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How honest should customers be with baristas in coffee shop?

November 14, 2011

How honest should customers be with baristas in coffee shops?


I have had a few experiences lately where I was left to ponder if I should tell the coffee shop that they were not measuring up.  Once I held my tongue the best I could, but ended up giving feedback in the end, the other I did not.  Here are the scenarios.  


First a local café opened in my neighborhood.  They are part lunch joint and part coffee shop.  I was excited they opened so close, but my guess was correct that their coffee would not be very good.  I figured I had to come in and see for myself and the cup was not horrible, but it also was not good.  I was not going to say anything, but I wondered if I should since it is going to be very hard to stay open in their location so good coffee might make the difference.  Then again it might be an added expense that would not help and would hasten their demise.  I decided not to say anything, but then they came over and asked “how was your coffee?”  I decided not to lie and not to tell the whole truth either and said it was fine, but that I was kind of snobby about my coffee.  They seemed happy to let the questions drop there so I did, too.


The other incident was at a coffee shop 2000 miles from here.  I went back to a place I had been given a good shot before and ordered another shot eager to have another taste.   The barista knew she was having trouble dialing in the grind and poured out 4 shots before deciding the one she pulled was good enough to serve me.  It was bitter and terrible.  She did not ask me how the shot was so I did not tell her that it was no good.  I was torn and I think I  probably should have said something because if my shot was so bad the next several customers were going to get bad shots, too, and this was a shop that did care about producing good espresso and was capable of it.  On the other hand she looked so frustrated when she handed me the shot that I didn’t want to add to her stress.  I did go back a few days later and got quite a good shot that time.






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