Funny Coffee Stories

posted in: Humor, Life, NaBloPoMo 24 comments

I wrote about the pain of ordering coffee in Malaysia, back in 2011. I’m bringing this post back because it’s still true, it’s funny, and it’s a slice of life story that needs to be told. 


I don’t go to Starbucks anymore (well, I did when the twins were in NICU, what with all the hours I put it at the hospital) if I don’t have to. Because this is my usual experience.

Starbucks staff (SS): Hello, good morning/ afternoon/ evening!
Me: Hi. Can I please get a TALL CAFE LATTE to go?
SS: A latte?
Me: Yes.
SS: Size?
Me: Tall.
SS: Hot?
Me:………er, yes, a CAFE Latte?
SS: OK. Having here?
SS: OK, tall cafe latte to go?
SS (to co-worker): Tall Cafe Latte To Go (in that cheery, weird, sing-songy way they shout out orders).
Me: (waits more than 5 minutes for damn coffee)

This experience is not unique to me. My husband frequently comes home with similar tales. Of course he’s fussier than me. Case in point:

SS: (shouts out normal cheery, sing-songy greeting)
Husband (H): I’d like a Tall Americano To Go, HALF WATER please (he hates it when they fill it to the brim)
SS: Americano – what size?
H: Tall.
SS: To go?
H: Yes. Half water. Please, make sure of that.
SS: Yes, sir. (to co-worker): Tall Americano To Go (sing-songy)!
H: Half water, please.
SS: (to co-worker) Half water!
H: (gets coffee) Excuse me, this is too full (points to cup, full to brim).
SS: Sorry sir. (takes cup, pours half of it down the sink, hands it back). Here you go sir, thank you!!

OK, so my husband is a tad fussy about overfilled coffee cups. They only burn your tongue, mouth and throat, and spill all over your shirt when you try to tilt it to drink it. So how do you explain my sister’s experience? This was at a local coffee chain.

Coffee Chain Staff (CCS): Hello, welcome! What can I get you?
Sister (we shall call her SL): Hi, I’d like a double espresso please. Do you have decaf?
CCS: Decaf….
SL: Yes, do you have that?
CCS: Er….um….ah….I’m not sure Miss, let me check (goes off, talks to co-worker, both looking a little bewildered).
CCS: Yes Miss, decaf. We have decaf.
SL: OK, I’d like a decaf double espresso.
CCS: (rings up bill)

At this point, my sister is feeling slightly suspicious as to whether they did have decaf, so she watches them make the coffee. The “barista” pulls a double espresso into a mug. He ADDS WATER to it. Then he pours most of it away to fit it into an espresso cup. And he hands it to my sister, a former barista. She looks at it and asks, “Excuse me, what do you think you’re doing? I just saw you add water to this.”

CCS: Er, Miss, you wanted decaf.

He thought he could ‘decaffeinate’ the normal full strength coffee by adding water. 


So, I just want a coffee. Is that too much to ask?



Alison Lee is a former PR and marketing professional turned work-at-home mother. After a 10-year career in various PR agencies, and of the worldโ€™s biggest sports brands, Alison traded in product launches and world travel, for sippy cups, diapers, and breastfeeding. Alison's writing has been featured on Mamalode, On Parenting at The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Everyday Family, Scary Mommy, and She is one of 35 essayists in the anthology, My Other Ex: Womenโ€™s True Stories of Leaving and Losing Friends. In 2012, she founded Little Love Media, a social media consultancy specializing in blog book tours, and because she doesnโ€™t sleep, is an editor at BonBon Break, an online magazine. Alison lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with her husband and four children (two boys and boy/ girl twins).

Latest posts by Alison (see all)

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • November 29, 2014 Janine Huldie

    Thought I commented but didn’t seem to go through, but what I was going to say was totally recently had a similar incident at Dunkin Donuts where on the first cold day here ordered a hot latte only to receive a freezing cold cup of coffee. Took over 20 minutes to finally get a hot cup of coffee and when I finally did it was scolding hot (burning my mouth) and absolutely nasty tasting. So definitely frustrating and not sure why is so difficult to get a descent cup of coffee.
    Janine Huldie recently wrote…Confessions Holiday Gift Guide 2014 (With #BlackFriday Deals)My Profile

    • December 1, 2014 Alison

      Right? SO annoying. How hard is it? (apparently, really hard)

  • November 29, 2014 Bev

    Hehehe. Janine’s comment just reminded me that the other day when my dad went to Dunkin Donuts he specifically asked for his coffee black. He got home and it had cream & sugar in it (and at Dunkin they put waaaay to much sugar in their coffee). And this is why I make most of my coffee at home ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Bev recently wrote…12 handmade gift ideas for himMy Profile

    • December 1, 2014 Alison

      OMG that’s just TERRIBLE!

