A Matcha Made In Heaven

by admin on January 30, 2013

This past weekend I was in an airport, heading out to visit some friends. I had a few extra minutes before my flight boarded so I decided to treat myself with a delicious drink. Normally I get any tea/coffee drinks from that all-too-well-known coffee company, but this place was a lot closer to my gate, so that’s where I went.

Nobody was in line the entire time I was at the coffee joint, so the barista was able to take her time while making my drink. She hands me my matcha green tea latte and I take a drink–it tastes like coffee, not like tea. She saw me make a face and asked if it was ok, so I told her that it tasted like coffee. I hate to be rude so I told her I could still drink it, but she insisted on making another one. Since I had paid for it I decided to take her up on that offer. She was very polite, so this was not the breech in etiquette.

I started to have an issue as she was making the second green tea latte. I was standing at the side of the counter where you pick your drink up, and therefore had a better view of what she was doing. As she pulled out the matcha green tea powder she kept commenting on how bad it smells, saying things to me, the customer, like “eww I hate the was this stuff smells,” “I cannot stand making this drink” and “it smells like dirt,” all while making my drink, which I happen to like the taste of.

The whole time she was going on and on about how awful the smell was I just stood there and patiently waited for her to finish making it. I didn’t really say anything because I wasn’t about to agree that what I was about to drink tasted like dirt, nor did I want to start any type of uproar with the girl who was handling something I’m about to consume.

I quietly took my finished drink (which tasted right this time) and thanked her as I walked away. I seriously hope she doesn’t talk like this to all of her customers, otherwise this business may eventually close down due to that other coffee company, who DOES know how to make a green tea latte. 0117-13

People who vent, rant and otherwise gripe incessantly seem to have no idea to what extent their whining effluvia has on the atmosphere around them.   They have the power to summon the dismal clouds of a bad attitude which others are forced to wade into in order to finish their business.   I am not the kind of person to have taken this barista’s gripes as a serious personal insult as to my tastes in tea but rather would have cheerfully said, “Well, I love matcha and match loves me. It’s a matcha made in heaven! hee hee!”  Sometimes one just has to be the shining light of happiness and positive thoughts in order to overpower all that negativity.

{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

Huh January 30, 2013 at 8:36 am

Now I’m craving a green tea latte, and I am nowhere near any sort of coffee shop that makes them! :(

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Mrs. Lovett January 30, 2013 at 9:35 am

I think some people just like to have their opinion known and may even feel that everyone wants to hear their opinion. Others simply don’t understand how much taste varies and can’t understand how anyone could like what they dislike or dislike what they like or feel differently about religion, politics, food, clothes, whatever. I unfortunately understand these people because I used to be one of them. It took some hard-learned lessons and some growing up to realize that my opinion is one of many and does not always need to be voiced, and that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, even if it is in direct violation of my own. It pains me to look back and realize how often I put my foot in my mouth over this personal flaw, but I’m glad I’ve worked past it (for the most part), and hopefully this girl will as well.

The other possibility is that sometimes customer service people feel like they have to speak and “entertain” their customers while working on something, such as making a drink or scanning items or even cutting hair. I’ve heard some bizzare conversations, questions, and rants from customer service people, and I’m sure I’ve been guilty of the same, simply because of a desire to fill the silence. It may be that she felt like she needed to say something, and that was all she could think to say.

Whatever caused her to speak like this, I hope she takes the time to reflect on it later and grow from the realization that some opinions are best kept to oneself.

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Elizabeth January 30, 2013 at 10:04 am

I will add to Admin’s comments that the customer did not ask the counterperson her opinion of the order choice, whether it meets her tastes, and if she agrees with the selection. Most simply, customer didn’t ask server’s opinion and server behaved inappropriately by offering it unsolicited. This goes well beyone grumbling venting.

