Add this to the reasons your Starbucks barista secretly hates you: barista elbow. Apparently, making complicated lattes and other coffee drinks is more than just annoying (what's so bad about regular coffee?); it also can be bad for your health.
An increasing number of coffee shop employees are developing elbow, wrist, and other joint problems due to the repetitive stresses such as lifting large gallons of milk and stamping espresso. One of the most common issues is repetitive strain injury.
Recently, the New York Post interviewed a former Starbucks employee who developed "medical epicondylitis" from working as a barista. The 23-year-old had to wear a brace for six months, though the pain from her injury eventually caused her to quit her job altogether.
A certified hand specialist told the paper that she's seen "all kinds of barista injuries," which tend to be chronic in nature.
"The motions involved in making and serving coffee are far more dangerous than the average person knows," the Post writes.
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Dangerous? Sounds a little dramatic though one Australian newspaper reports that Christine Joy D'Amico, 52, won $555,720 US in court for injuries she got while making coffee at Madeleine's Cafe.
Some cafes and coffeehouses have moved to building ergonomically correct bars to help their employees avoid injury but until Starbucks invests in that technology, we'll just make sure to tip a little extra to cover our barista's pain and suffering.