Being a Starbucks Barista: Is it All Its Cracked Up To Be?

So some of you may know that i am a barista at Starbucks in the UK. Yes, it is important for me to say the UK because the difference between Starbucks in the US and the UK is incredibly different. American Starbucks stores have drinks i’ve never even heard of before! That’s how crazy the difference is!

What Is a Barista?

SO many people get confused between Barista and a Barrister! When i first told my grandma i was going to be a Barista, she thought i meant a lawyer. Bless her! But no, a Barista is someone who makes coffee. Not to be confused with someone who works in a  court of law.

The starbucks Hype?

I’ve never really understood the Starbucks hype. Before i worked there, i would grab a latte or a white hot chocolate (they are too die for and taste like milky bar buttons) on my way to college but i wasn’t obsessed with Starbucks, nor did i post my cup on instagram. If i’m honest, even now after working there for two years i still don’t understand the hype. It is just coffee at the end of the day but everyone loves it. Which is great but i just don’t get it myself. I have served customers on the drive thru window who refuse to drive off  without taking a selfie with the cup or taking multiple pictures of their drink first. The amount of times i have too ask customers to move along because there is a huge queue that cannot be held waiting because they want a mini photoshoot is ridiculous. If your that desperate to take photos, come inside the store and take a million, but please don’t hold up my drive through queue when its 10pm at night and my shift was meant to of already ended! Yes, thats also right, 10pm at night.. i work at a 24 hour drive thru Starbucks store.. I knew what i was signing myself up for and i still don’t know why i went for the job! Im kidding!! At least i think i am.. I do surprisingly love my job but it is exhausting and hard at times.

The Best Part Of Starbucks?

The best part of working at Starbucks for me is the discount and the perks. Although im not on the Starbucks hype, now i’m slightly older and i drive, me and my friends love to go out for coffee and just chat and catch up so getting the 30% discount in all Starbucks stores across the globe is amazing. Whilst on shift i get free drinks, its usually 3 per shift. One before you start and one for each break depending on how long your shift is. I also get to take home a bag of coffee or a box of tea for free every week which is also great! Saves on buying them when i go grocery shopping! As “partners” we also get access to a website with lots of different perks on it just for working at Starbucks which includes cheaper cinema tickets, discounts on virgin trains and so many more good perks.


Frappuccinos are the absolute bane of my life. They taste great, but they are a pain to make and most of all the “promotional” new frappuccino’s are literally the same as the ones we have in store all year round they’ve just got something new added into them. Most of the time it’s another ingredient we have in store all year round so you can actually add that in whenever! Some customers also like to make up their own Frappuccino, which is great.. Sometimes I try the drinks that customers make up and they are so nice but again, it’s a pain to make. There’s too many little ingredients that go into a Frappuccino which means your here, there and everywhere when making them. Theres also over 87,000 different drink combinations so you can imagine some of the crazy drink combinations that people come up with!

There’s also the popular american Starbucks drinks that become virally known through social media that we get asked for constantly. The unicorn frappuccino being the latest craze to hit social media. This drink is so crazy that we weren’t allowed it in the UK as it contained E numbers that are banned in this country.. There’s also the pink drink that i hear about allll the time! Like what is the pink drink? Can someone please tell me because i literally have no clue.. The UK Starbucks also got rid of the cool lime refresher which i’m pissed about. It was the most refreshing, cold drink and i was obsessed with it!

Drive Thru

Working at a drive thru store means that not only do we serve customers in the cafe, we also serve them on the drive thru too, which means double the amount of customers and double the amount of drinks too make, so its constantly crazy. With being a 24 hour store you’d think it would get quieter the later it got, but no. It gets busier the later it gets. It can be absolutely dead from 4 till around 8pm then it just gets MAD! On a typical normal night, we have queues out the drive thru lane, through the car park and out the car park, and then queues out the door in the cafe, its just mental!

Honest Truths

I feel like because Starbucks is usually photographed in an instagram fashion, or by influencers posing with drinks then its become a bit of a social craze. However working at Starbucks is not easy, or a breeze. Its hard, its long and you stink of coffee.. CONSTANTLY. Whenever i hug someone i always apologise incase my hair still smells of coffee because the smell just doesn’t go away! Starbucks is a hard job, you have to memorise the codes for every drink and know them off by heart, if your on the drive thru till you have to connect with the customer at the window, take their payment and chat to them whilst they wait, as well as wearing a headset and listening to the order being taken at the ordering point and having to type that in on the other screen next to the till, whilst trying to finish off drinks for the customer at the window.. whip cream here, caramel drizzle there, its a circus act with the amount you have to juggle!

One other thing is, customers get so annoyed if your walking around doing things whilst there waiting to be served, but the truth is if i’m not signed onto that till then i’m actually not allowed to serve you.. As much as i want too whilst we both wait for whoever is on till to come over, i cannot. Because whoever is on till HAS to serve you from start to finish.. I can’t start, then hand over to someone and they finish serving you. I hate it too but because i’m not allowed to take payment on someone else’s till then i can’t and i’m sorry but were not ignoring you, we’ve most likely already let who ever is on till know that your waiting and they will be with you shortly.

Customers also get annoyed if you don’t hear them trying to grab your attention first time round. For me, if i don’t hear you at first its either because i’m concentrating so hard on what i’m doing i become deaf or because the frappuccino blenders are on, and the music in store is loud or i’m wearing a headset and i genuinely have someone shouting their coffee order down my ear and i’m listening because i’m having to make that order next and i genuinely cannot hear you.. Some people shout.. louder than they need too. But please don’t get annoyed with your barista, if they have a headset on or there in the middle of something, were not ignoring you, things just get a little overwhelming, especially when your making a drink with 5 added ingredients more than normal and they have a headset on listening to someone else talking and having you shout at them. Cut them a little bit of slack and just wait patiently, i promise we always do our best. I never purposely do things to have you shout at me.. trust me!!

Okay, so i think that is everything that i wanted to rant about, and everything i can divulge.. I hope this has given a little insight into the world of Starbucks and what its like to work for the globally famous company!

Thank you so much for reading, and i hope you all have a lovely week!

Han x

4 thoughts on “Being a Starbucks Barista: Is it All Its Cracked Up To Be?

  1. I can’t believe it’s that crazy behind the counter, I guess I could never be a barista I am so not good at multitasking. 😀 The smell of coffee is a plus for me though, I think it smells divine, and if you were to hug me I’ll tell you you don’t need to apologize for smelling like coffee.

    I ‘m happy to know that we can order those promotional frappes anytime, although I’m not sure what goes into them so I don’t think I can recreate them by requesting by ingredient.

    I really enjoyed this post. Thanks for sharing. And bless your grandma. 😀


    1. One of the big promotional drinks you can have all year round is the mocha cookie crumble! Because all that is, is the double chocolate chip Frappuccino, with vanilla syrup! The only difference is, is when it was promotional there was a chocolate whip cream to add on top where as my store only has normal whip cream to add on top when there isn’t that promotion xx


  2. Can’t imagine life as a barista. It all seems so stressful to me. Just out of curiosity, do a lot of people customise their drinks? Because I’m always too scared to ask for anything that isn’t directly on the menu


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