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Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite
Behind the Green Apron by R. L. Farrar is a non-fiction professional memoir in which the author details some of their most interesting stories working for twelve years as a Starbucks barista. Baristas are the coffee chain's front-of-house staff, the employees who facilitate the running of the shop, and all that encompasses making our favorite drinks. Over the course of nearly two dozen chapters, Farrar shares experiences that range from the good, such as the woman who quite brilliantly figures out how to save a dollar on her drink by ordering off-menu; the bad, like the order with 24 packets of white sugar; and the ugly, which comes in the form of people like the overbearing customer who casually openly carries a gun at his hip.
An Uber driver, a mobile app user, and a guy named Bimbo walk into a Starbucks... Oh, have you already heard this one? Probably not, as the cornucopia of stories R. L. Farrar recalls in Behind the Green Apron is unique not only to those who work in the service industry but specifically to the foot soldiers who churn out coffee and grab-and-go treats. The writing style is conversational and relaxed, which suits the tone of its narrative really well. There are some bits where I actually did think the barista was in the wrong and the tenor can occasionally push beyond witty sarcasm into condescension. Still, the book overall is heaps of fun and has a wonderfully fair share of jaw-dropping experiences. The drink recipes at the end are an unexpected delight and make me want to go right out and get a Paradise drink. I promise not to make eight customization requests.