scorecardWe asked a barista her biggest customer pet peeves. Here are her 8 tips to avoid annoying coffee-shop employees.
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We asked a barista her biggest customer pet peeves. Here are her 8 tips to avoid annoying coffee-shop employees.

Azul Cibils Blaquier   

We asked a barista her biggest customer pet peeves. Here are her 8 tips to avoid annoying coffee-shop employees.
Retail4 min read
  • A barista at Verve Coffee Roasters in San Francisco shared her coffee-shop-etiquette tips.
  • The barista also pointed out what customers shouldn't do next time they stop to buy a coffee.

As the world opens back up and coffee shops see a new influx of customers, baristas have gone from regulars greeted on a first-name basis to an ocean of quick interactions and unfamiliar faces. And while all businesses surely welcome the popularity, coffee shops are often treated like personal living rooms.

We spoke with Emily Menacho, a 22-year-old barista at Verve Coffee Roasters, a chain originated in Santa Cruz, in San Francisco, about her biggest customer pet peeves. If you go to a coffee shop regularly, these tips will help you behave like a grade-A client.

1. Listen to the barista when you're placing an order

If you're in a coffee shop on a weekday, you're most likely hurrying someplace. You might be on a call with your colleague or texting your kids' nanny — whatever it may be, you're probably on your phone at the register. We've all done that, half-heartedly said our order, and then looked up to find the cashier patiently waiting for us.

It's no surprise baristas hate that. If you're not paying attention, you won't listen or respond to what they're asking you — and when there's a miscommunication, a lot of people get annoyed (and orders can get messed up).

Menacho told Insider some customers will say "No" to cream and sugar, then ask: "Oh, so is the cream and sugar out here?"

"No," Menacho said. "It's behind the counter."

2. Be polite

"We always say, 'Good morning,' and, 'Thank you, have a good day,'" Menacho said. "And people just don't respond at all."

Be kind to your barista! They probably woke up earlier than you and still manage a smile.

3. Don't race to pay

Once upon a time, we just handed our card to the cashier. It was a simpler time. Now, many card-reading systems require that we coordinate between two people — the cashier finalizing the order, then the customer putting their card in the reader — at 8 a.m. However, there is a way!

Don't race to pay.

"We can't continue a transaction if someone puts their card in first," Menacho said. "So we're like: 'Oh yeah, just one minute,' and they're fighting to put their card through. And we can't even continue the order."

Also, don't walk away once you hear the bing. Usually there are other steps to be followed (ehem, tips).

4. Don't chase your drink

I know, you're desperate for some caffeine. But don't try to grab the drink from your barista's hand.

"People usually chase our hand as we're trying to set them on the counter," Menacho said. "This pet peeve is just because we're going to spill it or drop it, and the drinks are usually hot."

Just a few more seconds, and then the wait is over — that way, no one gets hurt and no coffee gets spilled!

5. Make sure you take your drink

Emphasis on your. Basically, don't take other people's drinks. Baristas have to remake them if you do, and that's just a waste of time and money for everyone.

"People do this a lot," Menacho said. "And then you have someone waiting for 20 minutes being like: 'Hey, my drink never came out,' but we definitely did it. This is not the worst annoyance, but it's just sad."

6. Don't ask if the bathroom lock works

When you gotta go, you gotta go. But if there's someone already in the bathroom, you gotta wait. Don't go and ask the barista if the lock is broken because it says "occupied." They know just about as much as you. If it says occupied, it's probably occupied.

"It happens way more than you would think," Menacho said. "And people ask us, 'Oh, so there's someone in there if it says occupied?' And we're like, 'Yeah.'"

7. Don't take your shoes off

Also, don't put your bare feet on the couches. Not only is it unsanitary, but unless you're in a shoe store, no one wants to see other people's feet.

"It's uncomfortable when we have to tell people that it's unsanitary to take their shoes off," Menacho said. "People just get really comfortable at the coffee shop, but sometimes they don't even have socks on. Most people are just shocked that we come over and ask them to put their shoes on, and we're thinking: 'Yes, this is shocking for us, too.'"

8. Be respectful of store hours

"The No. 1 annoyance is when people order for 'here' in the last 10 minutes before we close," Menacho said.

It's 5:50 p.m. and you just finished your day. You've been dreaming all day with a steaming cup of chai latte from your favorite coffee shop, and perhaps even a delicious pastry. Traffic made you late, but you arrived just in time before they closed the doors at 6 p.m. You go in, make your order, and sit down.

"We'll be closing in 10 minutes," the barista lets you know, but you only half-heard her. Instead, you open a book and decide to enjoy yourself for a bit.

Don't do that. Baristas also worked all day and they want to go home. Be respectful of the shop's hours.

Are you a barista and want to share your biggest pet peeves? Email