Bye bye baristas

By CHLOE RAMBERG, staff reporter

Imagine a college life, or any life for that matter, without coffee.

Coffee gives that extra boost to survive throughout the day, and Central Washington University will be saying goodbye to some of its graduating Cat Trax baristas.

“Being a barista has been my favorite job of all time,” McPeak said. “I always come to work happy because I enjoy it so much.”

McPeak is a senior graduating with a bachelor’s degree in communication Studies. She has been a barista at Cat Trax for the past two years.

Being a barista includes hard work such as working the register, running stock, cleaning the stand and, most importantly, customer service, which sometimes requires a lot of patience.

Emily Carroll has worked at Cat Trax for almost two years, and will be graduating this spring with a degree in psychology.

“To be a barista you really need a lot of customer service skills,” Carroll said. “We get some pretty difficult customers sometimes, but you just have to smile and go with it.”

While there are some customers who make a baristas job a little more challenging, there are other customers they enjoy seeing, and also those who surprise them.

Carroll is able to identify someone by their drink, even if she doesn’t know their name.

“Customers walk up and I don’t even have to ask what they want,” Carroll said. “That tends to put a smile on their face.”

Elizabeth Cordero began working at Cat Trax as a barista in the 2011 winter quarter. She is graduating this spring with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education.

Cordero has a group of regular customers who she knows by name and always enjoys seeing. She knows most people’s orders by heart, but sometimes even she is surprised by the odd requests of customers.

“It’s really weird when customers ask for a specific amount of ice cubes in their drink, like exactly four or eleven,” Cordero said.

Carroll has also had her fair share of unusual orders by customers. They are typically the highlight of her day.

“Someone once ordered what I would consider a chaotic holiday in a cup. It was seven shots with cinnamon, pumpkin, peppermint and gingerbread,” Carroll said. “It was over $8, how that could possibly taste good is beyond me.”

While dealing with difficult orders and customers is always part of the job as a barista, there are always customers the baristas enjoy seeing and have formed relationships with.

“I have many favorite customers that I see on a daily basis,” Cordero said. “Most of the customers are regulars and they’re always so polite and sweet.”

Not only do the Cat Trax baristas enjoy their customers, but they also work with a staff they have become very close with.

McPeak has been working with some of the other Cat Trax baristas since she started two years ago.

“One of the best parts about my job is my co-workers,” McPeak said. “They’re amazing and all very different people but we think of everyone at Cat Trax as one big family.”

Even on an early Saturday morning when most college students are still in bed, the Cat Trax baristas are hard at work with their fellow employees.

“Some of my favorite memories are on Saturdays when I opened with fellow baristas,” Cordero said. “They definitely made working mornings worth it.”

Now that graduation is upon the Cat Trax baristas, they are looking forward to the next chapter in life.

They will miss the weird and wacky customers, their regulars, coworkers that have become friends, but, most importantly their college experience.

“Graduation comes really quick, the 4 years you’re in college fly by,” McPeak said. “Enjoy every single second you have and take every opportunity that comes because you’ll never get this experience back.”