A Day in the Life of a Palate Barista

7:00 a.m. Roll out of bed. Sneakers and jeans today. A full day at Palate is my workout of the week.

7:15 a.m. Long-board through Sanford. I can feel the town still sleeping. Storefront windows are dark. Air-conditioning crackling them awake.

7:30 a.m. Open up Palate. The smell of brisket wafts across the street from Fuel BBQ.

7:45 a.m. Early-morning customers linger outside. One of them helps me unfold the side-lot tables. Talk about eager beavers.

8:00 a.m. They form a queue and I haven’t even soaked a rag to use when I purge the steamer wand.

8:35 a.m. A customer reads me his poem about Stevie Wonder. I’ve heard of Stevie Wonder. But, you know, like, I’m more of a Carly Rae Jepsen type of gal. Know what I’m saying?

9:00 a.m. Incoming: the baseball moms. I like to think the iced lattes I serve them are a direct link to their kid’s team winning. Caffeine = cheering = boosting moral = better playing = home run.

9:45 a.m. Someone asks me to do latte art. I make them a marble ceiling.

10:00 a.m. Shape of You by Ed Sheeran comes on. My co-barista and I start two-stepping.

10:36 a.m. Dance rehearsal today. Eight girls with gelled hair come thirsty for choco-drizzled frappés. God bless our iron-sharp blenders.

11:15 a.m. A guy asks if we have bullet-proof coffee. When I say yes, he looks amazed. I know, I know.

11:43 a.m. Run across the street to get milk from storage. How many cows have gone into helping Palate?

12:10 p.m. Start to feel hungry. Drink more coffee.

12:59 p.m. Lady orders a Cafecito. Sure, I can make that.

1:02 p.m. Google how to make a Cafecito.

1:10 p.m. Lady is so grateful for my Cafecito that she promises me a free meal at her restaurant in Longwood. I do not protest.

1:48 p.m. Run across the street to get sweet potato fries from Fuel. Bat my eyelashes and ask for complimentary soft-serve.

2:01 p.m. Customer orders in-house coffee. Yes, you heard me right: free refills.

2:37 p.m. Call-ahead order. Never thought I would hear someone order a mocha in a Mickey Mouse voice.

3:02 p.m. My friend comes in for his mocha. I knew it.

3:57 p.m. A man orders a chai latté. Do you want it dirty? I ask him. He raises his eyebrows at me.

3:59 p.m. Dirty means with espresso. LOL.

4:24 p.m. Top up time. Top up frappé powders, espresso beans, airpots, etc. etc.

5:00 p.m. Handsome young man enters the shop. I ask for his number.

5:01 p.m. Because Palate has this reward system and you put your number in it and you get a star and ten stars you get a drink on the house so put in your number whenever you come in and you can get a free drink…so yeah.

5:30 p.m. Dinner run. Hmmm…Jamaican curry from Negril Spice? Or poke bowl from Tuffy’s Bottle Shop?

6:19 p.m. Wolf down the last of my buchimgae from Sanford’s hidden Korean joint. The entire cast of Finding Nemo is in this meal.

7:00 p.m. Open mic night! Spoken word, acoustic music, maybe some worship—never a dull night.

7:11 p.m. Here comes the rush. Portafilters are hot. Nitro coffee tap is dripping. Kombucha machine whirs.

8:14 p.m. Girl asks if she can go next. I stare blankly at her. All I think about is coffee.

8:19 p.m. Girl asks the open-mic host if she can go next. All is resolved.

8:55 p.m. I never ask customers to leave, even if we’re closing.

9:20 p.m. I ask customers to leave because we’re closing. Twenty minutes ago.

9:37 p.m. Close up shop.

9:58 p.m. Venture out to Orlando. Gorge on bulgogi tacos from Tako Cheena.

11:35 p.m. Nod off in the drive home. My co-barista drives with music blaring.

12:00 p.m. Climb into bed. Dream about coffee…

3:00 a.m. DidIlockthedooratPalate??