The Do's and Do-Not's of Coffee

By: Kendi Wolever

I had been sitting in a coffee house for hours trying to think of something to write about. In the midst of my terrible writer’s block and/or procrastination, I was inspired to write a quick Facebook status. But then, I thought, why don’t I turn this into my post?

So that is what I’m going to do.

My Facebook status would have been something like this: I’m sitting in a coffee house in downtown Oklahoma City, trying to overcome writer’s block, when this man walks into the tiny room, sits down with his friends, and opens his lunch that he brought from home. The smell, you guys - let me tell you. The smell is so much less than inspiring, and the taste of my coffee is ruined.

Let me tell you something about coffee shop etiquette.

Okay, so it may be my version of etiquette but hey, I’ve worked in coffee shops for eight years now, thus earning my frequent flier miles when it comes to this category of beverages.

Rule #1
Do not bring a big lunch from home. Or at least be conservative in the amount of food you do bring. Because honestly, I do bring my lunch to work (the coffee shop) often. And I get wanting your own sandwich or granola bar. There is a limit though — the amount of times I have witnessed a customer inhale an entire pizza in a Starbucks cafe is startling. I’m not exaggerating. Let’s be real - no one wants to smell the mixture of Sriracha-infused ramen noodles and the aroma of their vanilla latte.

Rule #2
Try not to tell the entire room every detail of your life. During my visit to the coffee shop today, I listened to other coffee-loving patrons share the details of their newborn baby’s pooping routine while I took a bite out of my chocolate brownie. I also overheard a conversation someone was having with their doctor over the phone in which she shared her social security number, her name, address and medical condition. She’s lucky I’m not someone who enjoys stealing the identity of fellow coffee drinkers because at this point, I have all of the information I need to do so.

Rule #3
So, you know those huge, long community tables that are meant for, like, ten people? Please do not sit there by yourself with your laptop and seventy-nine books spread out (okay, so maybe not seventy-nine…but a lot of books). There are a lot of people who could potentially fit there. Maybe even twenty if each adult is holding a baby. That means you’re withholding twenty seats by sitting there (okay, so maybe not twenty…but a lot of seats)!

Rule #4
This should probably be rule number one, but it’s my day off so I’m feeling a bit removed. Do be nice to your barista. He or she may have actually had less coffee than you because he or she is slaving away at creating your daily dose of sanity. Be kind and say thank you — even though they’re getting paid to be there, they’re still human (on and off the clock).

Rule #5
Please, for heaven’s sake, do not use your speakerphone. As unbearable as it is to hear a random patient-doctor conversation when you’re trying to focus, it is so much worse when it sounds like it’s being shouted through a megaphone underwater.

Rule #6
Talking on your cell phone while ordering your coffee: so confusing, so awkward, so distracting. I want so badly to get you the correct beverage that you want and I hope to charge you the right amount but it’s difficult to do if you’re simultaneously making lunch plans with your grandmother. Do put the phone away while you order.

Rule #7
Word to ya motha. But really, all you mothers out there: it’s a dog-eat-dog world behind the counter in a coffee shop. Do watch after your toddlers and make sure they aren’t sneaking off to the back room to throw on an apron. I’ve had to escort lots of little ones from behind the work space back to their table.

Apologies for anyone offended — or feeling convicted — by this list. Just remember that if you have done any of these things, that’s okay and now you know the do's and do-not's for future reference. 

Lark ReelyComment