Being a barista

Paige Girardot, Managing and Design Editor

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The difference between a latte and a cappuccino is the amount of foam that goes on top. By definition, a latte will have a very thin layer of foam on top, while a cappuccino will have a much thicker layer. So when someone comes and orders a “cappuccino with no foam”, I just had to scratch my head. I should have just stopped here and made them their drink, but instead I suggested I make them a latte, which in essence would be the same exact thing, due to a latte and a cappuccino being the same thing, a latte is a cappuccino minus the foam.

“Um no, I want a cappuccino.”

At this point I decided to save my energy and I make their “cappuccino.” Now, before you think I’m some sort of coffee snob or something, I can assure you I’m really not. Before I got a job as a barista, I really didn’t know anything about coffee, but the job has opened the door to a whole new world of niche knowledge and experiences.

Working as a barista at a Scooters drive-through has really been the ideal job for me. I’m able to make people’s day with something as simple as a cup of caramel syrup, espresso, and some steamed milk. You might know it as a Caramelicious, but to me it is much more. A Caramelicious is the opportunity to make someone happy and learn something—beyond just drink recipes—while doing it.

While the job has its slight annoyances, ranging anywhere from people ordering their drinks wrong and somehow always leaving my shift covered in milk, so does any job. I’ve come to love, appreciate, and be grateful for my job.

Just the other day a woman came through, I can’t remember why, but somehow we got into a personal conversation. She asked me where I’d be going to college, to which I replied I wasn’t sure, due to the fact that I applied to several competitive colleges where admission isn’t necessarily guaranteed. She encouraged me, and told me that she hopes I get in. She asked what I planned to major, I told her I was interested in Global Studies or International Relations, which segued into how she had recently adopted a little girl from China, and how it has really changed her life. This exchange was so heartwarming, having such a personal exchange so organically, and to have someone see me as a human with thoughts and feelings, as someone who they could talk to, and not just someone who makes their coffee was so refreshing. This moment was just one of my favorite moments as a barista.

While a food service job can have its inconveniences, being a barista has allowed me to learn so much, about people and about myself, that all the downsides don’t matter anymore.  To me, it’s so evident that coffee is the ultimate bond between people, I love it and wouldn’t trade this job for any other.