Slideshow: Ask a Barista: What Drink Do You Hate Making?

Hard to Complain
Hard to Complain
“Any drink that drowns out the taste of the coffee hurts a little bit, but it's hard to complain if it's on the menu.” —Michael Harwood, Carrboro Coffee Roasters, Carrboro NC

[Photo: Liz Clayton]

People Pleaser
People Pleaser
“I hate making drinks that aren’t finished by the person drinking it or one that gets cream and or sugar added to it. Every time that happens, I can’t help but feel that the drink wasn’t as good as I could have made it and the whole moment, while not a disappointing experience, was less than extraordinary.” —Lorenzo Perkins, Cuvee Coffee, Austin TX

[Photo: Lily Kubota]

Nothing but the Sublime
Nothing but the Sublime
“This is a tricky one, right? I think my least favorite drinks to make are drinks that I don't personally believe in. When I say ‘believe in,’ I think folks who produce consumable goods for a living will understand without much explanation. There are things that we sell because we think they are the best, and we think they will change perceptions and bring people to a level of deliciousness and tastiness that is sublime. On the other hand, we also sell the things that we think we have to sell, and we sell them at a price point that we think we need to sell them at. And I think that second category is a category baristi generally have a hard time getting excited about. I imagine that bartenders and chefs have similar experiences as well. (Uninformed guesses: mojitos, steak frites.)” —Simon Ouderkirk, Spot Coffee, Saratoga Springs, NY

[Photo: Simon Ouderkirk]

Keep It Simple, Serna
Keep It Simple, Serna
“I don't really hate making any drink, but my least favorites are the highly specific complicated ones, only because I they are the hardest to create consistently well. For example, a drink where literally every detail of the drink is altered: A half-caf rice milk cappuccino at 170° to go with almond flavoring. Granted this is pretty exaggerated, but it takes a little bit longer to make. And it is impossible to make a rice milk cappuccino because rice milk cannot foam due to lack of proteins. Of [course] you make sure that the customer is okay with that, but you are happy to make the drink with another alternative milk choice that will foam.” —Bronwen Serna, 2004 U.S. Barista Champion

No Tea for Tony
No Tea for Tony
Tea. I'm not really sure why, it's simple and quick. Maybe that's why.” —Tony Riffel, Octane Coffee, Atlanta

[Photo: Andrew Lee]

Mo' Mochas, Mo' Problems
Mo' Mochas, Mo' Problems
“Mochas. I don’t like the extra step of the stir [of chocolate], although the contrast for latte art is lovely. As I see it, if you are going to add anything to a coffee drink, it’s because you want something sugary and sweet that is more like a dessert. But coffee shops like to be artisanal and purist, so oftentimes they make some fancy single-origin dark chocolate ganache that is not so sweet, and it makes the coffee drink taste dull and bitter. But the really sugary-sweet chocolate stuff is usually artificial and nasty, and I don't want that either. A typical espresso blend usually has a nice heavy chocolate quality, so why not just drink a macchiato?! Sweet, creamy milk, chocolaty espresso, boom! That’s a "mocha" I want to drink! Does that sound rude? I don't want to be rude; I just don't like mochas!” —Laila Ghambari, Caffe Ladro

[Photo: Kirk Mastin]