The 8 worst things you can do at Starbucks, according to a barista

I've been working as a Starbucks barista on my campus for over a year now. Don't get me wrong — I love my job. There are few things that make me happier when someone asks for a suggestion and then ends up loving it, or comes back to thank me because their drink came out great.

Worst things you can do at Starbucks
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Worst things you can do at Starbucks

1. Not saying what size

I get it, you’re at Starbucks because you need your daily fix of caffeine, and if you’re anything like me, you’re like a zombie before you get it. With that being said, though, more people than you would think don’t say what size drink they want — probably about a third of all customers don’t.

Even if you don’t know the Starbucks lingo, you can ask for a “large” and we’ll know what it means, but, please, don’t give us some really complicated order without saying what size so we can actually mark the cup as you say it. It just gets really repetitive having to ask customer after customer what size drink they want while trying to remember their orders.

2. Ordering while on your phone

Also with ordering, please have the courtesy to get off of your phone for two seconds to communicate your order. Not only is it incredibly rude to be on the phone or glued to your text when trying to order, but chances are we won’t be able to understand you and you won’t be paying attention to us if we ask you a question. So please, hang up with mom before getting in line.

3. Dumping coffee into the trash

When we ask you if you want room for cream in your coffee, it is so that there is space in the cup to put milk in if you wish. That’s not such a hard concept, is it? If not, then why do people ask for no room but then go over and dump half a cup of hot coffee into the trash to add milk? Please stop doing this. The trash bags are already disgusting when we get around to changing them, and dumping liquid in them just makes it worse.

4. "I wanted that iced."

We all make mistakes, but if I had a penny for every for every time I heard this one, I could afford all the Starbucks my heart desires. Unless you specify, all of our espresso beverages are made hot. I don’t care if it’s the middle of summer; you need to let us know if you want something iced. We’re happy to remake it for you but it messes up our flow and slows us down, and this could all be avoided by specifying when you order.

This also applies to, “I wanted that with soy,” or, “I didn’t want whip on that.” We are baristas, not psychics.

5. Saying "Frappé"

A “frappé” is a drink at McDonald’s. Starbucks does not have “frappés.” If you order a “frappé” instead of a Frappuccino, you will sound stupid and your barista will judge you, no questions asked.

6. "Is this mine?"

You just ordered a small hot drink one minute ago, so, no, this large iced drink is not yours. I don’t get this. You think that all of these people that have been waiting here longer than you are just standing around for fun? This venti Frappuccino with whipped cream is not your tall hot chai tea latte. We make drinks in order, so your order is not going to be ready right after you pay.

7. Being in a hurry

This one goes along with the last one. We make drinks in order, so we are not going to prioritize yours just because you are in a hurry. It’s extremely rude to ask the barista to make your drink first because you need to make it across campus in 5 minutes. It’s not our fault that you thought that would be enough time to order Starbucks and make it to your meeting.

8. Iced Caramel Macchiato

My last pet peeve is probably the one that bothers me the most. Macchiatos are not supposed to be iced. Macchiato in Italian means “marked,” meaning that your milk is marked with espresso, creating a strong coffee flavor at first that gradually fades into sweet milk. When you order it iced and drink it through a straw, this is already going to be backwards since you are starting at the bottom.

And to make things worse, a piece of me dies every time I watch someone stir their iced caramel macchiato after they get it, combining the layers. Or worse, order it “upside down”. That isn’t a caramel macchiato anymore. It’s an iced latte. If that’s what you want, order that, but why am I wasting my time making a macchiato if you’re just going to mess it up?

It’s clear that nobody actually knows what a caramel macchiato is and that they are just ordering it because it sounds cool, but please don’t. If you want to know what a drink is, ask your barista. We love to share our knowledge.


With that being said, though, there are a handful of things Starbucks customers do that really grind my gears, and I'm sharing this article with the hopes that you can spare your barista the grief and avoid doing them as well.

Related: Never put these in the microwave

10 things you should never microwave
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10 things you should never microwave

1. Eggs 

Apparently, there is a new internet trend of making hard boiled eggs in a microwave. Do. not. do. this. I know this sounds like the perfect alternative for all of us lazy college students out there, but it is not as great as it sounds.

As you know, the microwave emits radio waves that channel heat directly to the food. This actually makes a lot of steam come out of the egg. So much steam that it makes the egg explode. The steam has no room to go so it sort of creates its own room. 

2. Styrofoam

You know how everyone always says not to put plastic in a microwave? Well, styrofoam containers are made from polystyrene foam, which is a type of plastic. If you put this in the microwave, the styrofoam will look different, almost as if it were melting. Even though it is not technically melting, it's releasing toxic chemicals that will be harmful to the food inside the container as well as to you. 

3. NothingLife GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

When you run a microwave empty, the radio waves that it emits are absorbed by the microwave itself. Since there is nothing else inside of it, the microwave can't handle receiving all the waves and could either self-destruct or even worse, start a fire

4. Hot peppers

If you try to microwave hot peppers, you'll be evaporating its capsaicin, which is known to be the chemical that makes peppers spicy. The moment you open the microwave door, that vapor will come out and burn your eyes and throat. So for your own good, please don't try this. 

5. Fruits

First of all, I have no idea who could ever crave a microwaved fruit. However, if by any reason this sounds appealing to you; don't try it. Grapes, for instance, will explode and could even result in starting a fire. Another good example of why this is not a good idea: raisins. Raisins will not only smoke but could also break down your microwave by the amount of plasma it will emit.  

6. Aluminum foil

Aluminum foil is a kind of metal, and like all metals, it can catch fire inside the microwave. To prevent this from happening, just take your leftovers out of the aluminum foil and use a microwave-safe container

7. Water

Unless the water has something else to defuse the amount of energy, like a tea bag, it will superheat. When it is superheated the water is not actually boiled so it is likely that once you add something then, like a tea bag, it will cause an upward explosion

8. Yogurt, sour cream, and butter containers

I know reusing these containers might be tempting, but they are really made to be more of a one-time use kind of thing. Since they are not made to survive in these conditions, exposing them to the microwaves will make the plastic material melt and release chemicals into your food.

9. Bread

This one will not ruin your microwave, but it will surely ruin the bread. Microwaving bread leaves it moist and chewy, to the point where no one really wants to try it. But don't worry, if this happens to you, just put the bread in the oven for a few minutes and it will go back to its desired texture and appearance. 

 10. Sauce without a lidSauce GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

If you are in a rush, just put a piece of paper towel on top of it at least. Microwaving any sauce without any type of lid will just end up causing a huge mess that no one really wants to clean up. 

Now, I hope you know that even though the microwave can save you a lot of time, it could also be very dangerous. Save yourself the trouble and don't create a mess, or worse, start a fire in your kitchen. Remember that most importantly, plastic and metal are the two things you should always remember not to microwave no matter how desperate you are. 


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