5 Steps To Ordering A Perfect Coffee—Every Time

semi-rad 5 steps to ordering the perfect cup of coffee every time

1. Go into a coffee shop. Approach the counter, greet the barista and clearly and concisely state your order. Say please and thank you. Put a $1 tip in the tip jar assuming that the barista will really nail it.

2. Wait patiently.

3. When your drink is finished, collect it from the barista and say thank you.

4. Choose a place to sit. Place your coffee drink on the table. Get comfortable. Take a deep breath and look out the window. Think about all the things that are going right with your life, and focus on those instead of worrying about all the stuff you have to do and all the other things that are causing you anxiety but have a 95 percent chance of never happening. Consider the fact that you just paid someone to make coffee for you, which probably means you are in a financial position to feel like you have at least $4 in disposable income. Sure, it could go to your 401k, but potential security and comfort later does not taste as good as coffee now. And if you do have $4 in disposable income and can spend it on something as frivolous as coffee—because come on, for all your posturing about “needing” coffee and how you’re a monster without it, you could probably make it a day or two without it and not stab someone—you have to admit, you’d doing pretty well. You’re not, for example, $4 short on your rent this month, and you don’t owe that money to someone who might break your legs if you don’t get it to them by Friday, and you feel perfectly comfortable spending that $4 on a nonessential drink instead of your next meal, which, you must be pretty confident you’ll eat if you’re putting that money towards coffee.

So yeah, things are going pretty good, you might go ahead and say to yourself as you sit there in the coffee shop with your Americano, or Cappuccino, or latte, or whatever it is you paid that skilled person behind the counter to make for you. Yes, you might have a little pressure with work deadlines, or worry about some potential health issues, which is really just the most immediate fear of death that we all think about from time to time, but we’re all dying, aren’t we, and you’re likely not going to die before you finish your coffee, so it’s nice to sit and enjoy that coffee and the few minutes you’ve taken to sit down and gaze out the window and think about what a nice day it is out there. Or, it’s raining, and you’re thinking about how nice it is to have a roof over your head right now, instead of standing out in it waiting for a bus or changing a flat tire on the side of the freeway. You’re probably in a pretty safe place, in that coffee shop, very likely a spot on Earth that is not randomly attacked by fighters from rival factions, or bombed by an aircraft operated remotely by a person thousands of miles away whose intended target is a bad guy in your neighborhood. You probably have a place you call home that, although everything in it may not be perfect, isn’t a place you have to leave with only the belongings you can carry and cross a border into another country hoping that the people there will at least tolerate your presence, if not welcome you.

Maybe you’re a person who worked your entire life to become the type of person who can pay someone else to make them a cup of coffee, or maybe you got lucky and were born into a situation in which paying for something like a cup of coffee isn’t a big deal at all. Either way, you’ve arrived at this point, and here you are with your cup of coffee and it’s a nice day and you have a few minutes. Yes, maybe things aren’t perfect, maybe your car isn’t running quite right or your boss isn’t recognizing your potential at work or you feel like you could lose 10 pounds or the roof of your house is leaking or you’re wondering when it’s finally going to be your turn to meet the man or woman of your dreams or finally feel fulfilled in your career aspirations or just have enough time to do all the things you want, but hey, for right now, you have this coffee and a few minutes to enjoy it, so just do that.

5. Lift your coffee to your lips and carefully take a sip of it—it might be hot.

[NOTE: This post was definitely inspired by Aaron Bleyaert’s “How to Lose Weight in 4 Easy Steps.”]


More stories like this in my new book, Bears Don’t Care About Your Problems, out now.

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18 replies on “5 Steps To Ordering A Perfect Coffee—Every Time”
  1. says: Velosopher

    Yes yes yes.

    Read this at Northampton, Massachusetts’ lovely cafe, The Roost. Rainy day. Good soft music. Warm coffee. I spent four of my grown-ass dollars on it, and I deserve it.


  2. says: Charlie



    oh, and i am a big fan of the piece of Aaron that actually also become a very funny video on vimeo 🙂

  3. says: KC

    Step 4 gets me through many a dark day, even when I’m $4 short on rent. The caffeine might not be necessary, but sometimes this process is. Thanks for the reminder, needed it today.

  4. says: Nathalie

    Sometimes things in life aren’t as bad as we make them out to be. Thanks for providing that alternative perspective that stubbornly eludes us from time to time 🙂

  5. says: Pete

    Started reading wondering where you were going go with this…
    …ended up in a nice place.
    Thanks again

  6. says: Ethan

    I have been thinking a lot about how lucky I am to love somewhere I don’t have to flee, fearing for the life of my family. Glad I’m not the only one. Thanks.

  7. says: Laura

    Step 6. Accidentally knock your hot coffee all over yourself, go to a hospital to get checked out for burns, get a fat bill that prevents you from buying a $4 coffee for a while.
    Step 7. In a few weeks forget all about it and repeat steps 1-6.

  8. This is too funny. I literally has those exact thoughts going through my mind this morning when I spent $4 on an almond milk latte. I was like, “did I need to spend that? There’s free coffee at work.” But to me I like the mindfulness of a coffee shop and taking 20 min to read a magazine and relax every once in a while, and just embrace it.

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