#WeekendCoffeeShare — The Barista Scoop Edition

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that, as an espresso bar barista, I’ve been scooping up more ice cream than making any sort of coffee drink…by far. From there, I’d probably spend a few short minutes complaining about how unbelievably sore my right arm is from completing that task about seventy-five times within an hour (five scoops per twenty ounce milkshake and I surely made fifteen, if not more).

If we were having coffee, I’d have to explain to you how the espresso bar I work in is actually located inside a gas station. It’s a pretty nice gas station, as gas stations go, and, along with the espresso bar, there’s also a full deli where customers can get hot food. It’s a hot spot for lunch and yesterday, Friday, was hopping. There’s a special the deli offers that includes a twenty ounce milkshake or a smoothie with the meal so, naturally, right after customers get their food to go, they come our way. There were three of us behind the counter at one point all vying for the two blenders (something we desperately need at least two more of) to make either another smoothie or milkshake order. Mostly milkshakes yesterday. I’d tell you that, to make matters worse, my utter dependency on the recipe binder (It was my third day, I definitely DON’T have all the recipes memorized yet) slowed us down a bit. Well, at least I can say I can now make chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and oreo milkshakes without the binder after yesterday…but those are basically the easiest recipes anyhow. I’d probably then say something along the lines of, “Welp, we all have to start somewhere.” After that, I’d finally remember to point out–since I got side tracked with the milkshakes–that there’s also a restaurant next door that happens to be owned by the same people as the gas station. And hey, guess what? We also make all the milkshakes, smoothies, and lemonades for them. They don’t serve coffee over there, thankfully.

Uncalled for? Maybe. Am I sorry? Nope.

In a nutshell, My place of employment is basically two places of employment and I’m always on my feet

If we were having coffee, I’d talk about how much I didn’t realize baristas had to do besides making coffee and being friendly to customers. We have to do behind the scenes stuff–from stocking up on goods behind the counter to baking cookies and other baked goods to be sold throughout the gas station. I’d talk about how there’s so much to do and not enough time to do it–even with the few hours of down time between the steady stream of coffee drinkers in the morning and the lunch rush that starts around 11:30 am and only died down near 1 pm yesterday. There’s so little time for down time. I didn’t even have time for lunch yesterday.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that despite how busy it is, I’m enjoying my work. My arm feels like it’s going to fall off and my feet–in fact, my legs in general–are sore from standing constantly for so many hours on end. That said, I’m finding this overwhelming satisfaction in working with my hands, making drinks, and hopefully making customers’ days better with a friendly smile and a made to order drink–I left work both Thursday and Friday feeling absolutely elated at all I’d accomplished. I’d tell you that I still have a lot to master–and that doesn’t even count the recipe binder–and it’s super tiring, but I can already tell this is going to be an increidble experience. My coworkers are friendly and helpful. The environment is upbeat. I’m in a prime location for people watching, which is certainly fun. Music plays all day long in the gas station, and even though it’s all the popular songs of the moment and can get awfully repetitive, at least I know them and can sing along while working. 🙂 I’d talk about how I’m in a very open environment and must put myself out there, yet when I’m stocking the shelves or wiping off counters or making up more toddy for tomorrow, I’m able to be almost completely in my head (though not totally, as I must watch for customers). That said, I’m finding an alright balance between my extrovert self and  my introvert self, which is surprising since I expected to be so much more drained than I have been. It’s not like I’m ready to go out to the bar and have a dance party after work–I still want to go home and read a book and binge watch Gilmore Girls–but the introvert in me is holding up,

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I’m looking forward to the rest of the summer. Quite truly. Do I want to do this for the rest of my life? Absolutely not. It’s fullfilling me now, though. My job as a barista is such a relieving change from academia. I love school and I love learning, but I’ve been needing a break from that atmosphere for a while now…and I think this job might just be what the doctor ordered.

If we were having coffee, I’d end by saying that I have my first shift working alone without anyone else working the espresso bar today, something I’m kind of nervous for. I’d explain that after three days of working six hour shifts, I’ll be moving permanently to an eight hour shift on Monday–something I’m nervous for just because this job is so physically exhausting. I’d hope you’d reassure me that everything will be fine, that I have the recipe binder and the behind the counter to-do list for tomorrow, and that eight is only two more than six so how bad can it be?

And then, after spilling everything about these first grueling but rewarding days at work, I’d ask, do you have anything to share over coffee?


