Interview With An Ex-Barista

Saturday, January 17, 2015

I can not deny that I am an avid Starbuck's drinker. This all started as a freshman in college. My love of candy flavored Frappuccinos turned into a love of mochas and poor girl caramel lattes. However, I always seemed to have unanswered questions about my local Starbucks. Luckily, my dear younger brother was a Starbucks barista (er.. baristo?) for about 6 months and let me annoy him with some of my brewing questions. (get it... brewing...hah)

1. What is the most common drink on the menu?

The most popular drink really depends on the demographic of the customer. Older male customer? He's probably going to order a black coffee. Preteen girl? 90% of the time they get a java chip frap. Young mom with really young kids? Something with espresso and maybe a water or juice box.

2. How many people really have gold cards? 

For my location, I would say about two people in every ten customers have a gold card on average. It probably varies a lot based on the region.

3. What is the best "secret menu" drink?

Definitely the raspberry cheesecake mocha.
Here's how to order this Starbucks Secret Menu drink:
Ask for a white mocha flavored with:
Flan (or caramel) syrup (3 pumps tall, 4 grande, 5 venti)
Cinnamon Dolce syrup (1.5 pumps tall, 2 grande, 3 venti)
Raspberry syrup (1.5 pumps, 2 grande and venti)
Add Caramel whip on top, flan (or caramel) drizzle optional

4. How much training does a Starbucks barista go through?

Since I didn't work every day, I was trained for a little over a month. But I am guessing that someone who is there everyday wouldn't have as long of a training period.

5. What is the best way to order at Starbucks to make it easy for the barista?

The best way to order is size, base drink, milk, and then syrup or whip modifications. Also, if you want something iced, say so near the beginning of the of your order so we can grab the correct cup. By ordering in this order, we can grab the correct cup size and type and write all of the information down as you are ordering.

6. What is something that most people don't know about Starbucks?

I was surprised to find out that every single food item is delivered frozen and already prepared. That is why we can not modify our sandwiches or salads. When you order, we place your sandwich in our microwave/oven and then in a few seconds it is warm and ready to eat. No food items are made in stores.

7. What is one thing people usually don't know about their drinks?

The one thing that surprised me in training was the way they made iced coffee. Despite what most people think, it is not just coffee that we cold brew or brew hot then chill. It is actually cold water that is mixed with powered Starbucks Via type coffee. That is why is sometimes can taste "burnt" if it isn't stirred up enough. It isn't really brunt at all, it is just too concentrated on the bottom of the cup.

What have you wondered about Starbucks? Leave a comment below for the next time I annoy interview my brother about the wonders of Starbucks.

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