February 18, 2019 3 min read

What makes for a truly outstanding coffee shop? We already know the coffee quality is crucial, so let's put that aside for now. Join us as we explore the atmosphere and vibe of the shop itself, which can serve as the main attraction point for Los Angeles residents.

We've broken down a few of the factors that influence a positive reputation and lead to a coffee shop reaching levels of nirvana to attract the people of LA. Here's the first influence we'll tackle- the baristas.


The coffee crafting skills, friendliness, and level of social awareness that baristas have can make or break your perception of a coffee shop.

Just Keep Smiling

Los Angeles is a beautiful mix of introverts and extroverts. Being able to recognize social cues and body language will help a barista make sure that any customer gets the experience they’re looking for. Nobody is perfect at reading people, especially after just a short interaction, but being friendly is a great start. A simple smile can go a long way for a morning coffee go-er. Most people (not all... emphasis on *most*) are reasonable, and so even if you trip up along the way, so long as you exhibit a positive attitude people will happily give you a chance at redemption and maintain a favorable outlook on the shop.

Think about how many times you’ve walked into a business and been turned off by an employee’s negative attitude. It only takes a single off-putting interaction to ruin your entire experience at a coffee shop. If you’re left with a bad taste in your mouth (literally or figuratively), chances are you won’t be back, and you’ll also spread a negative perception amongst your friends the next time you’re in the group text figuring out plans.

Business is Boom-erang

Sharing your daily experience on social media has become a common part of LA's evolving culture and serves as an excellent organic marketing tool for coffee shops. It's imperative that the baristas in a shop are comfortable appearing in media that may spring up on a customer's Instagram. If they’re so uncomfortable as to want to stop you mid-boomerang or tell you not to take photos without their explicit permission, we’re sorry but they’re in the wrong job. The way to be a strong ambassador for the coffee shop is to embrace and even encourage social sharing.

Ideally, the barista will go the extra mile by allowing you easier access to film beautiful content like their latte pours. Of course, sometimes it’s busy and there just isn’t the time for the barista to slow down and take this extra step. But when time permits, the best barista’s will go that extra mile to help you make your followers envious of the moment you’re about to capture.

The Customer is Always Right.. Even When They’re Wrong

If your drink doesn’t taste right, the barista should always be willing to re-make it. Of course, you should always be respectful when asking. It’s possible that they got your drink right and this shop just uses a different bean or cream and thus your drink has a different flavor than your used to. Instead of protesting or making a scene, politely tell them what you’re not liking about it so that they can adjust the contents when they re-make the drink. Regardless, they shouldn’t ever argue with you. A happy customer is a repeat customer. Not just that, but they’ll spread positive word-of-mouth which will equate to new customers.

Baristas in the Los Angeles Coffee Scene

You’ll start to notice that the baristas at the very best LA specialty coffee shops often share the dream and vision of the respective coffee shop that they work at far more often than at a big chain. The beauty of the top local coffee shops is that their owners truly care about their staff and want them to help shape the culture of their coffee shop as they further propel the Los Angeles specialty coffee scene in the right direction. That’s why when we curate our featured roasters for Rokah Coffee Club, we make sure to speak with baristas to ensure that all shops we feature care for their staff. 

Stay tuned for part two of this blog series, where we'll explore another coffee shop quality that may drive you to your new favorite Los Angeles coffee spot.

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