Getting To Know Baristas: Secrets From Behind The Espresso Machine

He’s not just the guy foaming your milk, or the gal making sure you’ve got the right roast in your cup. Being a barista is a serious business, and it’s a job that didn’t even exist 30 years ago. Where would you be without your barista? Cranky and caffeine-deprived, that’s where. So let’s learn a bit more about their world, shall we?

SmartMoney runs through a handy list of 10 things your barista won’t tell you, but that they’ve apparently decided to tell someone because well, those things are in a list. Here are a few, check out SmartMoney for the complete story.

1. Serving coffee isn’t always just a part-time job: Many baristas have college degrees and have chosen that life for their career. And they’ve come pretty far from their humble beginnings — before 1982, there was no special name for them. Now that they’re basically essential to millions of Americans who don’t make coffee at home, many chains train their baristas on an annual basis to make sure that espresso is perfect. So don’t call them slackers.

2. A venti doesn’t actual pack a larger caffeine punch: A Starbucks spokeswoman says fancy grande and venti drinks both have two shots of espresso, and at Peet’s, a communications rep explains, small and medium lattes also both have two shots. If you’re not sure what you’re getting, ask about the number of shots in a drink and ask for more if you need it.

3. It’s rude of you to nurse your coffee all day while surfing the net: This one is a bit of a “duh” for anyone who isn’t totally clueless. Many baristas rely on tips for a bulk of their income, so if you tip for one drink and take up space all day, you’re not contributing much. If you do need to park it, get up once in awhile and tip on small purchases so you’re not a rude loiterer.

4. There are secret menus!: If the usual menu items don’t float your boat anymore, try asking your barista for something off-book. They might prefer you to order from the menu, but if you’re a regular and asking nicely for say, a Dirty Chai or an Espresso Pana Cotta, you might be in luck.

10 Things Baristas Won’t Tell You [SmartMoney]