that's what i said! "booty trat!"

so, besides the obvious cultural and historical differences between north and south (pick a state, any state), i've come across a drink ordering difference as well. in my part of town, when a customer asks for something "blended" it usually means they frequent coffee bean and what they are ordering (or trying to order) is a frappuccino. sometimes their cafe of choice is some independent shop that offers "frozen cappuccinos" or "blended macchiatos".

whatever their supplier of caffeine may be, the word "blended" usually translates to "i want that frozen, crushed ice, milkshake type frappa-crappa".

so, today i was thrown for a loop when a middle-aged (ok, i'm being nice here) lady came in this morning and asked for a grande blended latte.
"do you mean a coffee frappuccino?" i asked - well used to asking this of thirteen year-olds.
"no, i want a grande blended latte," she repeated.
"we can't blend the lattes. they're hot drinks and we only blend frappuccinos." i informed her.
"i know it's a hot drink." she was getting testy. "that's what i'm ordering. a blended latte!"
"well, what do you want us to blend in your hot latte?" bratty factor in full effect.
"just give me a grande blended latte! i come to starbucks every morning and order one. how can you not know what a blended latte is?"

well, turns out she wanted a grande percent latte. at least that's what a drink made with half whole milk and half nonfat milk is called in my part of town. up north, where this lady is from, they don't use the word "percent". they say "blended", which in my opinion makes no friggen' sense, but whatever. vocabulary sorted and problem solved.

oh, and just as a side note: guess what symbol they use in the milk box for their blended lattes? yup. a percent sign.

barista rant: i understand you using spare change to buy a cup of coffee. but using all the change you could find in your car/house/piggy bank to purchase your coffee, muffin, paper and sergio mendes cd is not cool. ever heard of coinstar? did you realize it took you nearly five minutes to count out all your pennies and dimes? and what is it about saving the damn quarters for yourself? if you insist in using coinage, you could at least be considerate enough to give us the quarters!


Bravemonkey said...

blended... weird. Up here in Canada (or at least Winnipeg) we call those percent too.

barista brat said...

bravemonkey - a week after i left the comment about not carrying the citrus cupcakes we got the darned things!

Benny said...

I hate when customers dump a fistful of sweaty pennies in your hand and then scamper off before you've even had a CHANCE to count the shit. They're always a dime short, that's why. Sigh. :-)

the Drunken Housewife said...

I wasn't that lady, but I had her experience.

I live in San Francisco, and ALL the Starbucks baristas call lowfat milk "blended." My drink of choice is a tall lowfat latte (no syrups, no weirdness, just low fat milk & espresso. Rarely I get an extra shot of espresso). Over the years I came to feel like an idiot saying "tall, lowfat latte" when the person I said this to would then turn and yell out, "Tall blended latte!" Some of the register people had a tone of correction in their voice, like "Listen, idiot, it's not enough you learned to say 'tall' instead of 'double.'" (which is how you ask for my drink in a non-Starbucks, independent cafe) You really should use the right word for the milk."

I was near Bakersfield and stopped at a Starbucks, and I ordered, "Tall blended latte, please." The teenager behind the register blurted out immediately, "WE CAN'T DO THAT HERE!" I was nonplussed. "Umm, what can you do here?" Eventually, with the help of a manager, we established that I wanted a tall latte made with lowfat milk. However, the idiot still couldn't process the order mentally. THe manager had to make the drink. As I left, the teenager said, "So you want me to put that in the blender?"

I wish the Starbucks would CONSOLIDATE THEIR LINGO. If in one major city all the baristas at all the Bux use a phrase, they train the customers into believing that is how one orders at a Bux.

Anonymous said...

good blog. researching cinnamon and stumbled on it, couldn't stop reading. first blog I have bookmarked in years.

Great job - I have to say you have a pretty good attitude to life and work.

jehara said...

i live in the south. and when i worked at starbucks back in college they called it blended lattes too. i don't know where the term originated from but yeah, it is confusing. but we also got people that would order lowfat and we would know what they meant.

Not Perfect said...

This coffee jargon makes my head spin.

Not Perfect said...

This coffee terminology makes my head spin.