A Barista’s Life for Me

I’m having trouble finding work
In case you haven’t heard,
But now I start a new career,
A barista – spread the word.

With apron tied and hat secure
I’m ready to become
Lord of Lattes, Mocha Man
And prove I’m not a bum.

The training goes without a hitch
And all are filled with bliss,
I’m steaming milk and pouring shots
Like I was born for this.

But training runs and real-world chops
Are two quite different things,
As I find out, to my chagrin
When lo the rush doth bring

A flood of thirsty customers
All babbling foreign crap,
“A half-caf brewed” “A dirty chai”
“Make mine a mocha frap.”

Little squares on all the cups
Get marked with letters bold,
A complex form of shorthand that
Is quickly learned, I’m told.

But now the cups are stacking up
And more are on the way,
While I am left to stare quite lost,
My mind gone blank this day.

I grab a cup whose “syrup” box
Has “C” inside of it,
For “Cinnamon” or “Chocolate”
Or “Coconut Gumbo” – shit!

With eyes aglaze I reach for milk
And cue espresso shots.
“How many pumps?” “Where’s hazelnut?”
“Is this one ‘extra hot’?”

To stem the tide of backlogged drinks
And grumblings from the mob,
I’m put on frappuccino post,
An equally hectic job.

Three squirts of this, a dose of milk,
Then ice and squirts of that,
Blend, pour and add whipped cream on top
Don’t forget the drizzle – stat!

But getting lids onto the cups
Requires some secret touch,
Where others snap them on with ease
For this guy, not so much.

At first I try to gently coax
The plastic dome to fit,
But soon I’m muttering epithets
And pushing like a twit.

Then finally the lid snaps down,
The contents squirting free,
I hand the cup out dripping goo
‘Cause ten more wait for me.

From Mistos to Espressos
Whether Grande, Short or Tall,
Of 87-thousand drinks
I mastered none at all.

Oh, somewhere in this caffeined land
The sun is coming up,
The coffee’s brewing somewhere
To be poured into a cup.

And somewhere men are laughing,
And somewhere children shout
But there is no joy in FoCo,
This barista has washed out.

Image compliments of pega.com


14 thoughts on “A Barista’s Life for Me

  1. I wouldn’t make it as a barista. I couldn’t master the look of constant irony. I’d do better as a small town bartender. You know the look, it’s all “Whadya mean you wanna beer, can’t you see I’m watch’n the game?”

    • Don’t know if that look is irony or just mild panic (as in my case). There are standing orders to maintain a happy countenance at all times…I have to believe my forced smile looked more like a grimace than anything else.

  2. You are amazing, turning coffee grounds into a Bang-up Barista Blog. If you could learn to rap this, your tips would swell ten-fold even when you mix up the half-caf skinny and the double shot soy.

  3. It’s like a foreign language to me.
    Good luck on the job front. I think it’s still tough in many areas, and more so for older workers. Not to mention the idiocy of some to only hire people who currently have a job.

  4. Hi, I am in the same position as you, was made redundant in April from a decent job and now am working in a tea room (I’m in the UK), so I feel your pain. Part of me thinks it good to do something completely different and part of me can’t wait for my shift to end so that I can sit down.

  5. I loved being a barista. I just hated the other stuff, the people, the management, the cleaning. And secretly, I hated all the people who ordered tea. I love tea, but like, c’mon, it’s a coffee shop!

  6. Pingback: The Grapes of Wrath – Reboot | Lies Jack Kerouac told Me

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