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ShellyLynne2611 January 30, 2013 at 10:21 am

This same thing happened to me once. I used to order a particular pasta dish from a pizza delivery place on a fairly regular basis. It was delicious and I’ve never known another place to serve it like they did. Once, I made a comment to the driver how much I love the dish, especially a particular ingredient, thinking I was being nice and complimentary to the company. The driver in return, casually told me how much he didn’t like the dish, that the particular ingredient I liked was a pain to work with and that he didn’t like the way it tasted, the old way they did it was better, etc. Now, if he had said something along the lines of “I don’t particularly care for the new version as much as the old version” without getting into specifics, I wouldn’t have minded as much. There was nothing rude about his tone. But to me, not only was he dissing my taste, he was dissing his company’s product! Why would you ever tell a customer that your product is nasty and smelly? That’s just terrible business sense. I didn’t want to get the guy in trouble, and since I order from there frequently I didn’t say anything to him, but I wanted to say “You know, you might not want to say negative things about your product to customers. Your boss probably wouldn’t like it.” The bummer is, I guess most people agreed with him because they discontinued that dish. :(

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Kitten January 30, 2013 at 11:02 am

When I was really young I once told my mon that her food (kimchi and other Korean food) smelled bad. “It’s yucky!” My mom looked at me and told me that for the 20 years she had been living in the States multiple people had said that but I was her daughter and she could tell me I was being rude and inconsiderate. I took that to heart and refuse to comment on food or drink now. When someone does it to me I tend to give them a “for real?” look.

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Rug Pilot January 30, 2013 at 11:06 am

I have very strict dietary restrictions because of my Crohn’s disease. I was once asked by a waitress after placing my order if I was on a special diet or something. I told her I could eat anything that didn’t make me sick. Other people have asked my permission to eat strange things at the table with me. I told them it’s their mouth and not my business what goes into it.

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A January 30, 2013 at 11:06 am

I’m aware that this is a cynical take, but since the barista was able to make the drink correctly the second time, yet complained loudly about the smell, taste, etc., it makes me wonder if she just didn’t want to make it the first time. Either way, her opinioned wasn’t necessary. Everyone has parts of their job they don’t like.

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MichelleP January 30, 2013 at 11:44 am

I’ve always wondered why people working at a business put the business down. I’ve dealt with this before; usually younger people working a dead end job. Yep, I was one of them. I know better now.

When I was in customer service, I was taught to NEVER comment on anything a customer ordered/bought/ate, etc. Never ceases to amaze me how some people think everyone needs to know their opinions.

Love the response, admin! Spot on as always!

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MichelleP January 30, 2013 at 11:47 am

Kind of different, but same point: my daughter and I went out to eat dinner a while back, and the waitress came over. We exchanged pleasantries, and she immediately went into a whining rant about how tired she was. I didn’t comment that she looked tired, didn’t ask her if she was, no preliminary reason for her to say it. Continuously. She spent five minutes saying how tired she was and how many hours she had worked and the shift times. I finally spoke up and started ordering, cutting her off. I wasn’t rude about it, but I’m not interested in hearing that! I just want to order my food and eat. Why do some people think that everything they feel/think/go through is up for discussion with everyone??

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Ashley January 30, 2013 at 11:58 am

I used to work at a sandwich place, and I LOATHE any food that comes out of the sea. I would rather spend three hours in a dentist chair than eat any sort of seafood, let alone handle it. But while I worked at this place, I shut up and dealt with it and kept my feelings about seafood/tuna to myself. If I was a cashier and someone asked me about those two subs, I smiled and said “Oh they are pretty popular, and we can add whatever veggies you like!” If I was making sandwiches, I just shut up and did it because it was my job.
Never ever ever complain about something in front of customers.

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June First January 30, 2013 at 1:23 pm

Excellent opportunity for bean-dipping:
Cheerfully say, “Oh, well we all have different tastes, don’t we? Is it supposed to snow today?”

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Fyrefly January 30, 2013 at 1:38 pm

While I agree it was negative and probably not a good idea to talk badly about the product to the customer that was ordering it, I can’t help but wonder if there was also a case of nervous jitters here. She’d already made the drink wrong, OP was standing there watching the drink be made and maybe she just felt compelled to fill the silence with something. I’m not saying it was a good choice of words but sometimes people can get awkward in situations like that.

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Library Diva January 30, 2013 at 2:04 pm

I’ve told this funny story on here before, but it seems to fit this again. A few years ago, Tim Horton’s (a coffee/donut/sandwich joint similar to Dunkin’ Donuts or Krispy Kreme) had introduced a new iced coffee drink with bits of brownie in it. This drink was promoted very heavily, in stores, on TV, in their radio and print ads. I ordered my usual fare there, but this new drink had begun to pique my curiosity. I asked the teenage boy behind the counter if it was any good.

“It sucks,” he said. “It tastes like sand. Don’t get it.”

I laughed and told him I appreciated his honesty. I steered clear, and what’s more, it looked as though he was right. The brownie drink quietly disappeared from stores a couple of weeks later and has not been heard from since.

