40 Coffee Shop War Stories That Make Us Want To Tip Our Baristas Extra

By Ridwan S

Like most restaurants, the goal of a coffee shop is to satisfy its customers through heart-warming services and staff. However, satisfying customers as a barista requires a difficult blend of diligent work and patience. They must learn how to take the correct order from their customers and remember all the essential details. There is also the technical aspect of the job, whether it’s making stunning lattes or frothing milk to the perfect lather.

Being a barista isn’t all coffee; it has its pains, too. For instance, you need to clean the machines and deal with customers. Undoubtedly, customers can be frustrating sometimes with their complaints, needs, and comments, and sometimes “deal” feels more like “try not to kill.” These baristas below are in the trenches day in and day out; they need your tips to help the war effort.

Missing Muffins

Pregnant customers are sometimes hard to please, especially with their irritatable attitudes and cravings. We understand this is totally out of their control; they have a lot of hormones in their systems now. However, crying or screaming at the barista is not the solution — they are not hoarding the muffins.

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The barista narrated her ordeal at the hands of this pregnant woman and husband. Understandably, the wife might find it hard to see that the situation wasn’t the barista’s fault because of her cravings. But, what’s the husband’s excuse? He should have consoled the wife and not aggravated the situation.

Who Let The Dogs Out?

A hot pug ran into the coffee shop at the wrong time and created a scene. The workers of the shop, wanting to save face with the visiting inspector, tried to shoo the pug out. Sadly, this attempt made more mess with the trash bag than expected.

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Unfortunately, the dog caused trouble before the owner came for it. And the inspector blamed the workers without knowing why there was a heap of trash in the store. Honestly, we think the pug owner should have helped clean the mess out of courtesy.

Just One Bubble

If you like to see some people in their full rage, try to get their order wrong. They become hostile almost immediately and make you wonder if their reaction is because of their order or something else. We know that life gets stressful sometimes, but that doesn’t justify their actions.

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Throwing your extra hot coffee on a barista’s face is rude and mean. The customer injured the barista because she found a single foam in her “no foam” order. Thankfully, the airport management defended their staff and didn’t let the temperamental customer get away with it.


Forgive us for laughing at this one, but the mental picture the barista paints is too funny. We know that customers can be arrogant, and assume that they can do whatever the job is better than the employee, but this one took it a bit too far.

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Even funnier, the spout was not on her side. So, we don’t understand why she didn’t realize she was wasting coffee and splashing hot liquid on workers. We wished that this story included what happened afterward when the customer finally came to their senses.

Customers That Are So Extra

Customers are always right, but not these two coffee shop patrons; they, on the other hand, are always extra. Aside from being extra, they are a complex duo, with their weird order. Only a strange customer would ask that their coffee gets filled to the brim. While a full cup is nice, it’s a recipe for disaster!

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Everything about their order is strange to us, no matter how we look at it. However, there is something that calls for immediate attention in this story. The wife runs her hand through the cappuccino to confirm the consistency of the bubbles. Now that’s extra!

Allergy Alert

Allergens are peculiar, and those with allergies should know and learn to recognize them and take care around those allergens. While this customer was responsible for having read the packaging before drinking the coffee, he was wrong to take it out on the barista.

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He thought his coffee contained grapefruit as an ingredient rather than a flavor note. However, we felt he should have calmly discussed this with his barista, and they would have explained it to him. The thought of developing an allergic reaction must have prompted his actions.

The Case Of The Missing Tip

Hospitality staff work hard to satisfy customers and meet the set goals, but they are grossly underpaid. They are, however, allowed to receive tips from customers that give separate from the cost of their meal to augment their wages. If you cannot tip them, please do not steal from the ones they already made.

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It is, therefore, inhumane of anyone to take from the tips barista is hoping to use to supplement their wages. Here, a greedy customer thought the tip jar was a “take a penny, leave a penny” jar. We would think that anyone will be considerate and compassionate towards hospitality staff — clearly not!

Just Plain Coffee

The customer in this story wasn’t sure about what he wanted and just ordered the most basic thing on the menu. He got his order and then realized he could not drink it as it was. He had to pour away some coffee to create space for cream and sugar. The poor barista’s work was literally thrown out.

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Think about your order before going to the coffee shop. This way, you know what you want. It saves you the stress of searching for ways to rectify a wrong order from your end and not to waste anything that the employee took the time to prepare.

Ungrateful Customers

Working amidst plenty of people gives you the chance to see the full spectrum of human emotions. Some customers are friendly and understanding, while others will do everything in their power to frustrate you. Although most people will get to deal with these kinds of people, baristas are at a disadvantage in the situation.

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Irrational customers at a coffee shop get access to hot weapons that can scar the baristas forever. The lady in this story not only called her barista useless, but she also threw her hot latte at her. Hopefully, she doesn’t go unpunished for behaving rudely towards her barista.