This post is part of the Weekend Coffee Share link up at Part Time Monster

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20 thoughts on “#WeekendCoffeeShare — The Barista Scoop Edition

  1. I think the soreness will go away, or at least be less, as your arm gets used to scooping out that ice cream. I think that even with the physicality of the job, it would be a fun job. At least it would be for me. I’m always indoors alone so being out in public and interacting with people would be fun, for me anyway.

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    1. Yes, I’m sure it will. Once I build up the strength (both mental and physical…there is so much to remember!) I’m sure this job will be a piece of cake in no time. 🙂 It has been fun. I just graduated from college, so after years and years of sitting of writing papers and reading textbooks, this is a wonderful change of pace.

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  2. It’s cool you like being a barista. There’s nothing worse than hating your job! Are you going to be looking for work in you field soon or just chill as a barista for little while to decompress from school?

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    1. Absolutely! It’s definitely challenging for me and I had a few moments today when I got really down on myself (the worst–one guy returned his drink because he wasn’t satisfied with it), but I have to remind myself I’m still learning.
      Actually, funny you mention that. I’m heading to Thailand in September to teach English. This is my in-between job. I had to do something this summer or I’d go stir crazy!

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      1. I get it, a summer job as if you were still in school 😉 Going to Thailand to work sounds cool. Am I right to assume you’ll keep the blog going while you’re over there?

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      2. Yeah, that’s what it feels like. I don’t feel like a college graduate right now. I feel like a kid who needed something to do during summer break and went ahead and got a job as a gas station barista. 🙂
        I’m super excited. I’ve never been outside the western world and it will be such an adventure and learning experience. I will definitely keep up the blog while over there. Wouldn’t have it any other way!

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  3. I worked as a cashier for two hours last summer. Yes, two hours, I’m ashamed to admit. I got overwhelmed and I received no training whatsoever and people tend to be impatient with first timers.

    I’m glad you’re enjoying your new job, though. I still can’t believe you graduated! Oh, you should write that blog post about British influences in Indian culture.

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    1. Oh dear, I don’t blame you. I don’t think I’d like being a cashier, either. The thing I Iike about my job is that, even though I do get to interact with people throughout the day, I also have a lot of time behind the counter doing other things, too. I don’t feel as exposed as I feel I would as a cashier. It has been rough for sure. I’ve for sure gotten some looks of annoyance/disgust from some of my coworkers when I’ve messed up or been slow, but there have been some who have been really nice and encouraging, too. People are really good at forgetting how it felt when they were the newbie, though.

      Oh man, I completely forgot we had that conversation whenever that was. You have a good memory! Honestly, I don’t feel I have the appropriate knowledge off the top of my head to confidently write such a post and I sure as hell don’t want to delve into research right now. I’m still recovering from four years of college. 😉 Who knows, maybe I’ll start to miss school one of these days and get on it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha. That’s understandable. I would feel worn out, too. Well, maybe one of these days. Oh, quick question, have you thought about getting a Master’s or PhD? Just curious.

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      2. Absolutely. I was planning on going right from undergrad to graduate until my mentors at the National Postal Museum last summer encouraged me to live a little and find what I’m really passionate about in between–something I’m incredibly thankful for.
        I’m really interested in education (hence, why I’m going to Thailand to teach English), but I don’t think I want to be a traditional classroom teacher for the rest of my life. Recently, I’ve been considering a masters in Genocides Studies. I’ve always had a keen interest in the Holocaust–that manuscript I wrote in seventh grade? It was historical fiction of sorts, based on events that happened in the Nazi concentration camps. I think it would be incredibly interesting and rewarding to become a genocide educator–either in a museum setting like the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum or at an education non-profit.

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  4. What a day! Glad that your first week at the new job went well though, and that you’re enjoying what you do. That makes a really big difference, especially in a job where you deal with people a lot and are tired at the end of the day. 🙂

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    1. Thank you so much, Diana. It certainly hasn’t always been easy…I’ve had a few times where people have looked at me in annoyance or disgust because I’ve messed up or just been slow…people are awfully good at forgetting what it was like when they were learning a new job. That said, a couple people have been incredibly kind and encouraging, which is wonderful.

      I’m glad I like it, too. Certainly better than the alternative. It’s a nice change of pace after so many years of academia. I love school, but now that I’ve graduated, I so need a break from it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome!

        And that’s part of working with the public, I suppose—someone’s always disgruntled. That’s why I wouldn’t do quite as well working with the public. lol

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