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tracy January 30, 2013 at 2:36 pm

To me, the issue isn’t that the barista was grouchy. It wouldn’t have bothered me if, for example, she complained about the weather, or the traffic that morning. But it was extremely thoughtless and unprofessional to complain about something she was making, to the customer who was buying it.

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DGS January 30, 2013 at 2:49 pm

Yet another instance where I am grateful to my parents for teaching me to never comment on what other people are eating or drinking unless it is in a positive manner. It’s quite simply none of the server’s business, in this case, and it would not be even if the customer ordered a super-pain-in-the-butt-to-make customized fancy drink and topped it off with dust particles.

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The Elf January 30, 2013 at 4:11 pm

Unless the customer asks for the employee’s opinion on the dish, or asks for a recommendation, it’s best if the employee just keeps their opinions on the food to themselves. Everyone has different tastes. (And if asked for an opinion on the hated dish, it would be better to say “I prefer X! It’s my favorite” than to say it is horrible.)

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Mae January 30, 2013 at 4:47 pm

She made the drink correctly the second time, complaining the whole way? It makes me think she made it wrong the first time on purpose! Very rude to complain about a customer’s choice.

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Kendo_Bunny January 30, 2013 at 5:32 pm

I hate tea. I hate the smell and I hate the taste. But when other people are drinking tea, I know to keep my opinion to myself. If I’m offered tea, I say “No, thank you”. If pressed, I can say that I don’t care for it.

Negative opinions on food should be kept to yourself unless you are asked. I’ve warned friends who are less adventurous eaters or who know less about foreign food what they’re getting themselves into when they say they want to try a certain thing (including one who just would not believe me on thousand year old eggs until he actually saw and smelled the package), but if I saw a friend chowing down on them, I would not state my opinion on them. It’s not rude if you’re asked your opinion directly (like for an opinion from someone trying something new – especially new dishes that just did not turn out right and really do taste terrible), but if the customer wants to gush, you can just say “I’m glad you like it so much!”

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--Lia January 30, 2013 at 6:34 pm

I wonder if the employees at these places have a confused notion of what it means to be “friendly.” If I’m with friends, I like talking about the way one likes beets when I can’t stand them but I adore brussels sprouts when someone else hates them. I consider that to be normal banter between friends to go along with the rest of our opinions on music, books, movies, clothes and the weather. Similarly, I’m interested in whether my friends are feeling healthy, if they’re tired or frustrated today, and how they like their jobs. With folks in the service industry, I’m not as interested. I take for granted that they have opinions and that they’re tired, but I don’t consider it friendly revelation when they give me the details.

The time it happened to me that sticks with me was when I’d asked for a book found in another library in the network to be sent to my local one. That meant I had to ask for it behind the desk. The book’s title made clear the political opinion of the author. In the time I’d given my name and the book’s title to the clerk behind the desk, and in the time she asked another library employee to help her find it, they managed to talk together, within my earshot, about how wrong the opinion was. They were pretty much making fun of it. It was classic passive aggression. They made sure I could hear their opinions without quite including me in the conversation. To this day I wish I’d spoken up by asking if they thought it was still okay for me read to the book or if they meant to intimate that there was a book in the public library system that was meant to be censored. (For the record, I didn’t agree with everything in the book but was glad to read that point of view.)

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saucygirl January 30, 2013 at 7:24 pm

It never ceases to amaze me when employees feel it is okay to complain to the customer. I live no where near a post office, but for my job which I do from home, I need to mail things 2 – 3 times a week. There IS a mail depot place around the corner, so I tried going there. The first time I tried to mail something from there the person complained the whole time about everything, none of which was related to me. It got so bad that finally another employee came over, told her to leave, took over the job and apologized to me for the persons attitude. But the next few times I went there, the employee was still there, with the same bad attitude. The same bad attitude that everyone except the 2nd employee had. The final straw for me was when I went in with a large mailing, received tremendous attitude from the person helping me, who then walked away from me to take a phone call. I packed all my stuff up, and said very loudly that since helping me seemed to be a major inconvenience, I would no longer “burden” them with my business. No one tried to stop me as I walked out. I now drive over 20 minutes each way a few times a week to go to a real post office, and I don’t regret one second of the drive.

