Six things your Starbucks barista wishes you knew

I know this post is a little bit different from what I typically write about, but I’ve been hearing a lot shade being thrown around at Starbucks baristas lately. I thought it was time I protect my own and give the internet a new perspective on the coffee conglomerate we all know and love. So here’s my Starbucks story:

Around this time last year, I ended my short stint as a Starbucks barista. I only worked there for five short months, but I was an employee through the worst and busiest season of the year. I worked through the holidays at one of the busiest shops in my area. To sum it up, it was hell.

I was trying to learn one of the most complicated jobs I’ve ever had during a time when people were busy, cranky and there was constantly a line wrapping around the store. My experience with Starbucks proved to be a serious challenge, but I also met a lot of really cool people who completely changed the way I view Starbucks as a company and gave me a new perspective on the people in the green aprons. Needless to say, I thought my experience was worth sharing.

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Here’s six things your Starbucks barista wishes you knew.

1. They don’t care if you use the wrong drink names

They know that a medium is a grande and a small is a tall. Don’t be afraid to just say “small.” Nobody cares. No need to correct yourself either, because again, nobody cares.

2. No one will judge you if you don’t know anything about coffee

I used to get a lot of timid customers who would stare at the menu board not understanding any of it only to blurt out a drink they’ve never heard of at the last second. The baristas can smell your confusion from a mile away. If you have a question, just ask. It’s better than having to remake your drink because you hate it.

3. They’re extremely well trained

Starbucks is the number one game in town for a reason. It’s because their baristas are highly trained in making sure you get the damn near perfect amount of foam on your latte. Those gladiators in the green aprons are straight bosses with an espresso machine — never underestimate that.

4. They probably got your name wrong because they’re trying to get your drink made quickly

So your name was spelled wrong on your cup. If that’s the worst thing that’s happened to you today, you’re pretty lucky. If your drink is good and you didn’t have to wait twenty minutes to get it, I would call that a win.

5. They’re not all hipster, coffee connoisseur know-it-alls — they can actually be really down to earth

No, baristas aren’t all tattooed vegans slinging coffee to pay their way through liberal arts college. Actually, I met a lot of people just like me when I started working at Starbucks. It was intimidating to start working there without knowing much about an espresso machine, but everyone was really cool and willing to help.

6. They have regulars and know them by name

You’d think that a national chain like Starbucks wouldn’t have the hometown coffee shop feel, but Starbucks can be a place where everybody knows your name. Weekday morning regulars become friends you chat with daily. Don’t be afraid to chat it up with your favorite barista next time your in your local Starbucks. They might just get to know you so well that they’ll have your drink ready by the time you get to the counter (that actually happens by the way). Starbucks is just like any other local coffee shop.

Being a Starbucks barista is pretty intense job, especially when you’re dealing with long lines and cranky weekend customers. So, before you post a photo to Instagram complaining that the hipster coffee slave spelled your name wrong on the cup of your double, tall, nonfat, extra foam, two-pump caramel latte with extra drizzle, remember that someone just like you made that drink with love. Respect your baristas.