The 14 Types Of Starbucks Customers: Which One Are You?

It's incredible to think how the simple Starbucks that was founded in Seattle's Pike Place Market in 1971 transformed into the Unicorn Frappuccino-serving, international conglomerate that exists today. Certainly, the store of yesteryear didn't cater to tweens with cake pops and sweet drinks, or try to expand into evenings with beer and wine offerings (a trial that never really took off). And given that there was no WiFi back in the day, the store certainly didn't have options for remote workers to set up shop in the coffeehouse as a makeshift kind of office. 

But even though the original store likely wouldn't have much in common with the sleek shops you find on almost every corner these days, the company has found a way to appeal to a broad (and somewhat stereotypical) audience. So on any given Monday afternoon or Saturday morning when you swing through the drive-thru or step into the store to pick up your order of a grande, coconut milk, single pump, hold-the-whip, white chocolate caffè mocha with a dash of cinnamon on top, don't be surprised if you run into a few of these common Starbucks characters. 

The Assistant

For the most part, The Assistant won't make an appearance on the weekends, but is likely to show up at Starbucks sometime between 7:00 and 9:00 a.m. with a harried, hurried look on their face, clutching an order list the length of their forearm. If you see this individual in the parking lot, pick up your pace and high-tail it inside — the last thing you can afford to do is to get stuck behind this corporate up-and-comer as they place a complex order for all 15 of their "bosses." 

It's not quite clear how making it back to the office without spilling a drink, and ensuring the hot drinks are still hot and the cold drinks are still cold, somehow translates to the ability to manage corporate law, but clearly if this lackey messes up, they're not getting that promotion (or at least that's what their urgency communicates). So go ahead and give them a break when it comes to your frustration over the time it takes to place their order — apparently their career depends on it. 

The WFS (Work from Starbucks) Outlet Hogger

You know the one — the work from home whiz kid who hits up Starbucks with their laptop, cell phone, tablet, wireless headphones, wireless headset, wireless printer, and (of course) wireless coffee warmer. They get there early and claim the best table and comfy chair with the closest proximity to the largest number of outlets — because clearly, they couldn't be bothered to bring their own power strip along. 

As excellent as all of their wireless office tools are (they'll probably even strike up a conversation with you to brag about their goodies), they all eventually need to be charged, so you can expect them to be actively using at least two power outlets at any given time. And don't ask if you can get a quick charge for your cell phone if they've got their stuff plugged in; you're practically guaranteed to get a stiff smile and a, "Sorry, but I'm working. Charging my (inane and unnecessary wireless office accessory) is really important." Clearly, you and your phone are not. 

The Newbie

As prolific as Starbucks is, somehow, some way, there are still people who have managed to avoid setting foot in the coffee chain. They don't have a go-to drink, they're not familiar with the sizing (why is a grande smaller than a venti?), and choosing substitutions and add-ins is downright overwhelming. 

If you find yourself stuck behind The Newbie, they're (thankfully) probably with a friend, and you'll hear a lot of stilted questions, "Ummm ... so ... what's the difference between a vanilla latte and a blonde vanilla latte?" before they throw up their hands and say, "I'll just try whatever you're having — it's good, right?" Unfortunately, it probably took a good five minutes to arrive at this conclusion. And if The Newbie isn't with a friend? You better hope the barista offers a few suggestions early on in the game (or hey, make a suggestion yourself!). If not, you could be waiting all day.

The High School Gang

Sure, this group of teens that cruises into Starbucks every afternoon around 4:00 p.m. might not be quite as scary as an actual street gang, but that doesn't they mean aren't a little intimidating. The young, fresh faces typically swarm in an energy-filled throng, there to take up the best seats and talk loudly with one another about who likes who, who's going to the football game on Friday, and which TikTok videos just went viral. 

You can hardly begrudge them for their still-uncrushed souls, or the peppy, sweet, non-coffee drinks they order to match — they're just enjoying the early days of freedom before life beats them down. So try not to balk if you see one or two of them literally skip up to the counter when their names are called to pick up their drinks. Remember, there was a time when you, too, could enjoy carefree afternoons with your friends. 

The Caffeine Addict In-Training

There's no doubt that Starbucks executives are smart. Considering the addictive nature of caffeine, the daytime-acceptable location for people to socialize over a drink, and the kid-friendly cake pops, gummy candies, and juice boxes, they are priming the next generation of Starbucks-aholics straight from the womb. So don't be surprised if you hear a toddler asking for a soy hot chocolate with extra whip, or a slice of banana bread and a Cinnamon Dolce Crème (a fancy steamed milk drink). 

