How Much Is Appropriate To Tip On Coffee?

Drip or latte? Local or Starbucks? What to know before getting your next caffeine fix.

<p>Getty Images/Maskot</p>

Getty Images/Maskot

These days, there’s many more options to consider when ordering coffee than just a plain cup of black coffee with self-serve cream and sugar, though we’ll always appreciate the country diners and convenience stores that still operate that way. You can stop in your favorite local spot for a classic drip, enjoy the seasonal lattes at Starbucks, or visit any other local café or national chain for your caffeine fix. No matter where you’re getting your coffee or how complicated your order, there is always the matter of tipping, and people tend to have very divisive opinions about it. Unlike the more widely accepted tipping etiquette at restaurants and nail salons, how much to tip at the coffee shop is not considered quite as universally clear-cut. Luckily, we’re here to help before your next coffee run.

Here’s how much to tip a barista, things to consider when tipping on coffee, and other etiquette-minded coffee shop guidelines.

<p>Getty Images/Maskot</p>

Getty Images/Maskot

Should You Tip Your Barista?

The short answer is yes. Whenever you are purchasing a coffee drink that a barista is preparing for you, it’s customary to tip just as you traditionally would in other food-and-beverage establishments, no matter if you're being served at a table or waiting in line for to-go. However, drip coffee tends to spur more divisive opinions.

Are You Supposed To Tip On Drip Coffee?

Still, yes. While some might argue that the barista isn’t spending much time retrieving the already-brewed coffee, there is work and time put in to brew the drip coffee throughout the day. Whether or not baristas expect a tip on drip coffee (and many do not), it’s always appreciated and encouraged.

How Much Should You Tip?

Again, similarly to other service industry businesses, around 15 to 20 percent should be considered the standard for tipping on coffee, particularly when ordering specialty coffees such as lattes, cold brews, and cappuccinos. On drip coffee, it’s considered courteous to still tip around $1 at least. Nowadays, most coffee shops will automatically provide an option to tip various percentages when you’re paying, making it easy to calculate a proper amount on your coffee.

Starbucks Vs. Local

If you’re wondering how much you should tip at Starbucks, follow the same rule of thumb. Around 15 to 20 percent is still customary, as the employees are often making around the same hourly amount as other coffee shops. If you’re interested more in supporting local businesses, choose your caffeine hub accordingly, and feel free to tip extra if desired.

Coffee Tipping Etiquette

When choosing to be a patron at any establishment, it’s important to arrive with your manners in mind. Often, lines at coffee shops can be long during peak hours, and tensions can run high when people are worried about being late or keeping on schedule. However, it’s important to remember to always be polite to baristas as they take and complete orders. Communicate any complaints about an incorrect order in an intentional, considerate way. And as always, remember to tip!

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