A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

21 Annoying Coffee Shop Habits You Have, According to Starbucks Baristas

Your phone is the bane of your barista's existence.


You are totally unprepared

While you don’t need to know your order the minute you walk into the restaurant, baristas appreciate if you spend your waiting time thinking about what you want if there’s a long line. “They’ve stood in line for 15 minutes waiting, thinking about what they’re going to order, and then they get to the register and they just stare at the menu as if it’s the first time they’re seeing it,” says Alyssa, store manager at a New York Starbucks.

iStock/David Crespo Nieto

You’re an indecisive Starbucks addict

Starbucks employees will be particularly annoyed at your long, hard thought if they know you’re familiar with the menu. “When they come here like every single day and they start looking at the menu and the line starts forming, I’m like, come on, hurry up,” says Luis, shift supervisor at a New York location. “You come here every day and you still don’t know what you want?”


You ask a million questions

Asking how Oprah cinnamon chai is different from chai is one thing, but listing the ingredients of single Frappuccino gets tedious. “I get that Starbucks is kind of confusing and you don’t know all the stuff, but there are a few things you could figure out,” says Emily, who worked five months at a Pennsylvania location. This is the real reason why Starbucks coffee sizes aren’t small, medium, and large.


You don’t care about my answers

Preferably, you should have some intention of ordering that product if you do decide to ask a question or two. “They’ll say, ‘What’s in a java chip Frappuccino?’ You’ll list everything. ‘Well, how many calories is that? And then you tell them. ‘Well, what about this drink?’ And you’ll list the things in that drink. And then they go, ‘I’ll just have a grande coffee,” says Alyssa. “I want the last three minutes of my life back.”


You refuse to put your phone down

Give your barista the same courtesy you’d give to anyone else. That means if you’re placing an order, you shouldn’t be chatting on the phone at the same time. “I couldn’t stand when people would be on their phones while ordering,” says Katy, who worked for ten months in a California Starbucks. “It was always tough to figure out who they were actually talking to.” Here are 13 things Starbucks employees won’t tell you.


You take your morning stress out on your barista

To prep for the early-morning work crowd, Starbucks workers have to get up extra early too. Hard as it might be before you’ve got your caffeine fix, try not to take your morning irritation out on your barista. “You get those people who don’t get that they’re only getting coffee, so they make it a super big deal,” says Luis. “It just ruins your day because it’s the first interaction you have in the morning.” Don’t miss the real reason coffee is called a “cup of joe.”


You don’t have your money ready

If the line is out the door, try to expedite things by having your money ready. “We finally get their order and then they take another two minutes shuffling through their bag to get their money,” says Alyssa. “That’s frustrating.” This is the one drink you should never, ever order at Starbucks.


You think mobile ordering is instant

Starbucks members can order and pay ahead of time, sending a sticker to the store with the drink order. But baristas still have to take care of other customers, so your order won’t be ready the moment you place it. “I’ve been standing there, a sticker will print out, and they’ll come in literally 30 seconds later and ask, ‘Is my drink ready yet?’” says Alyssa. “That’s pretty crazy.” We bet you didn’t know the surprising origin behind Starbucks’ name.


You don’t read the large print

Sometimes, the chain will run specials at certain times of day. Read the full details so you know if the deal is available, or you’ll bother your barista’s pet peeves. “It’s from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., and they’ll come in at 8 in the morning and ask for it,” says Luis.


You keep pushing for something that’s run out

Sometimes, a Starbucks location will run out of a specific product. No matter how disappointed you are, understand that the employee isn’t trying to ruin your day. “We’re here to give a service, and if we don’t have something you have the right to be like, ‘OK, why?’” says Luis. “You’ll say ‘this is why,’ and they still give you attitude.” He says he usually tries recommending something else. Take your barista’s suggestion—you might end up finding a new favorite. Here are 7 things that happen to your body when you drink coffee every day.


