An Open Letters to Baristas

Modern Manners Guy weighs in on his appreciation for baristas and voices a small pet peeve.

Richie Frieman
2-minute read

Dear Baristas,

Let me start out by saying this: I love your work. From a custom made latte to a double espresso after a long night, I couldn’t get by without you. In fact, I’m drinking coffee as I write this article. I’m so hooked, I honestly can’t think of one day in recent memory where I didn’t have a least one cup of Joe during the day. I mean, if this was the show Cheers, you, dear friends, would be my Sam Malone. However, as much as I adore a hot cup of coffee, I have one gripe that I feel needs some attention. My biggest issue is how you handle and hand me a cup. Please, before you roll your eyes thinking that this is going to be hoighty-toighty discussion of “proper food service,” it’s not. My concern is regarding germs.

Baristas, I have just one, very simple request: Never touch the lid of the coffee cup. Never, never, never, never! Sure, I’m a bit of a germaphobe but my desire not to have someone put their palms or fingers over a lid where my mouth will go, doesn’t exactly make me particular. I understand (as one barista has told me) that you have to press the lid down to make firmly make sure that the top doesn’t come off and pour hot coffee all over me. That I get it, and I appreciate the concern. However, can we please just not touch the small area where the opening is? Or, if possible, use a napkin to press down that lid? When you hand me the coffee, out of all the areas to grab, why on Earth would you choose the very spot where a customer’s lips will go?  It’s asking for a cleaner fork, and having the waiter polish the silverware with a dollar bill.

Again, please don’t take this a complete knock on your job, but rather understand that it’s gross to touch the spot on a cup where I will put my mouth. In fact, just the other day, after being handed a cup of coffee that I had been craving for the ten-minute wait in line, my barista placed her hand (that just took my nasty five dollar bill) over the lid of my coffee and then not only pressed it down but ran it around the entire flippin’ lid to make sure it was on securely. Am I the only one that is so grossed out by this? I was so turned off that I dropped it in the trash can and chalked it up as a loss. I figured not getting ill from someone else’s germs (which spent the entire day handling money and food) that were dancing along the lid of my coffee cup was worth throwing away $2.

So, before you hand that hot cup of deliciousness over to a customer, look at that hole in the lid as a spot that shouldn’t be touched or crossed. And if you think that no one notices, we do. We all do.  


Your biggest fan, Modern Manners Guy

(This is the first blog post in a new series of snarky open letters from Modern Manners Guy Richie Frieman)