There are many great reasons to be a barista. First off, being a barista offers plenty of incredible benefits including good pay, a flexible schedule, and the opportunity to be creative, passionate, and social in your job.
Our aim here at Barista Training Academy is provide you with the knowledge, skills, and expertise to be the best barista you can be. We will continue to develop and publish relevant information that first-time baristas need to know.
For this online barista training course we have talked to an experienced barista in one of the local coffee shops we've been in contact with, who kindly agreed to answer a few of our questions about how to get a barista job.
He also gave a few useful tips and insights for new and aspiring baristas. Here are some of them:
- The customers might leave your coffee shop with a bad impression even without ordering a drink. This will dramatically reduce your long-term business for your coffee shop.
- Coffee lovers can get a good impression about the coffee from how the barista conducts himself or herself, and how his or her espresso machine is maintained. Therefore, it is important that you take the time to care for your espresso machine. Additionally, you want to always conduct yourself in a professional, but friendly manner.
- Unfortunately, you can't always help what equipment you work with. As a barista you are often beholden to what the owner or manager decides the equipment should be. However, with that being said, I don’t suggest working in a coffee shop that has only a super automatic coffee machine. These espresso machines grind and extract espresso internally with the push of a button. While this might save you time, it gives you less room for adjusting and dialing-in your brew. In other words it takes the artistic and perhaps, culinary expertise and nuances that strives for the perfect cup, out of your hands.
- There are many variables that impact the taste of the coffee you serve. Exposing coffee to air for example is a negative action that will impact taste. It is strongly recommended therefore, to never leave a full doser of coffee grounds if you work with this particular type of grinder. It won’t save you any time, in the end you’ll get off-gassed thin coffee drink with no body and aroma.
- Space is a valuable commodity in many smaller coffee business. With that said, it's important to organize the equipment you need in a manner that is safe, efficient, and which does not undermine your objective: to create great tasting coffee. Therefore, it’s a bad idea to place your coffee grinder close to the steam wand of your espresso machine. When you steam your milk the steam will go off in the air and get absorbed by the coffee beans in the hopper. It’ll be even worse if you keep ground coffee in a doser. Many young people who get a job as a barista forget that coffee absorbs everything – from humidity to odors. So only grind what you need per drink order.
- Following the previous point a barista should always be neat, clean, and well groomed. It's a good idea not to overload on the usage of perfume or cologne. The coffee you work with can absorb nearby scents.
- To add to the following point, being a barista requires attentiveness to details and perfect hygiene. Purge and clean the tip of the steam wand every time after you steam your milk. Yellowish build-up on the steam wand is a bad sign for any customer.
- Dry your portafilter after cleaning and washing. And keep your milk pitchers clean, don’t let any milk build-up in them.
- Always use fresh milk from the fridge for preparing your espresso based beverages. It takes some time to learn how to steam your milk, but try to learn how to figure out the point when you move from aerating phase to incorporating phase in milk steaming. If you introduce too much air you’ll get too much foam and very hot milk.
- Being a barista means being efficient. Organize your workflow so that you can quickly prepare your drinks. If it takes you 5-10 minutes to brew a coffee – it’s not a coffee anymore.
- Serving bubbly water with your espresso is a nice practice. I noticed that it’s better to serve some water with an espresso, even if a customer doesn’t ask for it. It shows that you are considerate and competent.
Feeling overwhelmed? Don't worry! We don't mean to scare you. There are a few things that you should know, but as you continue with your coffee education, some things will seem more obvious then the next. In time, many of these “rules” will become second nature. Hang in there. We'll get you started.
Barista Training Academy is your premiere online barista training resource for learning how to be a barista, how to land a job as barista, and all the aspects of starting your career in retail coffee. For more information visit our blog.