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How to Order a New Item at a Coffee Shop Without Fear or Stress

Updated on December 24, 2012

Mmm, you know you want to try something special today!

Coffee: roasted and hydrated beans for your oral delight.
Coffee: roasted and hydrated beans for your oral delight. | Source

When to call in reinforcements

My friends, if your social anxiety is becoming a hindrance to your life, consider contacting a therapist or other mental health professional to help you out! There's no shame to be found. Would you rather keep a mental tab on the nearest bathroom at all times, or would you like to just live a little?

Keep the option in mind!

My regular readers might find this hub topic to be rather peculiar, but I am willing to accept, face, and admit to my generally high level of social anxiety. Sure, I'm still able to function, and I'm always eager to push myself past my limits, but I'm an inherently nervous person (a "Betty," named after my also-nervous grandmother...named Betty).

I'll get that weird, hair-on-end feeling across my body, indecent sweating, and always, always a stomachache. All of these symptoms then make me even more uncomfortable, so I say weird things and don't play off the coolness I want to express. It's not fun.

This can happen anytime, whether I'm complimenting someone on an accessory or skill, asking them out, or ordering a new coffee drink. So, really, it only happens when I have to communicate with others.

If you're like me, and are thirsty (for delightful, caffeinated beverages), I'm here to walk you through my process of overcoming social anxiety and fear.

Disclaimer: You might still be nervous, but you'll be able to muster up the courage anyway!


What are you doing here, shorty? Are you at this coffee place to order a new coffee (specifically, as this hub is titled), or are you trying to strike up conversation with the cute (hot) barista? Either way, you're here, ordering something unusual for yourself, and you're nervous.

Just know the end game. If you want to play off your awesomeness, it might be okay if you freak out and order your old stand-by.

If you really want to try that Mocha-Latte-Caramel-Frappe, then keep it in mind and overlook any potential social awkwardness that comes. Just remember why you're here in the first place!

Romantic Advice for the Socially Disinclined

Plan of Attack

Alright, so you know what you want. How are you going to get it? Will there be a smile-less, terse "GIVE ME THAT COFFEE WITH THE HOT CINNAMON STUFF, ya dig?" Or will you try to be friendly and conversational, too? These are the questions we must ask.

If you just want to order a new item, recite the order in your head beforehand. "Hi! Yes, I'm ready, and would like a....Grandiose Hot Talcum Powder-Laced Frothy Creamaccino with Extra Caramel Syrup and a Pump of Chocolate. Dark."

If you want to ask for a recommendation, this might be harder. Who knows? The barista could be in a mood, or could like the total opposite of what you do. Or worse, they might be clueless and just recommend plain ol' black coffee and you can't stand it that way. We'll discuss this concept in more depth in later hubs.

If you want to flirt, you're going to need to be ready. For information on how to become a better flirt, please consider the items to the right!


It's equally important to consider where you are when you plot your attack. I mean your order. Gosh, I need to stop thinking of things in war references.

  • Is this a regular joint? Do the people know you?

Social anxiety level: high; unless already connected with staff on a personal level

  • Is this a semi-regular joint where you could be recognized again?

The near anonymity on the verge of embarrassing infamy makes this scenario rather loaded socially. But don't worry.

The worst case scenario: Just lay quiet for a while!

  • Is this a brand new place that you want to make a regular spot?

Whether this goes well or not, you're trying something new!

Pressure: moderate.

  • Is this a brand new place you'll never be again?

This is usually the worst scenario for me, despite its insignificance. You don't know the culture of the care or region.

Potential for foot-in-mouth disease: astronomical. But, unless someone tweets your meltdown, you will be fine.

  • Is this an old haunt?

Don't wear the Fedora. Pressure may be high, but you can do it!.

  • Are you in a hip and/or youthful area? Are you trying to look cool to fit in? Are you trying to look cool to stand out? Are you not trying to look cool and JUST WANT SOME FREAKIN' COFFEE ALREADY?

See: "Is this a brand new place you'll never be again?," especially re: meltdown

The setting is everything.

Settle in to a cozy cafe, and sip a while!
Settle in to a cozy cafe, and sip a while! | Source

Peculiarity of Your Order

Now, we must consider the actual order. Why are you stressing in the first place? I used to panic about being hustled through the bustling lines at Starbucks and other popular, frantic coffee shops. There's a lingo. I don't get the lingo. Once acronyms and abbreviations come out, I panic. I'd much rather be literal, and transcribe my fine order by hand (calligraphy, even). The less talking I do, the better.

But, that's not why we're here and NO, you may not write your order and pass it to the barista. That's not going to work, my dear.

Do you have a normal order that's unusual for you?

This is an okay scenario. With a little recitation, you'll be perfectly ready. The hardest part will be remembering to ask for this new item and not just getting that Tall Vanilla Frappuccino because you spaced.

Do you rarely order items at a coffee shop, and are nervous about making an order anyway?

This works, too! Consider what you're getting. Are there multiple elements you'll need to describe? If so, check the menu and plan ahead. Will they be asking if you want milk, whipped cream, sprinkles, or a small puppy to go with your coffee? Know your answer ahead of time.

Wait! What if they ask you a question you weren't prepared for? Roll with it, baby! Pause for a second, consider the question, and answer. You might be thrown for a loop, but you can always respond with "no" (usually the worst answer - go big or go home!). I like "what do people normally get?"

How to Order Coffee in Seattle

Final Tips

Overall, this entire experience, while completely insignificant in the larger scale of things, may cause anticipatory anxiety and/or mild embarrassment afterward.

By reminding yourself:

"This doesn't really matter.

I accept myself, good or bad."

You will make it to fear a coffee order another day.

Repeat your order in your head, slap on a big smile, and go for it!


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    • rmcleve profile image

      Rachael Cleveland 4 years ago from Woodbridge, VA

      billybuc, I understand that completely! I think I'll still with my "large black coffee" for a few years...or decades. Happy Holidays to you and a Happy New Year!

    • rmcleve profile image

      Rachael Cleveland 4 years ago from Woodbridge, VA

      hawaiianodysseus, thanks for reading! I kind of forgot to explain the actual process of ordering a new beverage, but it seems pretty simplistic to me. The hard part is mustering up the courage! Perhaps I should provide an addendum.

      Hope your holidays are going swimmingly! :)

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      As a habitual frequenter of coffee shops, I immediately gravitated to this hub like caffeine on a coffee bean. While it addresses how to order coffee, the emphasis was more on social anxiety. Kudos to you, rmcleve, for an honest and clever presentation that would've made Woody Allen proud! : ) Thanks for sharing, and Happy Holidays to you and yours!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Great fun my friend. Truthfully, I will never order something new in a coffee shop. I go with the same thing day in and day out; much easier than embarrassing myself. :) Merry Christmas to you and yours.