Starbucks Baristas are My Friends

I love Starbucks and I'm not ashamed to admit it. I love the pleasing aromatic smell when I walk into the place. I love the cups, and mugs, and French presses, and wildly expensive coffee makers and coffee gadgets they sell. I love the fast and friendly service provided by the green-aproned baristas.

I have a very satisfying weekday morning routine that involves Starbacks. At approximately 7:20am, Monday through Friday, I visit the Starbucks conventiently located mere minutes from my house to pick up my morning java. My order is always the same. Venti Coffee (dark roast). Most mornings, I can get in and out of there in less than 5 minutes, despite the morning rush. That might have something to do with the fact that I don't have to speak while in Starbucks (other than to say "Thank you" when I'm handed my coffee). That's because they know me. And they know my drink.

The mark of a good and experienced barista is knowing your regular customers, and let me tell you, the baristas at my Starbucks rock. Most of them know me. Not my name, but my face. And more importantly, my drink order. I approach the counter, and many times my Venti Coffee it already sitting there waiting for me, because one of the baristas spotted me coming in and knew what I would order. Other times the barista waiting on me says "Venti Coffee." Not a question, but a statement. I nod my head or say "yes, please." I grab my drink, and I'm on my way.

The system is not always flawless though. One particular barista has asked me twice in the last month "Grande Half-Caff?" (A half regular, half decaf coffee for those of you not fluent in Starbuckian). I must look like the "Grande Half-Caff" girl. When I say "Nope. Venti Coffee" she's looked embarrassed. But she's new. Give it time.

And once about a month ago I went to Starbucks late on a Saturday morning. Not a day I normally go, and not the time I normally go either. Would they still know me? Was the recognition by the baristas more of a situational thing? Did they only know me because I was there like clockwork every day during the week? But most importantly, how would the baristas react when they learned I wasn't getting my normal Venti Coffee? I figured chaos would ensue.

You see, it was a hot and humid morning. It was around 11am, and it was already pushing 90 degrees. I didn't want a Venti Coffee. It was too warm out. I wanted a cold drink. So I approached the counter. "Venti Coffee" stated the barista with a smile, and turned around to grab my drink. "Nope. Something different this morning, " I said. "I'll take a Grande Non-fat, Sugar-free Iced Vanilla Latte." She looked at me as if I had sprouted horns and a tail.

There's just something about visiting a place where "everybody knows your name" (or rather, your drink). I see many of the same customers in Starbucks each and every morning. I'm always greeted with a smile, and all the baristas seem to be in perpetually good moods, which I find surprising since it's so early in the morning. Oh, and the coffee tastes really good too.

15 Responses to “Starbucks Baristas are My Friends”

  1. # Blogger J-Roc


    Michele sent me along.

    I've recently moved away from The Starbucks Experience (although I do have a not-so-secret love for their seasonal eggnog latte)

    I find it kind of comical that they offer three sizes of coffee - each word being a synonym for "large" in one language or another.

    After all, who the hell would want a small ANYTHING?



  2. # Blogger Amy

    Hi Kristi, thanks for stopping by my blog via Michele. We actually have a few things in common--I'm also hurtling towards 30 and my dream job is to be a food/travel writer. I've enjoyed reading your posts, and I'll definitely be a regular visitor here!  

  3. # Blogger MissMeliss

    I prefer independent coffee places, truly, but there are none in my area that have real hours (as opposed to "running a business as a hobby" hours), so I, too, am a Starbucks frequenter.

    I like my local Starbucks for many of the reasons you've named - they know my name, my face, my usual drink. And their product is always consistant.

    You seem to only allow blogger comments, I'm using an old login, but really I'm MissMeliss from Scritture.  

  4. # Blogger Pieces of Me

    Hey!! I saw you were new at Michele's so I thought I would come over and say hey even though it wasnt my place on the game but oh well hahaha! sh dont tell! I love starbucks...Mocha Frappachino for me! You shouldnt change on them like that...they wont know what to do...the next time you went in did they ask you what you wanted instead of having it ready??  

  5. # Blogger Kristi

    J-your post made me laugh. Their sizes are ridiculous, and as someone who is in Starbucks A LOT, I have never heard anyone order the Tall (small) size.