  • November 29, 2014 Clare

    Ha, these cracked me up, especially the tipping your husbands half down the sink! Many thanks to your sister for clarifying decaf……ahem..
    I rarely buy coffee, and I hate it when they ask for your name because they never seem to understand when I say mine. I assume it is a UK v’s US accent thing, but I have been called everything from Clara to Clark and once on my cup was written Clack!! Even when I spell it I am Clara…. Thank goodness for decent home coffee!
    Clare recently wrote…What I am wearing today.My Profile

    • December 1, 2014 Alison

      Bahahaha, funny about the name! I never say ‘Alison’ – too many syllables for them, so I use my surname (Lee). ๐Ÿ™‚

  • November 29, 2014 Greta

    That’s hilarious and totally frustrating. But I’m afraid I don’t understand decaf espresso. (Obviously I’m not the only one. Heh)

    • December 1, 2014 Alison

      Yes, why would someone want to drink a decaf espresso? It’s an oxymoron. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • November 29, 2014 Vanessa D.

    I always feel like such a princess when I order take out coffee. Extra large, three sugar on the side because your automatic sugar is too sweet and can I please get three ice cubes in that?
    Vanessa D. recently wrote…Winter Comfort Food, Oven Stew With BiscuitsMy Profile

    • December 1, 2014 Alison

      Sugar quantity is extremely important – not princessy at all.

  • November 29, 2014 My Inner Chick

    —Alison Lee,
    Just watched an episode in America about Starbucks. Did you know if you piss of the Barista, they charge you more and give you decaf to take about your buzz? One dude even wrote F U on the top of a guy’s foam!! xx
    My Inner Chick recently wrote…6 Early Signs of Domestic AbuseMy Profile

    • December 1, 2014 Alison

      OMG that’s horrible!

  • November 30, 2014 alexandra

    That half water one is hilarious. What happens to me is the commentary. I don’t need the commentary. I don’t need the “Wow. double shot? wow.” MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS, BARISTA!

    • December 1, 2014 Alison

      Omigosh, that’s just rude!

  • November 30, 2014 Tamara

    WTH??? I can only do decaf, for fear of full body shakes, and it has definitely happened to me before. The wrong kind. Ugh.
    Our Starbucks has actually never messed up my drink order, ever, but they did give me a cranberry bliss bar once when I asked for a birthday cake pop. Do those even sound alike??
    Tamara recently wrote…I Mustache You Some Questions for Ask Away Friday.My Profile

    • December 1, 2014 Alison

      Hah! Not at all. Maybe the packaging looked similar?

  • November 30, 2014 Maureen

    Hahahaha they are hopeless! Here is no different too. I asked at Starbucks if they have sugar free syrup and they look at me like I was speaking in tongue! Don’t even let me get started on spelling my name wrong hahaha. I’m Alex in any Starbucks in Indonesia.
    Maureen recently wrote…Sejarah Blogging Scoops of JoyMy Profile

    • December 1, 2014 Alison

      Hah, using your son’s name! I give them my surname because Alison has too many syllables for them. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • November 30, 2014 Kim

    In Canada, we have Tim Horton’s where the easiest order ever is Large Double Double – which is double cream, double sugar. If you order that, you will get a coffee in your hand in 5.2 seconds (give or take.) If you switch it up, like me with my double milk, single sweetener, or order a more specialty coffee, it takes longer. I love Starbucks, but rarely go – the ordering and asking for leaving room intimidates me.
    Kim recently wrote…My Father’s DaughterMy Profile

    • December 1, 2014 Alison

      I like the idea of Tim Horton’s! But then, I love the idea of Canada, it’s on my list to visit someday.

  • December 2, 2014 Natalie

    For the love of all coffee get this woman a coffee! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Natalie recently wrote…The Holiday Hustle and BustleMy Profile

    • December 2, 2014 Alison

      YES EXACTLY! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • December 3, 2014 Tonya

    I don’t like coffee so I don’t order it (my drink is chai tea latte) but overhearing people order their drinks always makes me laugh! I can only imagine how difficult being in a third world country or overseas anywhere how frustrating it would be.
    Tonya recently wrote…Precious Firsts & LastsMy Profile

    • December 3, 2014 Alison

      Sometimes, it is the language thing. Most people who work at Starbucks or similar are actually not even Malaysian (English is our second language and is taught in school so really, no excuse for locals).

I Write This Blog

Alison Profile PictureI'm Alison. Writer, a mother of four (two boys and boy/ girl twins), social media enthusiast and book lover. A believer in the power of chocolate and hugs. Chugging coffee as I type. Want to know more?

The Books I’m In (Buy Now!)

I Am On Google+

Oldies But Goodies