Ever wonder what your barista is thinking when you’re putting in special requests for that morning wake-up call? “Make sure you use 2 percent milk in my coffee,” or ”Leave some room on the top for cream and sugar.”
Matt Watson, 30, had plenty of similar demands in his 2.5 years serving caffeinated drinks at All City Coffee in Seattle, Wash., until he was fired.
Watson recently started a website called Bitter Barista that posts all of his tweets of satirical content regarding customers. With tweets like, “When I ask, “for here or to go?” I’m only curious what kind of cup you want…Not what your plans for the day are.” Or, “Yes, coffee is expensive. But you’re more than welcome to go to Ethiopia and get it yourself.”
Some of Watson’s tweets mentioned his boss including this one: “When I tweet, I like to use big words, so if my boss ever finds my Twitter account he won’t understand any of it.”
“The website blew up the first week and made rounds on the coffee circuit,” said Watson. “I always kept it anonymous, not to get my boss or the company in trouble.”
But it only remained anonymous until a website called Sprudge.com, that covers coffee news, events, rumors and innuendos, did a little investigating and wrote an article revealing Watson’s identity, where he worked and linked to the coffee shop’s Yelp page.
“I thought Sprudge would like my work, but I guess they didn’t,” said Watson. “They said only some satirical work is acceptable and they linked their own website.”
In unmasking Watson, Sprudge.com wrote, “There’s a lot of anger in this blog… it should be the stuff of mild parody, not an all-out assault on whomever walks through the door of your cafe.”
Sprudge editor Jordan Michelman said he noticed some of the website’s followers on social media were mentioning Watson’s tweets and that they portrayed baristas in a negative light.
As soon as Watson read the article, he sent an email to his boss, Seth Levy saying, “Hey man, I’m guessing … you’re not too excited about the Internet happenings today … The very few customers … who have seen the website, are huge fans. And since the article was posted this afternoon, the ‘likes’ on my site have gone up 15 percent. This isn’t bad press, it’s actually really good press … especially given your customer base and the type of neighborhood that Georgetown has become … I’m just saying … it could turn out to be a fun something that gives the place a little spike in publicity.”
Watson said his boss never replied to the email, but he expected what was coming next.
“I got a call from the manager. They said, ‘The owner doesn’t find it funny, he felt personally attacked, he’s getting a lot of pressure from his business partners,’ and I said yeah I get it and that was it,” said Watson.
He said he backs his boss’s decision and he understands he was put in a tough position.
Watson said 90 percent of the content he posted never actually happened. He says it was just a fun way to vent after spending nearly a decade as a barista at various coffee houses. He said he loves his customers and many of them were angry he was fired.
Now that he has some free time, Watson said he’ll focus on a career as an aspiring hip-hop artist with the name Spekulation.
Calls to All City Coffee were not returned.