Baristas Unite for Better Tips

February 11, 2005

*An email I received from my fellow barista and church planter, Josh Shanklin. I don’t know who started it, but I found it to be that good blend of funny and serious. I love a good sarcasm.*

A movement among local Baristas is being started to create awareness and action for better tipping practices by patrons of area coffeehouses.

Your local bartender gets tipped apporximately one dollar per beer, one fifty to two dollars for a mixed drink. If a bar tender serves 50-100 drinks per night…well do the math.

BUBT would like to bring it to the attention of well, everyone, that the preparation of your favorite latte, cappaucinno, or other espresso drink, requires a higher level of skill, prep time, and creativity, than it takes for the local bar tender to pour your favorite brew from the tap, or mix your favorite concoction. Yet you still tip him much better than you do your local Barista, whom you seldom tip at all.

There are several misconceptions we would like to clear up that we think may be aiding this great injustice.

1. This isn’t McDonald’s coffee we’re talking about. The days of coffee for a quarter (which are long gone) have made coffee seem like a very cheap item for a very long time. The $3.82 price tag on a speciality doghouse latte at Fido’s makes one feel they are already paying way too much. May we please remind you…this is premium grade coffee that has steamed milk, a variety of flavors, and the art of mixing it all together to make it aesthetically and tastefully pleasing. Let’s put it like this: You can go to the local liquor store and pick up a case of whatever your pleasure is. You can also go to the grocery store and buy a can of preground coffee. You don’t tip the cashier at either place. But when you visit your local pub, you give that bartender an extra buck or two because you know when that beer with that nice head on it comes to you in that mug, you are getting something better than what you could get in any can from any store. Why don’t you view your coffee the same way? When that warm mug of espresso, artfully mixed with your choice of rich mocha, caramel, or other flavors, joined with perfectly steamed milk, a dollop or two of foam, maybe some whip cream, is sitting on the bar and the barista calls out your name, they are saying to you “Hey, I made this just for you, and you can’t get this from any other store, or make it at your house (unless you spent close to $40,000).”

2. As a society we value depressant drugs over stimulants. Why? This absurdity must come to an end. Alcohol, as a depressant, makes us lose our inhibitions, relax, and forget our problems. That’s all nice and fun. But it’s caffeine as a stimulant that gets you through the day so you can get to the relaxing, lose your inhibitions part. It’s also caffeine that gets you to work on time, and through the day when you stayed up too late losing your inhibitions. Think of how many uncomfortable, compromising, or illegal, situations alcohol has gotten you into . Now, think of how many times caffeine has saved your ____. But yet, you tip the guy who gives you the alcohol and you ignore the person that serves you the caffeine.

My fellow Bartistas, this travesty must go on no longer. Take a stand. Rise up. Join your fellow brothers and sisters as we unite for better tips. Join BUBT today!



  1. Personally, I’d have to be drunk before I would tip on a drink that may have already emptied my wallet. Since coffee actually makes one think a little clearer, I would say a tip is most likely out of the question. (Unless you’re a friend, in which case…I’d tip.)

  2. Personally, I don’t think you understood the writing, which was very clear. A four dollar coffee or a $5.50 Coke and rum both empty your wallet, but a bartended expects to get a buck for pouring liquid out of a bottle.

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