The Worst Time To Try And Switch Your Order At A Coffee Shop

Barista making coffee for customers
Barista making coffee for customers - Su Arslanoglu/Getty Images

We've all been there: You're standing in line at the coffee shop, tempted to try something new and put in an order, but then having second thoughts about it when the receipt's printed and the order's in. You might think it's easy to just ask the barista for something else, right? Well, not quite. For you, changing an order might sound like not that big of a deal, but for a barista, it's a whole different story.

During the morning rush, while the shop's packed with other customers also wanting to get their fill of caffeine, baristas have to work double-time to get everyone their drinks without too long of a wait. It's not an exaggeration to say that every second counts and stress is high. Typically, a barista has been trained to settle into an efficient rhythm: order in and queued up, order made, then order out. Any kind of disruption to this process is going to result in not a small amount of frustration — not just for the staff, but also for other customers who will have to wait longer to get their drinks.

The best time to change a mistaken order is right at the beginning, just as you're placing it. Ideally, let the cashier manning the counter know you'd like to switch your order before it's entered into their system. This way, your order can be corrected before it's made. No ingredients are misused and wasted, and there's great service for everyone!

Read more: 31 Coffee Brands, Ranked From Worst To Best

The Unspoken Etiquette Of Getting An Unwanted Drink

Coffee shop customer ordering a drink
Coffee shop customer ordering a drink - Sarayut Sridee/Shutterstock

If your drink isn't made the way you ordered it — for example, if you asked for plant milk but got dairy milk instead — you can politely let the barista know. Since it's a mistake on their end, they should be more than happy to remake your drink. However, if you change your mind and want a different item from the menu, it's an awkward situation where you have to approach it with a bit more tact.

As mentioned earlier, if you manage to change your order before it's entered into the shop's system and the barista starts working on it, it shouldn't be a problem for them to make the switch. But once the drink's on its way, consider whether it's a busy time or not before requesting a change. Abruptly switching your order during the early morning rush is a no-no. But if the shop isn't too crowded, you can politely ask if they can switch out your order. If you vibe well with the staff and they have some time, they might be able to accommodate your request (remember to tip well if they go out of their way to help!).

However, if they can't make the change or are too busy, don't take it personally. They're just doing their job! If you still want a different drink at this point, it'd be easier for everyone involved if you just place a new order.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.