load off and grab a seat for a minute or two. Hovering over the pick-up counter has caused unspeakable accidents, argumentsmaybe even divorce. There’s nothing worse than accidentally spilling scalding hot tea all over a perfect stranger.

6. Tip your barista.

If you received excellent service, throw a quarter or two into the tip jar. Now, if you’re simply bringing a bottled juice or muffin to the checkout, no worries. A thank you will hold up just fine. But if your barista washed out your travel mug for you and steamed up your latte with love … show your appreciation. They’ll remember it next time.

7. Use one chair.

Yes, we understand that it’s tempting. You see that other empty chair and decide that it’d be a perfect footrest. Perhaps it would … but let’s agree it’d be better off not to. If you’re putting your things on a chair because you’d rather sit alone (we can all be a little anti-social some days), try moving the chair to a different table instead. Win-win.

8. Use headphones.

Don’t be “that guy.” If you want everyone to know about that awesome new local band, try buying their merch instead. (Who doesn’t like a new t-shirt?)

9. Clean up!

The firestorm has come, and if you don’t get out of the coffee shop as fast as possible, you will be turned into a goopy mixture of ashes and blood! Just kidding, it’s beautiful out, and you have time to bring your trash to the rubbish bin. 

Related: How to fit coffee into your budget


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