Coffee Shop Etiquette: Should I ask for Ethical?

I was at the coffee shop this morning and it had just occurred to me that I did not know what brand of coffee, I was to buy. I then thought about asking the barista what brand they used but after hesitating for a minute or two, I left it as is.  As it has been explored there are benefits to buying ethical coffee. However, I thought that I would write a blog about the dos and don’ts at coffee shops.

At the coffee shop, if you are ordering a take-away coffee, (as a supporter of ethical coffee) don’t yell at the barista asking them what coffee brand they use. We all know that running a business is a tough thing to do, and supporting local businesses is also essential as it allows more competition and variety for us consumers. Thereby, yelling will only achieve an embarrassing outcome for both yourself and the store. Therefore, instead of yelling out the question, politely ask at the counter as you go and buy your coffee.

Once you have asked about the brand only to find that you have never heard of it, or know that it is not fair-trade, don’t go preaching. Most of us know that supporting ethical coffee is beneficial to the entire chain of the coffee production, but recognizing that some don’t is also a step towards creating awareness. Instead of attacking the store, inform about other products that you may have tried and would recommend.

Lastly, once you have provided your recommendations, and then finding out that nothing has been listened to after going back there the second or third time, don’t go protesting against the store, particularly if it is your local, independent cafeteria. There is no point and nothing will change. Perhaps you may create some noise, and draw customers away from the store, but in retrospect it has not solved much.  Instead, try to find out what and why the fair-trade brand may not be supported at the local cafeteria. In practice this is a difficult task to do, but as a team we can find out the reasons as to why some local stores have not jumped the bandwagon yet.


2 thoughts on “Coffee Shop Etiquette: Should I ask for Ethical?

  1. Great article on etiquette in the coffee shop. The amount of times I wanted to as if it was fair trade coffee and didn’t is just too many! I get intimidated in that environment where other people are waiting to be served and might think that you’re being weird, or the barristers think that you’re being annoying. So thanks for the great tips!

  2. Love this topic idea! Great tips in this article. I work as a barista at a coffee shop franchise (which shall remain unnamed for all intents and purposes) and I cannot stress how annoying and irritating it is when someone yells at you, while you are making their coffee. Yelling will never give you a positive outcome – it only makes us more annoyed and less likely to help you out. If a customer came in and just asked me politely what brand of coffee we used, I would gladly show them and try to help them out as much as possible.

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