Coffee Confusion

Some people believe they know it all and hate people questioning them about anything at all. For example, the customer in this narrative got defensive when the barista asked some questions to clarify her order. Her responses show she doesn’t think the barista knows more than she does.

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The barista does know more than she does, but she didn’t listen to any explanation. Since there was no way to make a cappuccino without milk, she got an Americano and ended up tossing it in the bin. Hopefully, she learns to listen to experts’ advice next time.

Holding Up The Line

Everyone has a different flavor of coffee they prefer; you might like Americano, while someone else prefers cappuccino with extra milk. This customer’s taste in coffee isn’t the problem here. She wanted a “decaf v60,” which was prepared manually and therefore took longer.

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The time and stress of preparation wasn’t the problem for this barista; it was the woman’s impatience and wrong timing. She had complained about her order taking long when in reality, she was the one delaying other customers. Thankfully, the management made a policy that made her stop coming.

A Tip Would Have Been Better

Working in a public place exposes you to all sorts of people, especially as a woman. You will get customers who wouldn’t respect personal boundaries, either through their demands or actions. Some will even make suggestive comments that irritate you about your dressing.

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In this situation, the barista got a kiss for understanding the basics of her job perfectly. Although the customer might see the kiss as a way of expressing her gratitude, it is a personal boundary overstep. She could have given the barista a large tip to show their happiness instead.

Say my name, say my name

It is agreed that businesses ask their customers for suggestions to improve their mode of operation. However, they don’t act on a single concern. It has to be recurring before they consider it as a serious concern. Sadly, this customer thought telling the baristas her ideas would bring an instant change.

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She left the coffee shop when she noticed they did not implement her suggestion. We think she should give them time to discuss this idea with the management before reacting. Or perhaps she should have considered alternative solutions instead of storming out angrily.

Too Much Change

Honestly, we are not in the best position to blame this customer because we have been in this situation before. We have only one issue with the story; he does not know how much change he had to pay for his order.

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On the rare occasion we only pay in coins, we are sure of the amount before spending it. Although the staff will still have to recount to confirm the amount but usually, it’s always correct. It is frustrating because this customer wasn’t sure of the amount and had a $20 bill all along!

Free For All

There is a reason why coffees are custom made; each person has a different palate. Customers’ names attached to each order help the baristas (and customers) ensure that they get their exact order. However, this customer didn’t consider that they just wanted a coffee, whether it was his or not. 

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His excuse was that he had been waiting long enough and couldn’t afford to wait any longer for his order. He didn’t even consider that the rightful owner of the coffee was also patiently waiting, nor that they might have different coffee preferences. Hopefully, the thief didn’t get a coffee that he’s allergic to.

Notes Or Ingredients?

Remember our “grapefruit allergic” customer — this customer has to be his sister. She complained that she was allergic to the flavor notes, haven mistook them for actual ingredients. After some clarification, she demanded to speak with someone else. She got infuriated when the barista they referred her to started laughing.

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We wonder if people have stopped finding the internet helpful — it has the answer to everything. This customer could have saved herself, and others, the stress by checking online; maybe someone else had asked the same question. Did she suddenly forget that Google exists?

Ignoring The Signs

Instructions are there for a reason, but some people act like the rules don’t apply to them. In this case, the barista had put up signs to indicate that the bathroom was out of order. But, this customer decided to ignore all the warnings to use the messed-up bathroom.

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The hilarious thing about this situation is that they went ahead to complain even though they were warned (via signs) in the first place. They also made a mess in the store with their poop-stained footprints. Sometimes customers can be irrational and irritating with their inconsiderate actions.

One-In-A-Million Customer

Customers are the same everywhere, and almost all hospitality staff will testify that customers never apologize. We think the phrase “customers are always right” has been misinterpreted by all customers. Therefore even when it is glaringly obvious that they are wrong, they will never admit it.

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However, something strange happened to this barista, and they couldn’t hide their excitement about the whole situation. A customer realized that what he did was wrong and came back to apologize to the barista. Wonders, they say, shall never end; this is a miracle in hospitality. 

Reverse Tipping

People who work in hospitality have seen a lot. This is just one example of the shocking things they frequently witness. This customer’s bill was 10 cents short, and he dipped into the tip jar to pay the remaining fee. Surprisingly, they even got angry when the barista corrected them.

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We can’t overemphasize how important tips are to hospitality staff; with low wages, tips are essential in making up for that. It is, therefore, wrong for anyone to try to take from these tips, much less without permission. We are glad the barista didn’t allow the man to take from the jar. It was practically stealing, after all.

RIP Honey Bear

If none of the stories have inspired you to tip your barista more often, we are sure this one will. Aside from doing the hard work behind the counter, they are observant and work to ensure our health and safety. This customer contaminated the honey jar by licking it after taking their portion.

