In No Language Does “Barista” Mean “Entitled”

I’d like to say up front that A: It is very seldom that I run into a barista Nazi at my local Starbucks. B: Starbucks has ASS for coffee (and I’ll happily go on record as saying that so feel free to quote me since they really do) but they make a darned fine sweetie drink (and I’ll go on record as saying that as well. One of my very favorite coffee drinks is a humungous Starbucks Cinnamon Spiced Mocha. MmmmMmmm!). C: Small, Medium, Large. Live it, Love it, Learn it, USE IT FUCKERS!

Gah! If it’s one thing that gets my panties in a chafing bunch it’s the stupid coffee nomenclature. Lesson one about comparatives: Take a coffee cup. If you have another coffee cup that will hold more coffee than the one you are currently holding, then the other one is LARGER than the cup you are holding. Similarly but on the other end of the scale, if you have a third coffee cup that does not hold as much coffee as the one you are holding, then that cup is SMALLER than the one you are holding. The cup you are holding falls between the smaller cup and the larger cup, putting it in the middle. We reserve the term MEDIUM for the cup that is in the middle of the two sizes. Strung together, the coffee sizes are: Small, Medium, Large. If you have to get all fancyass Italian about it, then use Piccolo, Medio, Grande.

Starbucks? Tall, Grande, Venti. What the fuck? First of all, you’re mixing your lingo here. Grande, Venti and….Tall? Tall isn’t even Italian. At all. It’s English and it means “High in stature” (Webester’s 11ed, 2nd defn. The first defn is obsolete and means brave) or “Long from bottom to top” if you want to go to defn 3. Either way, it’s the smallest cup size offering and it’s NOT TALL! It’s short. It’s stubby. It holds 12 ounces of beverage, there is nothing “long” about it. Period. Although, I could be persuaded to back down with the outrage if you want to argue for “brave”, especially in reference to the cup’s ability to hold the stank ass over roasted burnt to hell coffee. Brave I’ll buy, “High in stature”? Who are they kidding?

Right. My first peeve is the mix and matching of the languages. HATE! I’m a creature of pattern and it just torques my nads (yes, it really does) to have to deal with the stupid English/Italian/Italian thing they pretentiously have going on at every single Starbucks in the known galaxy. But wait, it gets better (worse? More preposterous?). In looking up what “small” was in Italian, I learned that “Grande” is large. So…if Grande is the second or mediumest size, what does Venti mean then? Huge? Colossal? More coffee than any one person should be allowed to drink in one sitting? Well, you would score a big fat zero on any of those guesses because Venti means twenty! Or wind, but I think they are going with the twenty feeling here since the LARGEST cup holds 20 ounces. So. Not only are they inconsistent linguistically, they are inconsistent with the sizing. Length, size, capacity. Yes please, I’ll have a capacity designated mocha and a length designated cappuccino! Double GAH! I’m never going to get my undies unwound because it’s the STUPIDEST sizing convention in the whole entire world. I only hope the Italians are laughing at us dumb ass Americans for this.

Anyway! I never order my Starbucks drinks by their incomprehensible sizing system because 1. I can never remember if Grande is the large size (since, you know, it means LARGE) or the medium size and 2. Why should I have to learn such a poorly put together system of ordering when all the other coffee houses in existence understand the concept of “Small, Medium and Large”? Wont do it, can’t make me. I figure people in general are pretty smart and will be able to figure out that when I order a “small” drink, then they should give me my drink in the smallest cup size available, whatever they want to call it. It’s not rocket science folks.

However, there are some people who get all fired up about a cause to the point where they start to froth at the mouth should you in any way show that you are not one with said cause. In this case, it was a self important barista at the out of town Starbucks who looked at me like I sprouted two extra heads when I ordered a “super huge” mocha and a “medium” mocha. I would have gotten less outrage participating in an orgy in front of a group of Puritans. He gave me the look he reserves for infidels and blasphemers and said “You mean a Venti and a Grande.” It wasn’t even phrased as a question, it was like he could not bring himself to think of the concept of “Large” and “Medium” without bursting into scalded ball of foam…or whatever happens to Starbucks employees when they dare utter the verboten words of coffee sizing.

As a side note, my home Starbucks’s baristas have never burst into a scalded ball of foam with the mere mention of “Large” or “Medium” so I know it can be done.

So with the Glare of Disapproval shining like bright justice from the barista’s eyes, he waited for me to repent from my sinful sizing ways. Oh merciful gods of coffee, forgive me my transgression! From henceforth on I shall be wise unto your incomprehensible coffee designations. Yea have I sinned against all that is holy and caffeinated and spoken the words of heresy. Have mercy on me.

Except not.

Hey, I hadn’t had my coffee and no one takes up ‘tude with me at 8 in the morning, especially with something as stupid as coffee sizes. Instead, I just told him however he wants to call them, I would like one of his largest size mochas and one of his middle sized mochas. Oi! The offence! The dirty, dirty words coming from my mouth! He was appalled! Appalled I say! Who let such a creature into his store?

And then he did that eye roll and tongue click martyred sigh thing while turning to the person actually making the drinks and said, in his haughty offended voice, “I’ll need one Ven-ti mocha and one Gran-de mocha”. Christ almight, what an ass. Whatever, it’s still a large and a medium right? Right? Of course it is because one is the biggest size and one is the middlest size (and quite frankly, it makes a ton more sense than the bizarro length, size, capacity thing PLUS, everyone knows what small, medium, and large are about. I’m not so sure everyone could tell you which Starbucks size is what solely from the naming). Dude. Life is too short to pick battles about coffee ordering. What’s that about anyway? Pissing me off isn’t going to make me a sudden Tall, Grande, Venti convert. Au contraire, it’s just going to make me write about you in my blog and I’m not going to be real congenial about it either.

But anyway, I’m back home and I went to my local Starbucks and guess what? The barista dude took one look at me and said “Large Cinnamon Spiced Mocha, right” and there was no clap of thunder or hiss of scalding foam. See, it can be done…unless you are a self important uptight ass wad.

I’m just sayin.


Last year at the booniverse: Must have been relaxin with my LARGE mocha and not writing.

Last last year at the booniverse: Drinking a MEDIUM mocha and not updating.

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