The hidden advantage of post-secondary education: society has better baristas than ever

They say that our generation, often dubbed the millenials, is the most educated in history. This is especially true in our society, where the merits of a long and successful education are practically jammed down our throats since birth. And there are definitely advantages to an outrageously over-educated generation.

Your barista may just have the answers for the most pressing issues facing the world today. (Courtesy of Creative Commons)

Your barista may just have the answers for the most pressing issues facing the world today. (Courtesy of Creative Commons)

It’s common knowledge that all the 20-somethings wandering around out there are doing nothing but having extremely sophisticated conversations, and that’s definitely a plus. Parties? Try Plato.

But there’s something even more important about the pursuit of higher education. Sure, youth unemployment may be at a staggering high (unemployment for youth aged 15-24 was at 15.8 per cent in Ontario last year), and many people are struggling on under-paid jobs outside their field that their qualifications dwarf. But our society is graced by the most educated baristas in history.

Think about it. In times past, as you ducked into a quiet coffee shop to escape the big city bustle, it might have been an average joe serving you your cuppa joe. Now, they might have a master’s degree in political science, maybe a couple undergraduate bachelors in global development or sociology.

This is huge. Imagine a diplomat walked into his local Starbucks, craving a latté, and a solution to the ramifications of Netanyahu’s reelection and geopolitical tensions in Israel and Palestine. Well, you’re in luck. The barista can talk fluently about both. That’s service.


In the coming decade, coffee shops could be more than coffee shops – more like the salons of times past. A place where sophisticated minds meet and discuss the issues of the day, and where the staff providing them with caffeine know more about those issues than they do.

The next scientific breakthrough? Probably going to happen at a Second Cup. I bet you didn’t realize the potential of coffee beans to reduce the size of certain cancer tumours. And if that PHD’s research funding had covered basic living expenses and she hadn’t needed to keep a second job, no one would have.

Let the politicians worry about how to improveme employment opportunities for the generation currently carrying society’s future on our back. Graduating students may face dire job prospects, but there is a silver lining to all things, and this is no exception. For now, this paper’s staff will enjoy coffee served by the finest purveyors of the stuff in human history.

This story was first published on The Ryersonian on Wednesday, April 1, 2015.

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