Today, I went to a new coffee spot in town. Actually, it was a new branch of an already established chain here in Baltimore. They don't necessarily specialize in coffee, although they do employ Counter Culture-trained baristas. One of these baristas recognized me from his stint at another satellite location. He turned to me and said, "Hey, I recognize this guy."
After standing at the register for a while, he introduced me to the new doserless Mazzer he now had at his disposal. It was definitely introduction-worthy, but it felt like I was being presented with this man's best friend (which would probably be true of me if I were in his situation). I felt compelled to say hello and mention my name to this piece of machinery.
Thankfully, I instead chose to pay for my espresso and down it at the counter. Then, the barista turned towards me and gave me this very strange puppy-dog expression as if to seek my approval. It was a pleasing shot of Counter Culture's Toscano (which I always think is either too mild and sour or burnt tasting), so I gave him the nod he was looking for.
While I definitely think that I know more about espresso than the average coffee drinker (most on here do), I've never been in a situation where a barista has sought to gain my endorsement. After all, my knowledge of espresso is based on thousands of attempts at making it pleasing to my palette. Moreover, I tend to prefer espresso slightly on the fruit/citrus side of things. This isn't exactly a crowd-pleasing preference. I guess things are slightly different when you work in the service industry.