These kids know the drill and might even be able to offer some tips to the Newbies. So just look on in awe when they promptly collect their hot chocolate and cookie from the counter before settling in next to an outlet with their tablet and favorite cartoons. Flash forward 15 years and you know they'll be writing their first novel while downing their hot chocolate upgrade: a venti caffè mocha. 

The Soccer Mom

Being a mom requires a lot of effort. Taking care of children, keeping them alive, fed, clean, educated, and (at least somewhat) well-behaved is the work of veritable saints — saints that run on caffeine and the promise of a short "me time" break between school, soccer practice, piano lessons, and picking up groceries from the drive-thru line. And by "me time," we mean a 10-minute stop at Starbucks for a quick meet-up with another mom to talk logistics about the Girl Scout campout taking place next weekend and to trade recommendations for the best plumber to do damage control after little Johnny flushed one of his bath toys (again). 

And lest you believe this "me time" is kid free? Well, think again. All two to five of her little cherubs will be in-tow, kicking and pinching each other as they fight over the package of gummies they were given to keep them semi-quiet until it's time to rush off to the next kid-centric event. 

The Remote Office Manager

This particular Starbucks customer is the laidback type of person who subscribed to remote work long before the pandemic forced the rest of the world to work from home. They know cafes and coffee shops are welcoming and easy-going — the perfect place to hold an "office-less meeting" when you don't have an office space, right? 

They are also somehow blind to the fact that they always seems to schedule these appointments in a public place at the busiest time of day, posting up at two or three tables and spreading their stuff out to "hold" the chairs as they wait for their group to join them. And as soon as the people they're waiting on walk through the door, you can expect a loud, "Hey, guys! What do you like? Let me get you a coffee!" to resonate as they motion to them to guard the tables as they confidently jump up to place an order. 

The Line Cutter

Walking into Starbucks and seeing the 20-person-deep line can feel defeating; although, at the same time, it gives you an excuse to show up late to work. And after waiting 10 minutes, nearing the front of the line, you see them: The smartly-dressed, seemingly-organized individual who just waltzes through the front doors, straight to the counter, grabs a coffee (seemingly without paying!) and breezes straight back out again. What sort of sorcery have they mastered to be able to skip the line? 

Well, it's not magic, it's the Starbucks app. And they didn't skip paying, they just linked the app to their credit card. But yes, they did skip the line because as soon as they order their venti iced caramel macchiato on the app, they've effectively "gotten in line" while still in the bathroom getting ready for the day. So while they may not actually be any smarter than the average coffee-seeking lemming, they likely are more organized and cunning. 

The In-Line Talker

The In-Line Talker probably goes to Starbucks just for the opportunity to socialize with strangers. It doesn't matter what "leave me alone" vibes you're trying to send out (headphones in? check! staring at the phone in your hand? check! turning your body away from the other customers? check!), it won't stop them. This person would strike up a conversation with the wall if they needed to. 

The good news is?: They likely don't expect much of an acknowledgement, nor do they need one to continue chatting. So go ahead and grunt quietly in response to the perpetual comments about the weather, how long the line is, what crazy personalizations other people are ordering, and whether anyone actually buys all the merchandise Starbucks sells in-store. They don't expect a real conversation, they just need to talk. Let them do their thing as you offer your one-word replies, then high-tail it to a private corner (or head out the door) to enjoy your drink in silence if you don't want to be followed to a table to continue the "conversation." 

The Regular

Sure, there are people who go to Starbucks every day, but that doesn't make them a "Regular." The Regular is different. This person has achieved a "Cheers"-level status in the shop where "everybody knows your name." They waltz in, gets in line (no need to order ahead — they're in no rush), and calls out "hellos" to the baristas who all call back, "Good morning! Ordering your usual today?" (the name is probably something like Kathy, Patty, Sherry, Paul, Dave, or Walter — warm, friendly, and simple), to which they obviously answer, "Yes, thank you!" 

You see one of the baristas pull out a cup and write "Kathy" on it — nothing else is needed, as all the baristas seem to have memorized what turns out to be Kathy's complicated, 12-step personalized drink. By the time she gets to the front of the line, you'll hear her ask how one barista's chemistry test went, and how the other barista's daughter is doing after having a bad cold. She'll pull out her Starbucks rewards card to pay as the cashier hands her a cup and a bagged-up breakfast sandwich before she heads out the door. 

The PSL Addict

The "PSL" for those of you who don't know, is a pumpkin spice latte. This seasonal fall favorite has a cult following of millennial women dressed in loose sweaters, tight jeans, and knee-high boots, regardless of whether it's 92 degrees out. Their hair is likely in a messy bun. And in late August, when Starbucks re-introduces its autumnal offerings back into its stores, you can expect a flock of almost-identical women to show up before dawn, waiting in line like fangirls, all exclaiming, "I'm so ready for fall!" Some of them might be wearing "ironic" PSL t-shirts that say things like, "PSL Princess" or "Pumpkin Spice AF." 

