I love coffee, and I know I'm not alone, but have you ever stopped to consider the fact that there might be ways you're messing up your coffee order? According to a 2013 survey by the National Coffee Association, 83 percent of adult Americans report drinking coffee at a rate of about three cups per day. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, that's approximately 174 million coffee drinkers getting their fix every day. But judging by the orders I overhear at my local coffee shop and the crazy things I heard when I was a barista, the confusion about how to order a coffee beverage is real, and seeing as that moment almost always comes before the caffeine fix, about 89 million of y'all need some help. So, here are six ways you're messing up your coffee order without even knowing it.
I get it, you're tired, you're probably running late, and there's only one beverage that really floats your boat — coffee. The delivery of this singular beverage is the portal to the rest of your life and without it, you'll probably just collapse in the middle of the crosswalk, get run over by a taxi, and then an elderly gentleman with a cane will step on you for good measure as a subway rat winks at you while he scampers past. All you need is your run-of-the-mill venti, upside-down, inside-out, triple-shot, soy milk, double-pump hazelnut, one-pump chai, extra caramel, vanilla latte, extra whip.
But how should you go about ordering said beverage without giving your barista a serious case of the eye-rolls? There are ways of ordering your ridiculously complicated drinks (and the simpler ones) to maximize everyone's productivity and happiness in your favorite coffee shop. Here's how you're messing up your coffee order.
1. The size of your cup is not equal to the amount of caffeine
Did you know that a grande and a venti latte have the exact same amount of espresso? The venti latte just has more milk, and will therefore taste less intensely of espresso. This is true of many coffee chains, so if you want to get the most bang for your buck caffeine-wise, make sure to ask how many shots are included in a large latte vs. a medium latte.
2. You're ordering your drink at the wrong temperature
Your latte is going to be 160 degrees unless you specify otherwise, or you are a child. (Children's beverages are served at 140 degrees.) If you order a drink extra hot, it'll be served at around 200 degrees. If you don't have the willpower to wait a few seconds to drink your latte, by all means order it at kids' temperature, and you can chug it straight off of the counter. Not gonna lie though, I chuckled when a big burly dude in front of me was adamant about his 140 degree latte last week. What a difference 20 degrees makes...
3. You're ordering the wrong type of milk
Nonfat milk makes crappy foam. Order milk that is two percent or higher.
4. You're ordering no foam for the wrong reasons
Properly steamed milk, for a latte, should have a silky micro foam on top of it that gives the beverage a smooth taste and supports the latte art or caramel drizzle. In my experience, people who are militantly against foam are the people who think they're getting more caffeine in exchange for the absence of foam, which you don't. And, no, Will Ferrell, that doesn't happen either.
5. You're not being nice to your barista
Seriously, being nice will get you so far with your local barista, especially if you see them more than a couple of times a week. Smile and ask them how their morning is going. Consider that they probably had to be at work before 5 a.m. to serve folks like you. And, by all means, if you already explained your complicated beverage to one barista, do not repeat yourself to everyone that comes in contact with your cup. There are free shots of espresso lying around to be showered upon patient, pleasant customers, so cheer up.
6. You're not using rewards programs
The Starbucks rewards program is essential for anybody who goes there on a regular basis. So many free drinks and birthday treats to be had! If you haven't already, sign up.
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