Rather than adding to the discussion concerning technique, I would like to add one general comment:
Never sacrifice quality for speed.
Specialty coffee is, indeed, special. By nature, specialty espresso beverages take longer time to construct than McCafe drinks. Explain this to your customers, and encourage them in conversation. You have a great opportunity to influence someone's day; seize it! Have fun with your rushes!
Then again the person who just ordered the 16oz latte in question probably doesn't give a rats ass about the craft and skill and wanting to make every moment count.
They probably just want their drink.
So we, as people in the service industry, should probably try to get that drink to them before we piss them off. Like I said, if it's a small beverage I'm not setting the pitcher down because there is no advantage. But it isn't going to be the culinary art highlight of the day for most people. BR>