Grammar Guy

Order in the coffee shop


I love listening to other people’s coffee shop orders. It seems there is no limit to human creativity when it comes to curating the best bespoke beverage. With so many milk choices, coffee combinations and sweetener options, the possibilities are endless. And, as long as I get that caffeine in me, it’s all good.

Have you noticed what people say before they list their litany of whipped whimsies? Increasingly, I hear these coffee connoisseurs begin with, “I’ll do …”

No, I didn’t say “I do.” Although, if they love their six-dollar coffees so much, they might as well marry them, am I right? I wouldn’t know — I’m more of a chai guy.

That’s right — people start their orders with “I’ll do.” “I’ll do a 16-ounce flat white with whip.” “I’ll do a medium lavender macchiato with oat milk.” “I’ll do a triple-shot mini espresso frappe sprinkled with non-dairy pumpkin unicorn dust — light foam.”

What does “I’ll do” mean? The baristas make the drinks. The customers pay for the drinks. They’re not doing anything except swiping their cards and pretending to tip well on the second screen. You’re not fooling anyone, by the way; rounding up twelve cents doesn’t really count as a tip.

There are several ways to start an order that make more sense. “I’ll have a,” “I’d like a,” “May I please have a” or “Whip me up a” are perfectly fine alternatives. “I’ll do a” really grates my grounds.

If you pay attention, you’ll notice people ordering at restaurants this way as well. I think it’s obligatory for every, “I’ll just do the chicken tenders with a side of ranch,” the waiter will come by at some point in the meal to quip, “You still working on those?” Eating is not work, and you can not “do” a food. “Yes, waiter, I’d like to shove the entire basket of chicken tenders in my face” is a better way to order (in my opinion).

I’m afraid the “I’ll do” train has already left the station; however, I think baristas should have an “I’ll do” jar next to the register. Every time someone begins his order with “I’ll do,” they have to put a dollar in the jar. That would solve the non-tipping situation. Until then, I’ll do another column on the unraveling downward spiral of American English. Wow, that got negative at the end … my apologies, I haven’t had my caffeine yet this morning.


Curtis Honeycutt is a syndicated humor columnist. He is the author of Good Grammar is the Life of the Party: Tips for a Wildly Successful Life. Find more at