Coffee is a Waltz

I find a place of peace here,
The savory scent of coffee and pastries
The comforting rip of steaming milk,
The soft growl of grinding beans
All make this place home for me.

Pristine cups lined like soldiers in a row,
Each begging with silent pleas
To be filled with steaming cafe au lait;
I am happy to oblige.

Waltzing ’round other baristas,
Pirouetting from one drink to another;
Crafting coffee is an art, a dance.
I’m not an expert yet,
But the fun’s in the dance,
And though I step on toes,
I’ll keep on laughing
Because the fun’s in the dance,
And I love learning to waltz.

I’ve been working at Starbucks for a couple of months now, and I still get a goofy grin when I walk through those doors, my senses blasted with the sound of coffee grinding, espresso pouring, and the scent of coffee wafting lightly on the air.

I’ll admit, I was a bit intimidated initially when I realized how many procedures, drink recipes, and processes I’d have to remember, but fortunately, learning quickly is my specialty, and now I’m completely comfortable behind the counter. All of the other veteran baristas continually insist that I’ll soon grow weary of the regime and the coffee, but so far I adore my job with the same passion as the first day I started.

In my last post, I promised some barista stories, so here goes. Once upon a time (i.e., about a month ago),

The pitcher rinsing mechanism had been broken for some time. Inverting a pitcher and applying pressure to the top of the device was supposed to release a powerful stream of water that would completely clean a pitcher within the span of a few seconds. However, since it had been malfunctioning, you had to manually turn on the water in order to clean the pitcher.

It was the middle of a rush. I had a line of cups that rivaled the Great Wall of China waiting impatiently for me to fill to the brim with caffeinated goodness. Slightly understaffed that day, I had no one available to rinse the steaming pitchers for me, and so I had to do this myself.

I had just gone to the sink (located directly behind the person operating the register) to rinse a new set of pitchers. Looking over my shoulder, I was already planning how to sequence the next set of beverages when I turned the faucet on, thinking I had inverted the pitcher over the spout to catch the water.

Unfortunately, I quickly discovered that I had not.

Water spewed from the spout in a majestic geyser, drenching me, the barista operating the register, and just about everyone within a 5-foot radius of the sink.

Water was splashing in my face: I couldn’t see and I could feel my contacts shifting about on my eyeballs. I fumbled for the knob, desperate to turn the water off and, finding it, slammed it off with a resounding thud of finality.

We all stood there silently for a moment, the drops of water streaming off our clothes. The bill of my hat facilitated the mini waterfall that cascaded in front of my face as the water streamed off my hat. I was utterly humiliated.

As I always say, it *would* happen to me. This was during the time when I was still learning the steps to the “waltz” of being a barista. But alas, this was not the worst, nor the last incident that would occur during my barista days at Starbucks. Stay tuned for more tales of woe, humiliation, and general malarkey!

Stay classy and drink coffee!
K ❤


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