My Afternoon as a Starbucks Barista

Chaotic as things may appear behind a Starbucks counter, every drink is made custom and to order in a systematic, organized way. I know this because I spent an afternoon as a Starbucks barista. Laurel Village Starbucks store manager Deanna Barbagiovvanni put me to work yesterday behind the espresso machines.

The trickiest part of being a barista is deciphering the code on the side of a Starbucks cup. It was like trying to read an unknown foreign language. "That's a nonfat, two-pump white mocha," Deanna said, reaching for espresso shots, as I stood there, still trying to make sense of the notations. Customers rarely place orders for standard drinks, she explained: "One girl comes in every day and orders a venti Coffee Frappuccino with a grande scoop of ice, double blended, with light whip and just a little chocolate drizzle." Find out what else I learned and check out a video of me as barista when you read more.

It's very easy to make a mess. Thankfully, baristas employ a few tricks: If a cup runneth over, simply put another cup on top of it to cover up the mess. Too much whipped cream or foam to put the lid on? Taking the first cap off removes most of the foam or whip, and the second lid'll be the charm.


After making scores of beverages like the one in the clip above, I left feeling a little more confident about my coffee-making skills — but mostly, with a greater appreciation for those people who make coffee to my specifications every morning. It's not as easy as it looks! Does being a barista at Starbucks sound like a challenging job to you?

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