One of the most obscene things I learned as a barista was how eager people are to be liked. NYU sophomores, the ones with Jansport backpacks in full makeup at 9 a.m., stuttered their orders and shyly complimented me on my nose ring. 

I semi-patiently listened to innumerable Wikipedia-style monologues about the music I was playing from men in their twenties trying to render their business attire invisible with cultural know-how. 

I was given zines, mixtape-party fliers, home-recorded chillwave demos. I said things like “How’s the app going?” and “Welcome to the neighborhood.” 

I answered questions for new Greenpoint residents—of which there were more each year—about the best place to grab wine and tapas, get a shave and drink a beer at the same time. 

How myself and my co-workers became to be known as experts in such matters was largely beyond me, particularly since many of us shortly couldn’t afford to live in the neighborhood in which we served. More than anything else, though, I was asked what else I did. 

"Oh you know," the t-shirt designer or gallery assistant with blunt bangs or unpaid Harper’s intern would say on their way into the office. "When you aren’t making coffee." 

Inside The Barista Class - The Awl

One of the most obscene things I learned as a barista was how eager people are to be liked. NYU sophomores, the ones with Jansport backpacks in full makeup at 9 a.m., stuttered their orders and shyly complimented me on my nose ring.

I semi-patiently listened to innumerable Wikipedia-style monologues about the music I was playing from men in their twenties trying to render their business attire invisible with cultural know-how.

I was given zines, mixtape-party fliers, home-recorded chillwave demos. I said things like “How’s the app going?” and “Welcome to the neighborhood.”

I answered questions for new Greenpoint residents—of which there were more each year—about the best place to grab wine and tapas, get a shave and drink a beer at the same time.

How myself and my co-workers became to be known as experts in such matters was largely beyond me, particularly since many of us shortly couldn’t afford to live in the neighborhood in which we served. More than anything else, though, I was asked what else I did.

"Oh you know," the t-shirt designer or gallery assistant with blunt bangs or unpaid Harper’s intern would say on their way into the office. "When you aren’t making coffee."

Inside The Barista Class - The Awl