Barista Blog

When things go wrong

By Emily Braybrooke

Being a barista is hardly rocket science, you don’t need a degree to do it but some days it can be hard work.
Serving customers all day means you need to be friendly, approachable and happy and if you’re having a bad day that can be hard.

But what about when things are out of your control? There have often been occasions where this has been the case for me.

Below I share my stories of certain moments where things just weren’t going my way.

  1. my-faceRise and grind.
    My Sunday morning began like any other, making my way to work for 8.30am to get everything ready for the 9am open. Except this particular morning didn’t get off to the best of starts. I couldn’t open the shop door.
    After several attempts at throwing my bodyweight against it, lifting it and twisting the key this way and that I gave up.
    Luckily, this was the inside door so I was already on the premises, I just couldn’t get in to the actual café section to get everything ready. Then, lightbulb moment. Maybe, if I’m lucky, the other door to the basement will be unlocked.
    Yes! It was unlocked so down I ran to make my way back up to the café. Thankfully for me the door unlocked from the other side and the day could begin without another hiccup in sight.
  2. Machine mayhem.
    If you know about coffee, you’ll know that the grind of the coffee grinder is important.
    One day I discovered that someone had altered the grind of ours.
    The coffee was taking an age to come through the machine. When I say an age, let me put that in perspective for you: Usually the coffee shot should take 20-30 seconds to come through, ours was talking more than a minute. The end product was therefore burnt.
    “Just re-adjust the grinder,” you may say, but when you’re a muscle-lacking girl of 5 foot 3 and the grinder is extremely stiff and hard to reach, it’s easier said than done.
    The only other person on shift at this stage was a fellow female colleague who couldn’t re-adjust it either.
    For a good few hours of the day we had to apologise profusely about the lack of coffee in a coffee shop which never goes down well.
    Eventually, after a few pleading phone calls my boss came into the café to rectify the situation.
  3. Ice cream queen.
    During the summer months, at work we have a Mr Whippy machine. This Mr Whippy machine can sometimes be a little temperamental.
    This was something that my colleague, Phoebe, learnt the hard way.
    On one particular day the machine exploded and poor old Phoebe was in the firing line.
    Left covered in, and standing in a pool of ice cream in front of a decent sized queue of customers obviously she was rather embarrassed. But what can you do? Grabbing some paper towels and a mop, we made a joke of it before the whole thing became awkward, and before the ice cream could settle into her hair.


Even when you want to cry, scream and throw your apron on the floor, at the end of the day you’re there to give a service so you just have to smile through the hiccups.
Unless of course you are faced with an extremely rude customer, then there may be an exception. Remember, although you aim to please, you’re still human.



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