Snark’s Labor Lost: The Bitter Barista, Unmasked
Update (2/13/2013): If you’ve followed a link to this feature, please consult our latest post on the matter. To view a cavalcade of violent threats and unfortunate punctuation, check out this compendium of hate mail.
The Bitter Barista blog has hit the internet in a big way in recent days, leading to all manner of attention, retweets, Facebook posts and what-have-you from the online specialty coffee community. This blog exercises the trope of the cigarette smoking, jaded, ironic service industry Twitter user, but it does so in highly offensive and shocking ways. To the Bitter Barista, your milk substitution choices are Hilter-esque, your requests for flavoring akin to puppy rape.
There’s a lot of anger in this blog, and while we love the well-worn barista cliche, it should be the stuff of mild parody, not an all-out assault on whomever walks through the door of your cafe. Blog work like this probably shouldn’t be encouraged, which is why blogs like Bitter Barista (and that recent XO Jane article, and all that Village Voice tripe) need to be shown the cold light of day. Workplace frustrations are fine, but they should be vented over margaritas after work, not on your Twitter account mid-shift.
Who is Bitter Barista? Where does Bitter Barista work? Is his cafe really that terrible? Are his customers really that awful? We uncovered the answers and the answers are shocking.
Sprudge.com can confirm that the Bitter Barista is Matt “Spek” Watson, also known as Spekulation, a Seattle-based hip hop artist and barista at All City Coffee in the Georgetown neighborhood of Seattle, serving coffee roasted by Caffe Vita.
Are his tweets/Facebook status updates/and simultaneous blog entries nonfiction? Are they meant to be satire? Or does this guy actually despise the industry he represents from behind the counter? All City Coffee is a respectable Georgetown institution, garnering a solid four star rating (out of 83 reviews) on Yelp.com.
Warning to anyone ordering modifications or milk alternatives at this cafe: you might not get what you asked for and you will be judged severely.
“You can say “2% milk” all damn day. You’re getting whole milk.”
“If you’ve ever ordered an americano with steamed soy milk, you’re pretty much on par with Hitler in my book.”
“Every time someone orders an extra-hot-no-fo
am latte, an angel rapes a puppy.”
As you can see, Mr. Watson’s zingers are of the Spencer’s Gifts t-shirt variety. He’s like some kind of fusion of Daria Morgendorfer, Dylan Klebold, and that poor bastard behind the bar at Central Perk.
Here’s some more quotables from Bitter Barista:
“Someone just said I should be ‘ashamed’ that my boss raised prices. If I had any shame I wouldn’t be working this f*cking job.”
“My boss watches the cameras at the cafe. But he’d save time if he just followed my twitter to see that I’m not working.”
“What my boss doesn’t understand is that, while my attitude makes for some terrible customer service, it makes for some great internet.”
Matt Watson plans on turning Bitter Barista into a coffee table book, which will fit in nicely with Things I Want To Punch In The Face By Jennifer Worick, F*ck! I’m In My Twenties By Emma Koenig, and I Hate Everyone By Matthew Dibenedetti, all available in the clearance bin at Urban Outfitters.
Welcome to 2013, where snark sells, worn out cliches are viral gold, and everyone gets a book deal.
Kiro TV confirms that Matt Watson is no longer employed at All City Coffee. To clear the air, our investigation in discovering the identity of Bitter Barista took two steps:
On January 30, Mr. Watson tweeted about BitterBarista and his place of employment in two individual tweets from his personal Twitter account:
Sprudge.com called All City Coffee to confirm Mr. Watson’s employment while researching this feature and spoke directly to Mr. Watson, and Mr. Watson only. At no point has Sprudge.com been in contact with All City Coffee’s management or ownership. The decision to terminate Mr. Watson’s position was the decision of the employer.
Due to an unusually high number of death threats, we are now requiring valid e-mail addresses on all comments.