You get in line. You might fidget. You might look around and see what other people have. You get up to the counter. It’s your turn. You panic. You ordered something. But you couldn’t for the life of you remember what it was.
Then you get your drink and take a sip. Ew. That is not what you thought you ordered. Or anywhere near what you wanted to order. If you are turning a bit red because this just happened to you the other day, we feel you. We panic order all the time. So let us help you figure this out. Let’s check out how to order coffee like an adult.
Look up what you want. See if you know the difference between a latte and a mocha. Do you know what a cappuccino is? Knowing what is in the coffee drinks can help you decide what kind of drink you want.
If you don’t want caffeine or if you want something that isn’t even coffee, it’s good to know that, too. Understanding the basic kinds of coffee drinks will help take some stress off when you get up to the counter.
Seriously, who doesn’t look up the menu before they leave the house? We study it until we have it memorized. Pretty much every place has the menu online, on their Facebook page, or there’s a picture of it on Yelp.
If you haven’t been before, check out the menu. You can google what the items mean. You can see what they have. You can see if they have anything that sounds good to you. You can read the entire menu if you have time. Being prepared isn’t a bad thing.
Then you can read the menu there. You can stand around awkwardly and try to see if you can find something you like when you get there. You can check the place out. Creep on other people’s drinks. Not that we would do that. Okay, that’s exactly what we would do.
Especially if it’s a place we have never been. Getting there a little early if you are meeting someone wouldn’t hurt. You can scope out if they have anything other than drinks. Who would turn down a tasty pastry?
Here’s when you need to pay attention to who is in there with you. See how many people are in there. Try to gauge the mood of the baristas. Do they seem like they are in a hurry or are they smiling and having a good time?
If it’s pretty slow inside
If there aren’t a lot of customers inside, chat up the barista. Talk to them about what roasts they have brewed. Do they have any interesting drinks they like to make? Some baristas love playing with different coffees and flavors and have drinks that they will make you if you ask for something different.
You shouldn’t ask them what they like though. You don’t know if your tastes and theirs are the same. You can tell them what you usually make yourself at home and ask if they have any suggestions. Based on what you like the barista will be able to find something that will still go with your tastes.
If it’s super busy inside
You have to be quick. You don’t want to hold the line up asking what’s in every drink and asking what flavor is in every drink. If it’s super busy but you still don’t know what you want, be quick. Tell them you usually get a mocha but you want to try something slightly different. Tell them you normally get a macchiato, but you want something different that tastes good iced.
The more information you can give them, and fast, the better recommendation they can give you. You won’t be holding the line up, but you still can get advice.
If it’s dead
It’s all about reading the room. If it’s super slow, chat all you want about everything. Ask the barista what you should try if you normally like cappuccinos. Ask them what’s something different from a latte, but that tastes good hot, but no chocolate flavor.
When it’s really slow, you can usually get some really good recommendations. You still need to have a bit of an idea of what you want. No one is a mind reader.
Well, first, congratulations! We love a newbie. Welcome to the caffeine club. But if you have never ordered at a coffee shop before, at least know your basics. Know if you want something with caffeine, without, hot, iced, and what flavor wheel you want.
At least that way when you tell the barista it’s your first time ordering and you have no idea, you still kind of have some idea. It’s better than nothing.
But if it is your first time, don’t’ panic. Don’t let the other customers rush you. You should enjoy the experience. Let the barista know. They will be really helpful and guide you towards something you should like. And if not, more often than not they will make you something else for free.
Sometimes you want a change. We used to only drink mochas. Now we can only drink lattes. But we had to ask for something different to get there.
If you are frequenting your usual place, ask your fav barista what you should try. Is there a seasonal flavor? Is there a new drink they’ve been messing with? You need to remember the rules no matter if it’s your first time or your 394th time ordering in that coffee shop.
Okay, Starbucks has their own lingo for how to order. But local coffee shops have their own as well.
Check what the sizes are
See what the sizes are first. Are they small, medium, large? Do they give the ounce amounts? At least knowing what size is a good step in the ordering process.
Know the milk options
Know your kinds of milk. Do you want oat? Skim? Almond? Knowing what kind of milk you want will save some time as well.
Know if you want it iced or hot. Do you want whipped cream or not? Should they add the sprinkles or the extra topping? If you know those basics that will help make it at least seem like you know what you are doing.
Mind your manners
Be polite and be friendly. Having a fun attitude will help the experience be more pleasant. Your barista will appreciate it as well.
Don’t be afraid to try a new drink every time you go. Don’t be afraid to get your same old favorite. The important thing when you go to order is that you get what you want. And don’t let anyone make fun of your order. You do you.
Have fun and enjoy being welcomed into the world of coffee shops. Once you become a familiar face in your local place, you will be so glad you decided to learn how to order your first drink.