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cathy January 30, 2013 at 10:20 pm

Reminds me of when I’ve seen grocery store checkers commenting on the things people were buying – IMO a total no-no, just be quiet and check those things through! I’ve also had a lot of checkers and clerks tell me how bad their day is going, how much they hate their shift/company/coworkers, etc. People should be trained to keep their opinions to themselves while they’re working. It’s unprofessional, and people who are shopping or eating or whatever just want to do that. I would make an exception for something like the comment above about the brownie drink, but otherwise, don’t tell me about your problems, just take my order! Sheesh.

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Kate January 30, 2013 at 11:49 pm

I have to wonder why a couple of people are saying that the server purposefully made the drink wrong. There was no benefit to her for doing so, only harm. Her boss could have been nearby, watching or listening, and she could have gotten in trouble, or the customer could have gotten angry with her, perhaps even going so far as to complain to her boss. This seems like a silly fear coming form a suspicion of customer service people, kind of like the idea that restaurant staff spit in your food if they don’t like you. I don’t know how true that one is, but this one definitely isn’t!

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momofeveryone January 31, 2013 at 1:55 am

the one and only time i asked someone what they were eating was in my own kitchen. i had a friend stay in town for the weekend and i was 10 weeks pregnant. the smell of eggs and coffee made me sick immidiatly. i warned my girl friend about this the ngiht she arrived and she said no problem. well next morning i roll out of bed, puke, get dressed, puke, and head out of my room to the kitchen for some water. when i opened the bedroom door the smell of eggs and coffee sent me back to the bathroom for amost an hour. the smell was so bad my husband had to open all the door to vent the smell. when i was able to leave the bathroom i asked her ‘what the hell she thought she was doing?’ she said she thought i was being over dramatic. (very sarcastic) yes, because a pregnant women loves nothing more then tossing her cookies against her will.

needless to say, we dont really see her anymore. i had pancakes, waffles, and all kinds of fruit,milk, and juices for her for breakfast. its not like she didnt have anyother choices. we were going to brunch with her mom and some friends that morning! my husband is great though. he got up extra early on sunday so this didnt happen again.

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NostalgicGal January 31, 2013 at 3:08 am

Whether I liked the food or not, if it was my job to make it I would, if it was my job to serve it I would, and if asked (ASKED mind you) I had probably tried it if I worked there unless it was on my no list for diet or (I’d rather die than eat that) or I was allergic to something in it… and could tell the customer what was in it politely. Notice politely. I’m paid to make/sell/serve this stuff, I do what I’m supposed to. And yes there some ingredients and other things I’d rather not get close to with an 11 foot pole, but.

I have medical issues and a diet that is mandated by that PLUS some allergies and a few foods I’ll starve to death first than eat. Going out to eat, I have learned to ask about what’s in it, send it back politely if it isn’t, and if my friends are scarfing stuff I can’t, I assure them to go right ahead, I do NOT mind. Even my DH eats a different diet, and he sometimes feels bad about it, but I won’t and can’t make him eat what I have to (he did nicely at the start offer to, and I said flat out you won’t and you can’t, so thank you, but).

I think the server made the drink wrong the first time and didn’t realize she grabbed some wrong ingredient; but the second time and complaining all the way was not the way to do it.

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Double You January 31, 2013 at 8:36 am

Years ago, I used to frequent a very small family-run Italian restaurant near to my home. As I had lunch there once or twice a week, I was on friendly terms with the owners, and when the lunch rush was over, the chef’s wife would sometimes come over to my table for coffee on the house, and a little chat.
One day during one of our chats, I told her I’d noticed the menu had changed recently, and one of the chef’s special pasta dishes I sometimes ordered was no longer on it. I couldn’t help but laugh when she simply replied “yeah, we’ve taken it off the menu now. It was one of my husband’s special recipes, but I find it so utterly disgusting that I can’t even bear to see people eat it, so I used to warn customers that it was just a terrible dish, and suggest they order something else. After a while, people just stopped ordering it”.

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Erin January 31, 2013 at 8:48 am

About making the drink wrong on purpose: I doubt she did. Way back when I was a barista, I had a customer once ask me very specifically to make her drink decaf because she was allergic to caffeine. The whole time I was making the drink I was thinking “Decaf, decaf, this is decaf, has to be decaf, can’t kill the customers…” When I gave her the drink, she asked once more if it was decaf, and I realized that while I’d been thinking “decaf,” muscle memory had made the drink regular. I apologized profusely and made it again, correctly this time. So many people order regular espresso drinks that any variation throws you off.