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In this case, for example, if the barista didn’t see the customer, the tongue-licked honey jar would still be in circulation, and other unsuspecting customers would have used the unhygienic honey. We understand that this may be common in homes, but it is not acceptable in a public place.


Honestly, the thought process of this particular customer needs to be studied because who demands such hilarious refunds? We must commend the barista and hospitality staff generally; they are easily the calmest people when on duty. This woman has decided to blame the baristas for something that wasn’t their fault.

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This case shows how wrongly audacious customers can be, even when they are clearly at fault. The daughter spilled her drink on her mother’s shoes, but somehow she thinks the company should pay. The mother must think the business is running a charity to make such a silly demand.

Teenage Wasteland

The staff of public places who attends to different people will agree that they have witnessed a lot of irritating scenes. One of such scenes is teenagers being playful, just as narrated by this barista. They come in number and buy what they can afford, but make sure they enjoy themselves to the fullest.

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And, since they couldn’t care less about what anyone thinks, they decide to lick the whipped cream off each other. A displeasing sight to us, but for baristas who have no choice, they are at work and can’t take their drinks to go like the rest of us would have. What a gross display of sheer adolescence!

Choking Hazard

The way some people react to kind gestures from others might make you reconsider ever rendering help ever again. The customer here is a granddad who came with his grandson but stood idly by as he watched the child choke. Thankfully, the kind barista was there to save the day.

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Instead of the customer expressing his immense gratitude to the barista, he decided to file for assault. Our question is, who is the real assailant here? We think the man’s neglect is way worse than anything the barista could have been accused of doing. 

Respect Is Reciprocal

Some people are downright rude and judgemental. They look down on people working in the hospitality industry because they think only failures work there. Meanwhile, some people work as baristas to make money and not because they didn’t excel at other things. They deserve to be respected, too.

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This customer was outrightly disrespectful and out of line with her response to this situation. However, we commend the calmness of the barista in this situation; she even tendered an apology. To some people, the phrase “respect is reciprocal” doesn’t apply to hospitality staff.  

Still No Tip

This one is a short and concise story that carries a lot of pain and frustration in just those few words. The barista cried out in frustration after preparing 46 lattes, and not a single customer tipped them. When you consider the effort and time required to make a latte, you will feel their pain.

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We sympathize with this barista but wish to understand why no one tipped them. Could it be that the tip jar was not where everyone could see it? For whatever reason this happened, we hope and pray for their sake that it will never happen again.

Icy Customer

As we’ve read in many of the previous stories, working as a barista exposes you to all the types of people you may have only heard about. You get to experience the raw, undiluted personalities of all sorts of people. It might be surprising to you at first, but as time goes on, customers’ actions won’t surprise you again.

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Imagine this customer who orders 16 pumps of hazelnut syrup every day and never tips. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the barista helped him get his car out of a snowstorm. And guess what — he still didn’t give them a tip! We are furious!

Food Costs Money

We call this customer the leftover police; she clearly pays close attention to the café’s activity. She noticed they tossed out “leftover” milk, but the barista corrected her. They were not throwing out leftover milk, but rather, it was just foam.

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The customer thinks that just because the café has milk, that would eventually be wasted, she shouldn’t have to pay for her extra milk. To make the situation worse, she recently submitted her application to the café. We all know what happened to that. Actions always have consequences — losing her chance at the job is hers.

Crustaceous Customer

We have another toilet story, but not to worry, this one is non-poop-related. This time around, someone found a lobster in the toilet and came to report the situation. Upon investigation, they discovered that a teenager had taken the lobster from a supermarket and hid it in the toilet.

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Well, there is a sweet side to this story. One of the co-workers of the narrator took the lobster home, and their dad made dinner with it. We wished the story had narrated the teenager’s reaction when he found out that his catch was missing. Or better yet, the dad’s reaction to a free lobster dinner.


In a place where their menu board is accessible to everyone, some customers will still stress the barista. The customer saw the price of a cappuccino before ordering but wanted to try to haggle for the price of a cappuccino. He wanted to pay $2.50 for a $3 cappuccino — no way. 

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What surprised us here is that he knew he had only $2.50 before placing an order. No wonder the barista was upset. However, the barista was polite and offered other more affordable options, which he chose…only to be upset when he wasn’t given what he initially wanted (and couldn’t afford).

Wrong Store

We will never understand these types of customers. If you want Starbucks services, then go to Starbucks. If any coffee shop has affiliations with Starbucks, they will put a sign to show that. It is always baffling when customers try to pay with company-specific apps or gift cards at non-affiliated locations.

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In this case, the customer got angry after her barista told her that the café was not Starbucks. Hopefully, she has other means of paying for this “huge order” outside her preferred Starbucks app. And it turns out it’s not just apps that customers get wrong. They don’t understand that Starbucks drinks aren’t universal.

