“The Wild Bunch” – Wait(er) Magazine

The Wait(er) magazine website is going through some changes and a couple of my articles have been taken down. In the interest of keeping them out there and getting as many people as possible to read them, I’m reposting them here. This one was originally published in November 2013.

Much like the ensemble cast of your favorite 90s sitcom, every cafe has a collection of well-known and well-loved characters. The folks you see behind the counter — expertly folding steamed milk into heart and leaf shapes, pouring coffee into your cup with one hand while magically brewing and grinding with the other, even changing the 500lb grinds garbage — are all real people with real lives outside the tiny world in which you see them. But after nearly seven years of coffee wench life, I’ve noticed a trend in the types of people generally attracted to working in cafes. Let’s have a closer look at the barista in its natural habitat.


4 thoughts on ““The Wild Bunch” – Wait(er) Magazine

  1. As a barista myself I recognize those various descriptions of me and my co-workers. I have a good combination at our shop. Unfortunately our boss is ‘A Stickler’ and it drives the ‘Master of Foam’ and ‘The Tank’ crazy. The Stickler was an ‘After School Barista’ until she was promoted. She graduated college and when the mgmt position came up, everyone was positive I would apply and get it, she only applied because I encouraged her to, she didn’t want it. She had a degree. I had ovarian cancer. I found out in the hospital that she got the job I’d interviewed for only 2 weeks before. Now I work for her. She’s actually pretty nice and she tries so hard to be ‘one of the girls’ that it’s kind of painful to see. I’m pretty grateful to her now, she’s been amazing scheduling me for short shifts and making sure I have enough hours to keep my insurance current but not so much to wear me out. So, seeing the transformation has been interesting. Now we are hiring a ‘newbie’. More training. And it will be interesting to see what they turn out to be like….

    • The Sticklers are great but they can be a little annoying sometimes. It’s always interesting to see the kinds of people who end up working as baristas, and watch how the cafe becomes a bit of an ecosystem/surrogate family for a lot of people. I’m happy to hear your boss has been working around your needs and making sure you get enough hours for insurance — that’s so important! You’ll have to let me know which kind of barista the newbie turns into!

      • Will do…hoping that she’s hired this boy named Harley. He’s a big, nice kid and it would be great to have a guy in the shop. Just to be fair…it has nothing to do with the fact that he’s really cute.

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