I’m continually surprised at the amount of college students that don’t know how to take advantage of coffee. Most cities have awesome coffee spots yet quite a few college students don’t take full advantage of them. If you can learn the tricks early, it will treat you fantastically over the course of your professional career. Here are a few things I’ve learned from my extensive coffee consumption.
Ask People Out to Coffee
If you are in college and not getting coffee with people on a regular basis you are missing out on a big opportunity. I’m not talking about your best friends, either. I’m talking about professionals in your area of interest, successful individuals in your city, or fellow students doing cool shit around town. Getting coffee with people is one of the least intrusive / most effective ways to connect with people you are interested in meeting. You are able to buy quality time with people who really know what they are doing, especially if you are coming from a “help, I’m in college” background. Hint: If you ask someone out for coffee, it’s ALWAYS on you.
Get to Know Baristas
If you have a favorite coffee shop, make a huge effort to make friends with the Baristas. Here’s a few tips:
- Treat them right and they will treat you right. They deal with a lot of ass holes on a daily basis so if you can make them smile and feel important then it goes a long way. Eventually they will remember you and maybe hook you up with free drinks or muffins.
- Tip big. If you’ve never worked in retail then you don’t know how good it feels when someone tips you big. Most college students don’t tip at all. Don’t be that person. A dollar is good, always. (Especially if you just ordered a $4.65 drink)
- Get to know them by name. Calling anyone by name is a good idea but especially people who serve you because it makes the connection more real. Instead of you seeing them as a vending machine and them seeing you as money, you both see each other as real people.
Treating your Baristas well pays off. Maybe some day you are having a bad day and they call you by name and help you out. Maybe it’s a free muffin. Maybe it’s a bigger drink. The service industry is a two way street and eventually what you give will come back to you. Plus, it looks really good when you walk into a coffee shop with someone you are trying to impress and you know the employees by name and what’s going on in their life.
Figure Out How to Save $
Like you, I have a tight budget so anything that helps cut down on my costs is good. The first and biggest cost saver is the Starbucks Card. I try to stay away from chain coffee retailers but this card has saved me a lot of money. After you buy 5 drinks the benefits make me feel less guilty about not going local: Free refills, free syrup, and after 15 drinks you get any coffee any size for FREE. Deal. Plus a regular coffee is only 1.68 at Starbucks (a deal) and then unlimited refills makes it a cost-friendly stop for the day. However, many local coffee shops have punch cards or other forms of discounts that you can use, too. Take advantage of these.
Meet People When Drinking Alone
Typically people doing work in coffee shops are there for a cool reason. Why not meet them and see what they are up to?
What are they working on? Business? Paper? Most of the time people want to take a break now and then so keep an eye out for that person looking around for a distraction. I’ve met some incredibly awesome people at coffee shops just by striking up a conversation. Try making it easy for people to approach you, too. Unless you really don’t want to be interrupted, try to refrain from keeping your headphones in the whole time. Look approachable, smile, and occasionally walk around talking with people. Spend enough time in coffee shops and you will inevitably meet cool people.
Hope this helps make your coffee consumption more productive and rewarding!