We’ve gotta hand it to Starbucks. We instinctively look to them for Coffee 101 lessons. Accessible just about everywhere, from Target to Disneyland, it’s a welcome sight for coffee fiends from all walks of life. Although sometimes, you will actually encounter areas where the only brewed selection isn’t courtesy of a green goddess. This is where we often fail as consumers, as Starbucks has ruined our perception of caffeine-laced beverages. How? Well, for starters . . .
1. Ordering by size is a language barrier.
Do you want a large? Then stop requesting a Venti elsewhere! It’s an ugly habit that’s tough to kick, especially when you have a favorite potion. The phrase just rolls off your tongue. Many places don’t even offer more than two size options, making this exchange especially awkward. Speaking of size . . .
2. Requesting beverages by name may yield other results.
For example, a macchiato ordered in Starbucks has multiple sizes. In non-Starbucks territory, it yields a single espresso size. Before you go chewing out your barista for incompetence, stop to consider the possibility that they’re actually assembling the norm. Now take a deep breath before your next move.
3. New, fancy drinks aren’t exactly new.
Starbucks recently introduced a Latte Macchiato. Consisting of espresso layers, steamed whole milk and even more espresso, it’s the kissing cousin to their new Flat White. However, Flat Whites have been around in Australia since before you were born. Brush up on what’s listed on another joint’s drink board, and try not to look like an douche when it’s your turn.
4. Coffee shops don’t all offer frequent buyer cards.
Everybody may know your name at the local ‘bucks, but at the independent spot, they will give you a blank stare if you attempt to pay with an app. Remember, these places thrive in an indie-minded environment. That may mean a wall of mismatched mugs belonging to regulars. What it doesn’t mean: Attitude over their differences. This is especially apparent if you . . .
5. Ask about WiFi (DON’T).
Connecting to their internet should not be considered a right. Believe it or not, many shops want you to put your phone down and communicate with those around you. Lugging in your laptop and setting up office for an afternoon may generate a lot of stink eye in your direction. If it isn’t obviously available, just chill for the time being and do something cray like read the news from an actual paper.
6. Your expectations run low for everyone else.
Go ahead and play favorites, but remember that Starbucks used to be just another place to get a hot beverage. Less corporate coffeehouses make up for a lack of festive branded cups with kick ass latte art and board games. Who doesn’t want a complex, steamed milk design with your Jenga competitive streak? And remember to drop a tip in that jar; many can’t afford to offer things like health benefits. Supporting local only makes you look good.