“Light or dark roast?” — an ode to part-time jobs


Today a man walked into the cafe I work at and whispered, “do you sell coffee here?”

I said, “what?” because we were clearly surrounded by coffee cups, creamer carafes, smooth jazz, the smell of espresso, and authors writing novels from their Lenovo computers.

He mimed sipping from a very delicate cup and said, “drink!”

I thought he had a very rough grasp of the English language until he got up to the counter and ordered with no trouble. Perhaps he thought I was the one who couldn’t speak English; I suppose the world may never know.

A few things I have learned on the job:

  • if you mess up a cappuccino, usually it’s fine because 80% of customers can’t tell the difference between a latte and a cappuccino anyway, including yourself
  • when the milk doesn’t foam, sometimes it’s because it’s organic; other times it’s because you’re very bad at steaming milk
  • there is no greater feeling than an elderly woman being surprised at how cool her latte looks on top — yes, Sheryl! It almost looks like a leaf. You are welcome.
  • people will loiter in your restaurant until after you’ve closed, and you can choose to either kick them out or shut off all the lights and lock the door from the inside — both are effective choices

Feel free to check out my previous thoughts on coffee, too.

This is a poem I wrote:

knees weak, arms are heavy

I can’t feel my legs because I mopped so much

mom’s spaghetti

I’m working on a joke that combines “roast” like coffee roast and “roast” like insult. If you have any good ones please let me know; extremely open to suggestions. I will be testing them on my new coworkers.

Some combinations I recently discovered/made by accident:

  • official name is “red eye” but it’s my regular order: double espresso, light roast drip coffee, and 4 pumps of either caramel or hazelnut flavor.
  • double espresso poured over ice and 2 pumps of Ghirardelli caramel sauce; I started making an iced latte that turned out to be hot. My own failure to read a drink ticket turned out to be my gain!
  • London Fog — earl grey tea bag and steamed milk with 4 pumps of vanilla.
  • a 16-year-old boy ordered an large iced latte with whipped cream on top which actually looked magical and I fully endorse this drink.

It feels GREAT to be on my feet, doing something every day and making money while also keeping my social skills nice and awkward.

tl;dr: I work at a coffee shop now. 

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