Stella Blue Coffee | Win A Game Day Experience With Big CatLEARN MORE

Advertisement

Baristas Suffering Severe Injuries From Pouring Milk And Making Coffee

Screen Shot 2014-05-06 at 1.23.03 PM

NY Post – You’ve heard of tennis elbow — but barista elbow? As the demand for specialty coffee drinks continues to grow — in the United States alone, it’s a $30-billion-a-year business — java slingers are suffering severe injuries. “I grabbed a gallon full of milk and felt a sharp pain in my left wrist,” says Samantha Lino, 23, a former Starbucks barista. “I struggled not to drop it.” That was last June. The pain kept Lino up all through the night, and the next day she couldn’t move her arm. She went to the doctor right away. “She said it was medial epicondylitis” — golfer’s elbow, caused in this case by the repetitive stress of lifting heavy pitchers of milk and making multi-step drinks in complicated machines. “I’ve seen all kinds of barista injuries,” says Phaeleau Cunneen, a certified hand specialist at SPEAR Physical Therapy in Manhattan. “It’s very common, and usually chronic.” The motions involved in making and serving coffee are far more dangerous than the average person knows, Cunneen says. To make an espresso, for example, “you have to stamp the espresso, push it into the machine, then turn the knob — and the person running the machine is probably making 100-300 cups a day, maybe more.” Even shuffling things behind the counter can cause debilitating injuries. “Lifting all those milk gallons — the elbows are taking a big strain,” he says. Alex Bernson, a barista advocate who worked in high-end city cafés for the past two years, conducted an informal survey for the coffee-centric site Sprudge. Of the 475 baristas who responded, 55 percent said they had sustained repetitive stress injuries. “I know someone with a fused vertebrae from constantly looking down at the machine,” says Bernson, who himself sustained an RSI in his shoulder. Six months later, Lino’s left arm is still in a sling and she takes up to 12 Motrin a day. She’s afraid she’ll need surgery that she won’t be able to afford. Her doctor did give her one piece of advice, which she took: Quit. “She basically said, ‘You shouldn’t be doing this anyway — it’s a s—ty job.’?”

I know most people out there are gonna see this and roll their eyes. “Fuckin baristas. Give me a break.” Well not me. No sir. Blog life takes its toll like you wouldn’t imagine. Maybe not from heavy lifting or stressful movements, but in so many other ways. First off all I’ll be blind in about 6 months. I’m looking at a screen – either computer, phone or TV – about 17 hours a day. One day blood is just gonna poor from my eyes and then fade to black. The physical toll it takes to be this inactive is remarkable. Don’t miss a game, don’t miss a TV show, don’t miss an awards show, don’t miss anything. And make sure you’re constantly sitting on a couch with a computer to talk about it. Don’t go outside and do anything other than blog, ever.  The emotional distress from the constant hate and judgment can’t be quantified but I’d have to imagine I’ve lost a couple years off my life in that department. And if there’s any truth to the rumors about laptops and sperm counts and all that jazz, forget about it. More or less I’m gonna be a blind, out of shape, depressed impotent computer addict. So maybe baristas have the worst job in America lifting those gallons of milk, but believe me – bloggers ain’t far behind.