You act entitled

Don’t assume you’re being slighted just because other people are getting their drinks before you. Some orders take longer than others, so your Starbucks barista has a lot to handle. “There would be people who would complain about the order that drinks were being made in because they thought they had ordered before someone else,” says Katy. “Just be polite and patient. There’s always a lot going on.”

iStock/Petar Chernaev

You have your nose in your phone while waiting

As important as your Candy Crush obsession is, pay attention when your drink is being made to make sure you don’t miss your order. “We’re calling their drink for like three minutes, ‘Grande latte for Joe’ and Joe is standing there on his phone, not listening,” says Alyssa. “We give up calling out after five minutes, and then Joe comes up and goes, ‘Is my drink ready?’”

iStock/Natalia Van Doninck

You get impatient waiting for a complicated drink

“When you see a bunch of kids walk in ten minutes before close, you know it’s going to be Frappuccinos galore,” says Alyssa. “There’s like nine steps to making a Frappuccino.” Emily says she’s had similar experience at a rest stop, when a bus full of kids ordered about 50 Frappuccinos. While the kids were patient and the employees were happy to fill the order, Emily says it was stressful because the workers have to wash the tools between every drink. Feel free to order what you want, but be patient while you’re waiting. Here are 10 problems all coffee lovers will definitely understand.


You don’t trust my judgment

Starbucks guidelines allow food to stay out for a few hours without risk of expiring. Even if you personally would keep your croissants in a zip-top bag, rest assured your pastry is still perfectly good. “Some people will not believe you and will say it’s stale and want their money back, even though it’s half eaten,” says Emily. By the way, if you drink your coffee black, you’re probably a psychopath.


You don’t realize what you’re ordering

If you ask for modifications, know what you’re getting yourself into. For instance, an extra dry cappuccino is going to have more foam and less milk than your typical cup. “It really bugged me when customers would order their cappuccinos extra dry and then complain that there wasn’t enough milk,” says Katy. Check out these surprising things that happen to your body when you stop drinking coffee.

iStock/Lise Gagne

You blame me when you order wrong

Just because you meant to ask for decaf doesn’t mean that you remembered to say it at the counter. If your barista seems confused when you double-check that there’s no caffeine, keep in mind the mistake might be on you. “People would forget to say part of their order, and you would get yelled at later,” says Emily. “Some people just forget, but instead of saying they forgot to say it, they blame you.”


You think you know better than me

Unless you have a strong reason to believe your barista made your order wrong, resist asking for a redo. Your taste buds might not be as accurate as you think. “You’ll put in three pumps and they say it tastes like two,” says Emily. “You have to take their word for it, even though you know you did it right.”


You decide you don’t like it halfway through

Choking down one sip before you hand your drink back is one thing, but if you’ve already gulped down half the cup, your barista is not going to appreciate making you a new one. “How did you get through half if you didn’t like it?” says Russo. “But we can’t really question it.”

iStock/Jacob Ammentorp Lund

You ask for multiple remakes

A barista is happy to remake your drink if it didn’t come out right the first time, but don’t take the offer too far. “We’ll make your drink as you like it, but some people take it to the extreme and will definitely have you remake it as many times as they see fit,” says Alyssa. “They think you’re here as your indentured servant to remake your drink like four times because it’s either too light or too heavy.” Here’s how to save your teeth from coffee stains.

iStock/Sami Sert

You leave your trash lying around

Even though workers clean the tables, Starbucks is set up for customers to throw out their own trash. If you open a straw, make sure the wrapper makes it into a wastebasket. It will take you two seconds, but save the Starbucks employees a headache. “They leave garbage all over the handoff plane, even though there’s a garbage can right there,” says Alyssa. Here are 8 myths about how coffee affects your health–and the truth you need to know.


You’re messier than you should be

While an employee won’t mind cleaning up a few crumbs that you dropped, try to keep your mess a bit contained. “I can understand if the crumbs are on the table where you eat, but when you get up and they’re all over the chair, I’m like ‘how do you do that?’” says Luis. Next, find out how drinking coffee prevents damage to your DNA.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest

Marissa Laliberte
Marissa Laliberte-Simonian is a London-based associate editor with the global promotions team at WebMD’s Medscape.com and was previously a staff writer for Reader's Digest. Her work has also appeared in Business Insider, Parents magazine, CreakyJoints, and the Baltimore Sun. You can find her on Instagram @marissasimonian.