How well do you know the person you entrust to make your coffee at your favorite coffee shop? That coffee connoisseur is called a barista, and they do more than just pour a cup of Joe. In fact, many baristas receive two full weeks of training prior to beginning work, and at the very least they must study under more experienced baristas to learn the plethora of drinks on the menu. A barista must prepare espresso, know how to whip milk, and be well versed in the right proportion of milk to coffee in every drink. In order to get what you really want next time you need a caffeine fix, here is a quick guide to ordering coffee.
Use the Right Lingo
If you're not at Starbucks, a medium drink is just a medium...not a "Grande." Use the lingo of your local coffee shop, remembering where you are. This might sound trivial, but your local independent barista might not appreciate being lumped in with a national chain. Also call each drink by its proper name according to the shop's menu, not one that you're used to calling it somewhere else. Aside from frustrating your barista, you might end up with the wrong drink!
Know Your Beverages
Want to know the most fundamental and important rule for ordering a coffee concoction? Say "Please" and "Thank You." Your barista loves coffee and would probably be happy to explain what a macchiato is if you show up with a smile. Likewise, ask for tips about how to order more efficiently, like calling a drink with twice the regular espresso a "double shot."
Don't Reinvent the Wheel
Trust your barista! Don't try to create a brand new coffee concoction when there are myriad already available on the menu. Sure, you might need to make a substitution or two, but trust what your coffee professionals created and put on the menu.
Your barista should become a trusted friend, especially if you rely on coffee to wake up every morning. Remember that tips are always appreciated, especially if your barista goes out of her way to create a drink with special ingredients or substitutions. Another inside scoop: baristas choose favorite customers, and you won't become one if you show up barking for a complicated drink while you talk on your cell phone.
Deborah Hunter is always on the lookout for the perfect cup of Joe. An avid blogger, she likes to share her findings with others by posting on the web. You can find her interesting articles on many cooking, kitchen and home living websites and blogs.