    Amy-Thanks for visiting! Your site is beautifully designed, and the photos made me hungry! I'll definitely be visiting your blog again soon.

    Zoe-I agree with you. I like independent coffee houses too, and when I'm going for coffee with friends, I always frequent one in particular that's close to my house. And thanks for the tip on my blog. I didn't know I only allowed blogger comments, so I just switched it to allow anyone to comment.

    Diana-Thanks for checking out my blog. Michele's blog is amazing. I hope my blog is as great as hers is someday. Yours is great too, so I'll definitely be visiting it again soon. To answer your question, the next time I went in, they went right back to knowing my regular drink order, so apparently the switch-up didn't have any lasting effects!  

  6. # Blogger PractiGal

    I'm like a deer in headlights when I walk into Starbucks... a non-coffee drinker, and non-regular. Though I've been to every Starbucks in the metro area on blind dates (before I was married, of course). I get a Tall Tazo tea of some sort, usually.. :-)

    Great post, Kristi!!  

  7. # Blogger Mixed Metaphor

    Hi Kristi,

    Just wanted to say thanks for your comments on my blog. I am expecially warm to them, as I think that you are quite the writer too! I look forward to seeing yours develop.

    Unfortunately, I am not wayward in the Starbuckian slang, and tend to be one of those confused babbling idiots that stands at the counter meekly inquiring for a coffee? medium? do you have that? ... Even though my sister 'erself was quite the Starbuck-barrista in her hey-day...

    I'll be back, of course!  

  8. # Blogger Blond Girl

    kinda wish I liked coffee... and your post makes me feel more that way. See, I love the smell and I can't STAND the flavor. I would make a great barista... I remember faces and details. I have customer service down to a "T" and I love the smell - but I wouldn't drink the profits. If The Big Company didn't pay me so well, I might just go do it....

    Thanks for visiting me the other day!  

  9. # Blogger Kross-Eyed Kitty

    Loved the post!
    Am terrified of Starbucks myself...I stand there at the counter and NEVER know what the hell size 'medium' is!  

  10. # Blogger Caryl

    Nice blog.
    I gave up Starbucks after the 9/11 incident – how the shop by the World Trade Center made the Firemen pay for the bottles of water desperately needed to clean their eyes, etc. However, just last Saturday I met a friend at my local Starbucks for breakfast – just to talk and catch up. It was a glorious day and I found myself wondering why I don’t “hang out” at Starbucks more often. I love to people watch and everyone was out – parents pushing their babies and others walking dogs. My Starbucks is in an “upscale” neighborhood in Huntersville, NC – very yuppyish, but fun to walk around. I’ll keep you posted on my “Starbucks” adventures.


  11. # Anonymous JV

    I prefer the independent places. There's a great one around the corner from where I work, but I can't always fit it into my routine. However, I'm about to move to a neighborhood that has a Starbucks just around the corner, and conveniently on the way to work.

    How exactly does one pronounce 'venti', anyway? Is it like the Italian? I always get nervous that I'm going to pronounce stuff wrong when I go into Starbucks.  

  12. # Blogger Kristi

    Marie-we'll go to Starbucks together soon and I'll walk you through it. You'll be a pro in no time!

    Abee and Kitty-it does take awhile to get used to their lingo. I still think I don't say things in the right order. For example, is it "Iced, Grande, Decaf, non-fat, sugar-free vanilla latte" or "Decaf, Grande, Iced, sugar-free vanilla, no-fat latte"?

    Blond Girl-I'd actually love to work there too. Maybe a part time job someday?

    Caryl-I hadn't heard about that story. That's awful.

    Hey JV- I like the indies better myself, actually, but there isn't one on my way to work. I hit them when I'm hanging out with friends, though. And I pronounce "venti" phonetically, just like it looks. Thanks for stopping by!  

  13. # Anonymous Suzy Starbucks

    I am actually working on a blog that addresses these pressing starbucksese (or starbuckese, or starbucksian, or starbonics) questions at so that everybody can navigate the starbucks lingo with equal aplomb  

  14. # Anonymous Anonymous

    Fantastic blog. Ben

    coffee maker  

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