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Let the barista do the talking
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Let the barista do the talking

by Natalia DEMBOWSKA 3 min. 09.09.2021 From our online archive
How to order your coffee without making others cringe
A barista preparing coffee
A barista preparing coffee
Photo credit: Shutterstock

Recently and unfortunately, I stumbled upon an annoying phenomenon, which I will share with you today. It is one thing for the barista to know your usual order and greet you asking - Good morning, the usual? It’s a different story to enter a café, make eye contact with the barista, and steal their line by saying - Good morning, the usual!

Don’t do that. Just don’t ever do that.

You might think I’m exaggerating, but like all other annoying phenomena in this world, there is a real problem underneath a seemingly innocent outer layer - one I will dissect for you. In the custom of ordering coffee, the expression “the usual” is reserved for the barista - it is their and only their right to choose when to tickle a customer’s ego and increase sympathy and familiarity between them (the worker) and the client (the consumer).

Even if you’re pretty sure the barista knows your order on the basis of your previous visits, just don’t say it. Wait for them to make the first move.

Now for most people, ordering coffee is not a complicated situation. You just walk in, say what you want, and get your order. There is nothing wrong with that. There is also nothing wrong with the barista deducing your order based on your previous visits. Just let them do the talking. So if the barista asks the usual? just smile and be happy you are the special client whose order is known. If you are ever with a friend and the situation occurs, pretend to be slightly embarrassed and say with some humility: They know me… Don’t forget to follow up with a lengthy explanation of why this particular café is the only one you ever go to, and you’re good to go. Literally, you’re good to go.

You don’t have to stay, make chit chat, stop the barista from working and act like you own the place. You quite literally don’t own the place. You’re just a customer spending your money in a local café. You wake up every morning and leave your house for the same overpriced coffee. So often in fact that the barista knows your order.

Think about the money you’ve spent here, the cups you threw in the bin, the plastic lids that may have ended up in the ocean. Then ask yourself: is this really my ego-boost of the day? If that is the case, fine, but do you really need to make it so obnoxiously apparent to everyone around you? It’s just one of these small and simple things in life everybody enjoys, something that belongs in your solitary adventures - so for yourself.

Guys in their 40s wearing business suits and fancy looking influencers filled with rage at reading the previous paragraphs, please know that I do realise we are all just simple beings, who need some outside validation. That can happen anywhere (at a store, restaurant or library). Feeling good about it is not something to be ashamed of or frowned upon. But don’t barge in thinking that just because you regularly spend money somewhere, the staff needs to know your order. Even if they do actually know it.

So the next time your barista honours you by memorising your order, just see it as a personal reward. Just for your own sake - and the sake of those standing near you, forced to witness the exchange – don’t make too much out of it. There must be other things than ordering coffee that help you build self-esteem and give you a sense of belonging.

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