To be fair, they like what they like, and they know what they like, so you can hardly fault them for their enthusiasm. That said, if you try to avoid unadulterated excitement before you've had a chance to down your own caffeine, you might want to take a tip from The Line Cutter, and just order through the app. There's no sense in being a Debbie Downer in a sea of PSL fandom. 

The College Student

You can spot The College Student at Starbucks based on the bleary eyes, messy hair, and stack of textbooks they carry in while dressed in sweatpants and a t-shirt. They'll plop down at a low table with a comfy chair because they're going to be there a while. They'll likely spread out — their backpack, notebooks, laptop, and textbooks all requiring a place to land. And given the 12 hours of studying the need to put in before his final exam commences, they'll need room for at least six discarded cups of coffee, a couple bottles of water, and a plate for the bagel or donut they'll scarf down between high-intensity highlighting sessions. 

Don't expect any small talk coming from them. They've put off studying all semester in anticipation for the cram session that's taking place before your eyes. Wish them luck, and maybe send another cup of coffee their way. 

The Saturday Morning Cyclist

The Saturday Morning Cyclist is the type who wants the whole world to know he just knocked out 40 miles on his bike before even stopping for coffee. You'll know him because of H=his bike, his sweet bike shorts, and the bike helmet he's still wearing as he sits outside with his coffee (and quite possibly at least five other members of his cycling group), talking loudly about the 100-mile race they're all competing in the following weekend. 

As far as Starbucks customers, he's fairly benign — he likely ordered ahead to avoid standing in line wearing his clip-in bike shoes, and he won't stick around for long as this was just a pit-stop before cooling down with another "easy 20." Just don't ask him what type of frame his bike has or how big his wheels are — you'll likely get stuck talking about cycling gear until your coffee gets cold. 

The Matcha Tea Yogis

The Matcha Tea Yogi is the female version of the Saturday Morning Cyclist, but she's likely to show up (with three friends, all carrying yoga mats and reusable cups) on a weekday around 11:00 am or 6:00 pm, depending on when her yoga class ends. She'll be talking in line about the pros and cons of coconut milk versus almond milk, and don't even mention cow's milk as an option — "humans can't digest cow's milk!" And when someone asks her about her kids, Sunshine and Kai, she'll happily babble on about the children's healing crystals workshop she enrolled them in after they witnessed a fish "being murdered" by a fisherman at the local fishing pond. When she finally gets to the front of the line, she'll double-check to make sure the coconut milk is, in fact, organic, and lament over the fact that Starbucks is a chain and she'd rather "shop local," but her yoga studio is next door, so it's just so much more convenient. Try not to roll your eyes — perfection is a myth, after all. 

The Overly-Happy Employee

Before we wrap up this list, we wanted to give a special mention to a couple of very particular types of Starbucks employee. Hey, customer service is really important — no one's knocking the effort — but, legitimate question, how do Starbucks employees show up to work before 6:00 a.m. so darn cheerful? It takes a special type of person to wake up early, make hundreds of coffees, deal with some not-so-cheerful customers, keep up with cleaning, and still manage to gleefully greet every new face that walks in the door with the energy of a five-year-old on Christmas morning. 

That, "Good morning, welcome to Starbucks!" they trill out as you enter might as well blow your hair back with excitement. The ironic twist? The cheerful greetings are often lost on the as-yet-uncaffeinated masses who drag through the door like lemmings. And for those customers who really aren't morning people? The bubbly, "What can I get for you today?" may be enough to prevent a follow-up visit. But probably not — they're the ones who need the caffeine the most. 

The New Barista

Starting a new job can be tough. Starting a new job in a fast-paced, customer-facing position, where everyone's coffee order is personalized and complicated? That's the recipe for (non-caffeine-related) shaky hands and more than a few mistakes. So when you walk into Starbucks and see a new face behind the counter, expect delays. This poor soul can be seen racking up the daily step count as they walk one way, pivot, then walk the other, unable to remember which way the microwave, the freezer, and the espresso machine are located. 

You're likely to see them smile nervously as they pretend to know what to do when they frantically turn to a co-worker to ask, "and what goes in the iced chocolate almond milk shaken espresso, again?" It'll make for a rough couple of mornings as they get up to speed, but while the learning curve at Starbucks is steep, it's a reasonably quick climb. Try to have patience (and maybe keep your order simple).