Bathroom Mishaps

Your work as a barista doesn’t stop at the bar. Occasionally, you might have to solve some bathroom crises. It doesn’t matter if this disaster was secretly left unchecked or if a responsible adult reported the situation they may have caused. Worse, if you have to clean a bathroom disaster during your busiest hour.

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This lady went to call the barista to sort out a crisis she had created in the bathroom. Not only is that cruel, but it is also irresponsible. Most people think their baristas are there to do everything for them, including cleaning up their mess.

A Nicer Towel

It is safe to say that some customers like throwing tantrums about everything. Just as in this case, the customer got angry at the barista, who was only trying to help her. This wasn’t something that they expected to happen, so of course, there are no nice towels on hand at the bar.

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She wet her pants at the register and requested a towel, but she didn’t want just any towel. What a surprise; the customer wasn’t happy with what the barista provided on such short notice. After all, isn’t a cleaning towel the best type to use to clean up a spill?

Coffee Snob

There are some self-satisfied customers that need to tell everyone how cool they are because of the places they’ve been or the things they’ve done. And, of course, they must work that into every conversation — especially if it gives them a chance to disrespect someone else.

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This customer had spent a year in Italy and came back as an expert in coffee. Not only did they dismiss the barista’s helpful answer, taking it as an insult rather than an explanation, but they pre-emptively insulted their culinary skills. How rude!

Regular Coffee

When a customer is indecisive about their order, they leave the burden of choosing a drink to their barista. Eventually, when handed their drink, they decide that the option isn’t what they wanted. Surprising, right? If you had a choice in mind, you should have ordered it in the first place. 

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This customer came in and requested “a regular,” and even after several questions, he insisted that he wanted a regular. But, when the barista handed him the drink, he was confused. So you will understand why the barista’s head exploded when he asked, “what is this?”

Dangerous Request

Coffee shop customers make the strangest requests alongside their drink orders. A customer requested that her barista serve her hot latte in a chilled glass — that’s a recipe for disaster. We thought everyone knew about kitchen practices that could cause hazards, but it seems we were wrong.

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Well, this customer knew what they wanted. She also insisted on adding her magic flavor to make the drink taste right. We wonder how this lady knew that lattes taste better in a chilled glass; has she tried it before? Hopefully not, because that will mean shattered glass everywhere.

Tea, Earl Grey, Hot

When you leave your home to travel to new places, you should not expect things to be the same. Everyone knows and agrees with this…except British people, apparently. They want their “proper cuppa tea” anywhere they are. When they don’t get this, it makes them scream and throw tantrums.

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We understand because tea is a vital part of British culture; it’s present on all occasions and served in a particular way. Little wonder this British woman was furious when the barista couldn’t get her a “proper cuppa tea.” Hopefully, she will realize her reality later, that she can’t expect non-Britons to make tea the British way.

No Scientific Solution Here

One of the cons of being a barista is that you start work early and close late. Now imagine working for this long, alone and attending to numerous customers all by yourself. This was the reality of the barista in the story. However, it wasn’t that bad until she saw Bill.

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Bill Nye is a celebrity, and seeing him at her register made the barista lose focus for a moment. She was star-struck, slipped, fell, and got injured, all because of Bill — or rather, her surprise. Sadly, there was no one to relieve her, and she continued work in this condition for the next eight hours.

Worst Day Ever

These toilet stories never end well, and sadly, we have another one to share. The poor barista was cleaning up the toilets when a little girl requested to use one of the toilets. The barista allowed her and what happened afterward was worse than we could have imagined.

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After messing up the toilet, the girl walked up to the barista to ask for the trash can. She even pushed the dirty toilet papers in her hands towards the face of the barista. Now, we understand why the barista declared this day as the worst day of their life.

How Hot Is Hot?

We think customers need proper education on effective ways to communicate their orders using the right words. The man, in this case, ordered Misto by saying he wanted it “extra hot” when he wanted it at 200 degrees. Following his orders, the barista prepared an extra hot Misto.

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So, when he got his order, and it wasn’t as hot as he preferred, he threw a tantrum. He poured the coffee over his arm to prove his point about it not being hot enough. We’re happy that he didn’t throw the coffee in the barista’s face, unlike some other customers we’ve read about.

Chocolate Overload

To some customers, there is never a perfect service; this is the case of the customer in this story. After reading this story twice, we still find it hard to understand what he meant by “too chocolatey.” They ordered a double chocolate muffin…

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Therefore, it was surprising when the customer complained about too much chocolate in their order. It is called a “double chocolate muffin” for these reasons. If you ask us, the name gave the taste away. Now we understand why the barista couldn’t do anything but laugh about the situation.