Barista Blog

Barista life, whatever the weather

By Emily Braybrooke

As I open my front door at 8am on my typical Sunday morning, the sight of frost greets me: White, glistening yet harsh looking frost.

On my way to work I trek up Lincoln’s aptly named Steep Hill and I am naïve to how the changing seasons affect the coffee shop culture for both customers and staff.
The weather dictates more than we think, especially for us baristas.

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Steep Hill. (It’s steeper than it looks) Photo credit: Dave Hitchborne Taken from Flickr.

I began work at this particular café in the late spring and worked five days a week throughout summer.

During these seasons you find yourself making a mixture of hot beverages, iced coffees and milkshakes. The variety keeps you from getting bored and lets you experiment with flavours and designs.

The heat can be unbearable at times, especially when you have to wear all black, but the sun makes everyone happy. After all, the British love to talk about the weather.

After a break from work for uni, returning to the café for winter was a bit of a shock to the system.
Drinks orders become more predictable and children swap from milkshakes to rich hot chocolates.

snowman-coffee
Getting creative in winter.

Serving customers outside no longer feels like the norm. I often question why anyone would want to sit, shivering with their coats and scarves rather than relaxing and thawing in the comfort of the indoors.
Unless of course, they have a dog.

Working conditions also change.
Rather than cooling down after my sweaty, sunny walk to work, I’m having to take a minute instead to regain feeling in my hands.

Forget vests and sandals, trainers and as many layers as possible are essential come November.

As we keep the door open to invite customers in, there are regular gusts of biting wind that have no problem in overpowering our portable heater.

Despite England being notorious for its rather bipolar weather in the summer, we often don’t have to deal with soggy carpets, slippery floors or wet outside tables and chairs. Winter however is a whole other story. Every day is a battle against the elements to ensure the customers are warm and comfortable as well as safe from the wet, leaf infested floor.

In summer, hot drinks are still normal to order and no one bats an eyelid but there are some things that you just wouldn’t dream of choosing in winter.

There is always one customer who wants an ice cream or a milkshake and I often have to hide my confused look while taking the peculiar order.

Do you notice any difference throughout the year where you work? Or are you the kind of person to happily buy an ice cream all year round?

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