I don’t know about you, but the few minutes between ordering my coffee and actually getting the coffee in my hand are often filled with a variety of chit chat. 99 per cent of the time it’s like bantering with a buddy, but there sure are times when all of us wish we could take the cuppa and run, lest we find ourselves in an awkward situation.
Because everyone loves a good cringe story, we’ve teamed up with Skip App, the order-ahead coffee app for some of the best cafes in Sydney, to tell you just what is going on in the head of your friendly barista. And boy did we cover all bases. From Tinder fails to weird orders and a casual STD slip, these guys have some cracking stories.
Sanjay Turner | Soho Espresso, Sydney CBD
You’ll never catch Soho Espresso barista Sanjay without a smile on his face when serving up our morning cuppa, but if you’ve noticed your coffee is extra delicious, he might be sweet on you, “The perfect extraction can make any person happy! Us baristas are always looking for the perfect future wife”. You’ve been warned.
Of course, this article wouldn’t be complete without a few mentions of the lovely ladies Sanjay interacts with on a daily basis, “Swiped right on a customer and thought I was in, never got the match. Made for an awkward few mornings there!”
Germán Salamanca | Scout’s Honour, Redfern
Scout's Honour's Germán has had the noble task of keeping us caffeinated for eight years, so you know he’s seen some things in his time. We’ll keep it PG, but he told us, “There is legitimately a customer known as the ‘barista stalker’ in the area. He knows way too much about our personal lives.” As for his strangest request, Germán tells us, “I once had a customer who would order a small flat white with five sugars, and request you to stir it for exactly 10 seconds. True story”.
Finally, he left us wit this pearl of wisdom: “Baristas use the front of the machine as a mirror too.” See? They’re just like us.
Anthony Moustacas | Indigo, Double Bay
Double Bay café Indigo has been curing hangovers and serving locals for years, with delicious coffee and great food all week long. When we spoke to barista Anthony, he told us that when you’ve been in the industry as long as him, you accumulate more stories than you could possibly imagine.
He kept it short and sweet with us, but this one’s a doozy, “I once asked a customer what he wanted, to be told ‘I am a she, and I want a large latte.’ Doesn’t get worse than that”.
Ferruccio Bonacci | Ground Control, Sydney CBD
“Where do I start?” Ferruccio from Ground Control asked when we first broached the topic of his life behind the coffee grinder. Turns out smiling and nodding is sometimes the best way to go, “Asking the not-pregnant lady when she was due was pretty rough”, he confessed.
Although, when you’ve got regulars, you tend to get a bit personal. Just try to remember who is who. Case in point: “I asked a lady to say hello to Frank, and that I hope his STD cleared up. Turns out it was his wife.” Lesson learned.
Sean Flanagan | Whisk Espresso, Chatswood
Working in the bustling Chatswood, caffeine is mandatory and an awesome barista is too. Sean Flanagan has been grinding beans and waking people up at Whisk Espresso for a while now, and has seen plenty of things.
He says it’s the specifics that are the most memorable: “Someone once asked that I stir their sugar anticlockwise only. That was special.”
At other times, it’s all about the happy coincidences. “Once, a junior barista used double cream instead of skim milk in a latte. The woman came back saying it was the best coffee she’d ever had.” Might have to try that one.
If they don’t terrify you, I don’t know what will. Next time, skip the chat (and the accidental confessions/awkward moments) and order your coffee ahead with Skip.
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Image credit: Jackielyn Powell