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Jenn50 January 31, 2013 at 9:01 am

Sadly, Kate, it having worked in food services for a decade, I can tell you that stories of staff tampering with your food are true. I wondered, too, if the barista intentionally made the wrong drink, hoping the

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spyderqueen January 31, 2013 at 10:02 am

@Kitten

As a girl who loves kimchi I’d have people tell me the whole “How can you eat that? It smells gross” thing too. I just shrug and say “Tastes pretty awesome though.” Which works pretty well as a bean-dip until they actually try a bit and then look at me like I’ve lost my mind. Their loss :)

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Shalamar January 31, 2013 at 3:16 pm

The kimchi story reminds me of when a couple of ladies in my office took it upon themselves to empty out the company fridge. Fair enough – as with every office, our fridge contained some food of dubious vintage. Thing is, they didn’t warn anyone before they did their clean-out – they just started tossing everything they thought was bad. Well, they found an Asian colleague’s container of kimchi and, not knowing what it was, took a whiff and said “Arggh! This smells horrible! It must have been here for months!” and threw it away (container and all). That colleague was extremely unimpressed when she went to the fridge to get her lunch and discovered that it was no longer there.

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Drawberry January 31, 2013 at 6:28 pm

New tag line: It’s a matcha made in heaven. Thank you admin!

It sounds like she might have been trying to make small talk during an awkward situation and took things over the top. While it’s not really a personal attack, it’s certainly not pleasing having someone dramatically talk about how gross your food is..

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Joanna February 1, 2013 at 11:43 am

I’m especially flabbergasted, considering the barista no doubt expects to be given tips!! What customer is going to do that, if she complained and insulted their drink the whole time she made it??

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Kate February 3, 2013 at 4:48 am

I think the only time it is appropriate for a customer service representative to make comments like this is when the customer specifically asks “Would you recommend x food?”. Even then, the polite response would not be “ugh, that’s revolting” but something like “If you enjoy pasta dishes you might like x, but people who prefer seafood tend to go for y”.
In my old job at a cafe, we had some coffee orders that I found a bit odd (extra strong hot double shot chai latte decaf with artificial sweetener, etc) but it was not my place to discuss this with the customer, who clearly thinks it tastes good otherwise they wouldn’t order it.

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Enna February 4, 2013 at 1:21 pm

That wasn’t professional. I would have told her after she made the drink and had given it, making those kind of comments are very unhelpful and rude.

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FerrisW February 6, 2013 at 4:03 pm

I always find it so bizarre when people comment on other people’s food choices! And when people in food service make the comments, I find it even more bizarre. I appreciate when they recommend something or say that something new on the menu isn’t very good, but ranting on about how gross something is when it’s clear that’s the customer’s taste…weird.

Not entirely similar, but when I order dessert at restaurants, I have to ensure there’s no chocolate on it, as I’m allergic to caffeine and similar chemicals (like the theobromine that’s in chocolate). I either end up with chocolate of some sort on the plate (because the waitress can’t believe I actually meant I couldn’t eat chocolate) or with a waitress who stares at me like I just announced I have leprosy. One memorable waitress was so shocked that she turned to the other diners and wait staff and said loudly ‘Can you believe she can’t have chocolate? That’s the worst thing I’ve ever heard! I’d rather die than not be able to each chocolate’ and on and on and on. She told me I was very brave, and that she’d probably kill herself if she found out she was allergic to it. As someone who’s been suicidal in the past (not because of a lack of chocolate!) it was quite upsetting and ruined the whole meal.

While I’m on the subject, as a response to Erin’s comment above, I think it highly unlikely that your customer was actually allergic to caffeine, and is more likely one of the annoying people who say they’re allergic to something when really the mean ‘I don’t like it’. Decaf coffee has had most of the caffeine removed, but it’s almost impossible to remove all of it. Someone who was genuinely allergic would have a bad reaction to the small amount of caffeine left in the coffee (which is why I myself cannot have any hot drinks other than certain herbal teas- all coffee, tea and chocolate is strictly off limits).

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Mabel February 10, 2013 at 1:17 pm

Now I want to try one. :) I tried chai for the first time not long ago and it was DELICIOUS.

I sometimes make comments on people’s food, but I try to be positive about it–like if it’s something that looks good, and if I don’t know what it is I’ll ask “Ooh, that looks nice, what is it?” I like to try new things (I don’t ask them for a bite!!), so if I see something I want to try at another time, I will seek information.

Is that rude? @_@

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