TRAVELING BARISTA

The Traveling Barista is all about coffee from everything to brewing it, working at a coffee shop, and visiting cafes around the world!

Recent Posts

  • Travel: New Orleans Birthday Weekend
    It’s been a while since I have posted any travel blogs.  I will be working on my Sicily one soon (so many photos to sort through), but in the mean time, here is my latest New Orleans trip from this past weekend. This was my 4th trip to NOLA.  With one of my best friends, Natalie, living in this wonderful city, I am lucky enough to get to see it as a local would.  The last time I visited was 3 years ago and I had stayed for almost an entire month.  If you read that post, things were a [Read more...]
  • Traveling Barista Picks: Coffee Shop Playlist
    Let’s face it, being a barista is sometimes a gruesome job.  We romanticize it, and how it allows us to pursue our dreams, and connect with people.  While that is all true, there is also the downside.  We’re often underpaid, overworked, and take crap from everyone. The particular coffee shop I currently work in is definitely the busiest one I’ve experienced.  We’re never staffed properly and while I’m making drinks, a crowd of millennials are either glaring at me [Read more...]
  • Coffee Shop Etiquette 101
    There are some things you should never do in a coffee shop. You may think your behavior is totally normal, but you might be royally pissing off your barista. Who cares, you say? Well, not only will your baristas secretly dread seeing you, you may actually be slowing down the pace of the cafe for other patrons. So many people (most of them good people) are guilty of such bad etiquette that I thought I'd list some items here for all to see. [Read more...]
  • Local Isn't Always Better — at least not to their employees
    One of the biggest problems with bad bosses is they don’t know they’re a bad boss. I was excited to work for a local small business in Nashville. I thought this was my chance to learn “real” coffee and make latte art; to work for a place that didn’t use processed foods and artificial sweeteners. I wanted to be part of the community and grow with a business. At the time, I didn’t have any intention of being a manager. I was still heavily involved in digital marketing work, and just wanted to be [Read more...]
  • Traveling Barista Sandy Lo Catches Up with Former Customer, Country Crooner Aaron Parker
    It’s been a while since I worked at the Starbucks on 21st Avenue in Nashville.  In the 2 years that I was a barista at the extremely busy location, I formed many bonds with other partners and customers.  From drag queens to photographers, to big name celebrities, to plenty of singer/songwriters just trying to get a hit song in the small, but busy city–I served them all and had great conversations. Many of those conversations were with Southern Alabama boy, Aaron Parker.  With [Read more...]
  • Back in the Barista Swing
    Find out about my transition from commercialized barista to local cafe manager! [Read more...]
  • Travel Tuesday: Childhood Fantasies
    Today, I'm highlighting a photo from my first (and hopefully not my last) trip to L.A. [Read more...]
  • Traveling Barista Picks: Top 10 Coffee Shops in the U.S.
    It’s no secret that I travel a lot.  Hello, it’s kind of in my name!  Usually, I spend 6 months to a year in one place, but the last part of 2014, I was practically in a new city every week!  It was exciting, freeing, exhausting, and I’m glad I did it. In fact, for the first time in 5 years, I was NOT a barista.  I was just a traveling coffee taster?  Yeah, that’s what I’ll call it.  Anyway, upon my arrival back to New York (my home state), I decided being a [Read more...]
  • Home For The Holidays
    Back in old New York with family, old friends, and the return of the Traveling Barista? [Read more...]
  • Travel Blog: Nostalgic in Nashville
    Unlike many of my travel destinations, Nashville was familiar and welcomed me back lovingly. After living there for a couple of years, and also being away for almost as long, I wasn't sure if that feeling of home would still be there. Would my friends still be around? Will the vibe be the same? And the question remains: will I once again call Music City home? [Read more...]
  • Thanksgiving in Memphis
    My spirits were lifted in Elvis' homeland.  I spent Thanksgiving with my second family and felt truly grateful for great friends and travel opportunities.  Read on for photos and my trip... [Read more...]
