Katz Meow: What Do the Starbucks Baristas Think of Latin?


Ella Katz From its endless supply of Venti Iced Chais to its mouth-watering Bacon-Gouda Sandwiches, Starbucks plays an important role in life at Latin. Students take it upon themselves to make the strenuous 45 second trip across Clark street— or a minute and a half if you are coming from the fifth floor— for a variety of reasons. For some, the thought of engaging in a long block without an Iced Cold Brew on their desk is an unfathomable nightmare. For others— forget the Cold Brew— the allure of the cushiony couches and positive vibe of the cafe is enough to ditch the library, overcome their lethargy, and seek out Starbucks as their chosen spot for “study” sessions. Considering how often the average Latin student goes to Starbucks, it seems appropriate to say that its presence on Clark has affected Latin students in every way, shape, and form. It has helped many of us cope with our sleep deprivation, it has added to the list of food cravings that distract us in class, and of course, it has severely destructed our weekly savings accounts. However, not only does the atmosphere at Starbucks, the delicious aroma and taste of its coffee, and the friendly smiles of its baristas make a palpable impact on Latin students, but the Latin community affects Starbucks as well. The rush of Latin students impact the daily lives of the Starbucks baristas.   In an effort to gain more insight on how Latin impacts Starbucks, I decided to go to Starbucks myself and ask the baristas some questions. When I entered Starbucks, I found John and Mike working their afternoon shifts. I easily struck up a conversation with the two while sipping on my Iced Cold Brew— I wasn’t kidding, they are so good. I started off by asking Mike whether he had formed any friendships with students or faculty during his time as a Starbucks employee. “We recognize our Latin customers on a day to day basis. Whether it’s a casual ‘What can I get started for you today, Ella?’ or the infamous ‘Are you doing your regular today, Josh?’ most of our Baristas know Latin students and faculty by name, and or drink,” reflected Mike. “It’s much more than your typical barista-customer encounter. When Latin students come in, they have a huge smiles plastered on their faces, and always succeed in cheering us up.”   John emphasized Mike’s point, enthusiastically adding, “Latin students have so much optimistic energy. Their liveliness helps all of us baristas get through our long days. We feed off of Latin’s positive energy.” I followed up by asking Mike and John how they perceive Latin students and how our social norms and behaviors are different from theirs during high school. For John, “Life as a high schooler was a lot different from how Latin students have it. The thought of coming straight to Starbucks for a coffee before school, during lunch, after school, or  at all three of those times would have never crossed my mind. Not to mention, that I cannot imagine having a routine drink at a coffee shop when I was 15-years-old.” Mike had a similar perspective, adding, “When I was in high school, I wasn’t as mature as Latin students are. I didn’t know what a latte or a Decaf Non-fat Two Pumps of Vanilla Blonde Roast was.” Mike also made it a point to add that, “All the teachers seem really invested in the school, and seem to love what they do which is really cool and inspiring to see.” So while the Soy Lattes and seasonal treats from Starbucks brighten the days of many Latin students, we should also remember that we make an equally important impact on the Starbucks baristas. Mike and John’s reflection on how warm and real Latin students are make it clear that you get what you give and that karma really does matter in life— not just at Core Power Yoga. As Latin students, people judge our character in the ways we interact with and treat others. It is our responsibility to uphold this reputation, even if it means doing something as little as adding a smile or a kind word to a daily coffee run.  ]]>