THE LIFE OF A BARISTA

 THE LIFE OF A BARISTA

Have you noticed how much coffee has changed in the last twenty years? Forget the last twenty, how about the last two? There was a time when ‘coffee’ was just one item on a menu. Now there are shops selling nothing but coffee. There is cappuccino, mocha, dark, light, flat white, Cortado, decaf – and if you’re in India – our very own filter kaapi. If you can trust Wikipedia, it claims that there are 68 different varieties of coffee. We think there are at least a hundred.
And what of the combinations? Some want their flat white with an extra spot of milk. Some want theirs blacker than the rest. One man may want their cappuccino with the froth left on top, while another may want his ‘clean’. No two men have ever agreed on how they wanted their coffee served. A couple I know met at a coffee shop and bonded over their love for filter coffee. They later broke up because the man always wanted his in a glass and she thought coffee always had to be served in a cup and a tray.
So imagine being a barista at a coffee shop, flitting from table to table, memorising this or the other order and never taking it down because that would make you seem incompetent to your customers. Did the man in the floppy hat want his Espresso with extra sugar or no sugar? Did the woman in the green sari want hers filled to the brim or in two halves? Did the boy with the Macbook want his on a tray?
Sometimes we think it can’t be that hard being a waitress at a coffee shop. But there’s always nuance where we least expect it. Even in a barista’s life.

Sunny Pathak

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