  • Non-Productive in NOLA
    My month in New Orleans was somehow a mix of friends, family, fun, stress and depression.  Could it be the city of the dead bringing me down or my search for home? [Read more...]
  • Lonely in Vegas
    Some places you just don't want to be alone in... and sometimes, you just need a loved one by your side.  Vegas is one of those places...and by the end of October, I was definitely missing familiar faces. [Read more...]
  • The Broken Home of Corporate Coffee
    It’s been almost 2 months since I have stopped being a barista. Part of me jumps for joy at all of the mental and physical freedom I have. Another part of me feels homeless. Not just because technically, while traveling cross-country, I am without a home. I walk into a Starbucks, and I feel like an outsider. Like someone who had a family, a dysfunctional one, of course, but still a family nonetheless. This family understood things other people didn’t. And though I still get the [Read more...]
  • Travel Blog: Sandy Lo Goes Hollywood
    L.A. stole my heart! Beach, long hikes up mountains, client lunches and more... Read on for photos & details! [Read more...]
  • Travel Blog: Breezing Through San Francisco
    San Francisco was such a blur! I only stayed there for two days which definitely didn’t feel long enough. I arrived at 8am and my AirBnB wouldn’t be ready, even for me to drop my bags off until 12:30, I found out. After an overnight bus ride, I was pretty out of it and desperate for 3 things: bathroom, coffee, and I stumbled into Red’s Java Café, which sounded like a place to get coffee. (The java and café in its title led me to that assumption…you know what happens when you assume…) This place [Read more...]
  • Travel Blog: Rejuvenating in Ashland, Oregon
    In Medford/Ashland, Oregon, I visited with friends and focused on writing my new novel, "Decaf For The Dead". [Read more...]
  • Step Back Into Classic Literature in Ashland, Oregon's Shakespeare Festival
    Lost art forms and the classics live on in Ashland, Oregon. Check out Half Full's review of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival! [Read more...]
  • Travel Blog: Pondering In Portland
    Unlike my past two travel blog posts, I won’t give you a day by day rundown.  This blog post would be way too long.  Instead, I’m going to give you the highlights. The Airbnb I booked was the one I looked forward to most out of all the other cities.  I stayed at a “garden studio” in the Hawthorne District.  Basically what that means is an oasis that was cozy and rustic in the backyard of a couple’s house.  Joelle and James were my hosts, though I didn’t get [Read more...]
  • Travel Blog: Vancouver Brought Me Closer To Nature
    My trip to Vancouver with photos.       Here all about my trip to Vancouver and see photos. [Read more...]
  • Coffee Review: Anna Maria Island, Florida
    While I worked in Bradenton, I lived on Anna Maria Island. On my days off, especially Sundays, I wanted a café to sit, relax, write or read in, without having to go off the island. Well, that leaves me 2 whole options for coffee shops! I will tell you about both. [Read more...]
  • Sleepy In Seattle
    New blog post with photos of my trip to Seattle. [Read more...]
  • Every Goodbye Turns Into A Million Hellos
    Goodbye Starbucks!  Goodbye Florida!  Goodbye Friends!  Hello World! [Read more...]
  • Traveling Barista: Cutting The Apron Strings
    Well, last week was it -- my final week as a barista. After 9 years, I thought I'd feel more sentimental. I figured I'd cry. As I blended frappuccinos on my last day, I reminded myself that I would never do that again. You know what? That made me happy. I guess I'm sad I'm not sad. Does that make sense? How can I turn away from something that's been a part of my life for so long and not shed a tear? [Read more...]
  • Sometimes You Want To Go Where Everybody Knows Your Name
    Traveling Barista, Sandy Lo discusses why she will always be drawn to coffee shops. [Read more...]
  • 5 Things Being A Barista Taught Me
    I've been too negative lately. As my time as a barista is coming to an end, I decided to focus on all the things I have learned from it. [Read more...]
