My 3 Favorite Things About Being a Barista

For over six years, I’ve worked as a part-time barista for Starbucks, juggling a crazy schedule that includes writing, working another job in my family’s construction business, and, more recently, attending college online as part of the Starbucks College Achievement Plan. Despite the hectic pace, I have loved my time as a barista, and over the years, I’ve come to really appreciate certain aspects of it.

At the end of this month, I’m leaving my role in the Starbucks stores for a different job with the company. While I’m excited about this new opportunity, the fact that I’ll no longer be working behind the counter had made me nostalgic about my time as a barista. In light of that, I’d like to share the three things I love most about working in a coffeeshop:

  1. The customers (especially the regulars.)

I know what they say. Many people think working with the general public is a pain. And some days, it is. But on the whole, most of my experiences in a customer-service oriented job have been positive ones. For every rude or negative customer, there have been a hundred wonderful ones. I love my regulars, those customers that come in every single day. I’ve learned their names, their orders, and I’ve gotten to laugh and cry with them. I’ve seen children born and loved ones lost. And over time, these people have become more than customers. They became friends. Like Bruce and Heidi, who were so consistent in asking me how my manuscript was coming along that it earned them a mention in A SONG FOR RORY‘s acknowledgments. Or any of the dozens of regulars who ask me on any given day how my writing is going or if I’m enjoying my college classes. My customers over the last six + years have made my job a pleasure.

2. My fellow baristas.

In addition to loving the customers, I’ve bonded with some pretty wonderful people over the years. See, I have this theory about baristas. We tend to be a pretty tight-knit community. I think it comes from working back-to-back in the pressures of a fast-paced job. When you’re a man down with twenty-four drinks lined up on the bar, and a fellow barista steps up to help you out by prepping drinks, stocking your syrups, and generally helping you out, you forge a pretty quick bond. I’ve met some of my very closest friends while working as a barista. And even while they’ve moved on from the job, we still check in with each other often and get together on a regular basis. In the barista world, we say, “Once a barista, always a barista.” It reminds us that we’re a family, even when we’re no longer working behind the counter.

3. The stories.

Many people have told me I should write a book about my coffeeshop adventures. In truth, it would have to be a compilation including stories from fellow baristas. Any number of which might include midnight police calls, lost kittens, fisticuffs in the parking lot, flooded back rooms, more misplaced keys than I can count, and even a dead body in the restroom (not on my watch but no lie.) It is a job fraught with anecdotes. And, being a writer, I love nothing more than hearing (and sharing) some of the stories. I doubt I’ll ever write a memoir of my time as a barista. But I’m pretty sure I’ll find ways to work my adventures into a book or two.

There are plenty of other things that have made my time as a barista a worthwhile experience. But these are the three that will stand out, in years to come, as the lasting legacy of my time working in a Starbucks cafe.

And don’t think I forgot about the next item in the giveaway for A Story Life’s debut! This week, in addition to the Thirty-One bag I mentioned for Week 1 of the giveaway, I’m adding a pound of Starbucks Veranda Blend blonde roast coffee to the prize package! If you haven’t already, make sure you enter via the form below. And remember, some entry options, like Twitter, can be done daily for extra entries!

Check back next week for another addition to the prize, as well as to find out what I’ll share next on A Story Life.

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