  • 10 Things That Miff Your Barista (Correction: Your Vegan Barista)
    I’ve seen plenty of lists of things that annoy baristas on sites like Buzzfeed.com.  Most of them consist of complicated orders.  For me, I could care less how complicated your order is.  Baristas are guilty of the most complicated of orders.  It’s all in how you order.  It’s also in how much sense your drink actually makes! My list doesn’t piss off all baristas, I’m sure, or even most of them.  These things really just upset me, the eco-friendly, on a health kick, [Read more...]
  • The Bittersweet Barista Life
    Traveling Barista, Sandy Lo talks customer relationships, having fun in the work place, and her biggest travel adventure yet. [Read more...]
  • Catching Up…and catching my breath…
    Sandy Lo talks Florida living, her next travel adventures, finishing up her new novel, "Indigo Waters" and more in new blog post. [Read more...]
  • 5 WTH Barista Moments
    Let’s face it, when you work with the public — you see a ton of crap.  Sometimes it’s good crap, sometimes bad, and sometimes, you think, “What the hell just happened?” All walks of life love coffee, it seems, or at least, they pretend to.  Don’t fool yourself into thinking your extra caramel, extra whip latte or frappuccino/frappe/coolatta means you’re a coffee drinker.  You’re a simple sugar-fiend, and you will crash and burn within a couple of [Read more...]
  • No More Miss Nice Barista!
    8 years…8 long years of working with customers and co-workers, most of whom I loved, some who I dreaded dealing with…  Working with the consumer public and co-workers in a confined space for so many hours a week, for so many years takes its toll on even the most patient of people. I was always told I had a ton of patience and I was the nicest person.  Most people still think I am exactly that way.  Don’t get me wrong, I am still that person, but lately, the girl who always [Read more...]
  • A Barista’s Top 10 Customer Crushes
    The Traveling Barista, Sandy Lo, gives a Top 10 list of her customer crushes, which include the supernatural, a criminal to celebrities! [Read more...]
  • Traveling Barista: How It All Began
    Health insurance was what lead me to the unnamed coffee giant.  I was in my early twenties working as an office manager of a mechanic shop–which highly stressed me out with all the men screaming at each other, and sometimes me, for no good reason.  I developed chronic hives that brought on other autoimmune problems.  I believe it was partly stress from the job and partly too much dairy, sugar and processed foods that brought this on. Anyway, I was worried about my health and if I had to [Read more...]
  • Meet the Traveling Barista!
    I mostly publicize my career in terms of my novels (available on Amazon, B&N, iBooks), shameless self-plugging is much needed as an indie author.  I am also not ashamed to spout out my love for all things John Travolta, Backstreet Boys, and Jared Leto either.  And I’ve always been quick to post a link to my Twitter on a new review I’ve written, celebrity I interviewed, or new music artist I am working with. However, I’m careful when it comes to talking about that other [Read more...]
  • Everyone Should Find Their Own Paradise
    Sandy Lo's words of motivation for anyone looking to change their life, achieve something and bring more happiness to themselves. [Read more...]
  • The Boondocks: From Staten Island to Nashville
    Being a born and raised New York City girl, country music wasn’t a consistency in my life. Music was, though. I grew up in the South Beach projects in Staten Island, and though it wasn’t the best neighborhood, it was my home. I can’t change that and I’m never ashamed to say where I came from. I wouldn’t be who I am today without my past. I’ve always been told, even as a child, I remain true to myself. While kids in my neighborhood used bad language, I never did. It was never who I was. When a [Read more...]
  • Look Out Music City…
    Hey Everyone! So if you follow me on Twitter/Facebook, I’m sure you’ve noticed I’ve been talking an awful lot about honky tonks and Southern living…Well, that’s because as of August 2, 2011 I will officially be a resident of Nashville, Tennessee!  This move of mine has been planned officially for over a year, but I’ve thought about it for a while before that.  Most people ask me why would I want to move away from New York… To put it simply: I’m [Read more...]