A barista is a person who prepares and serves espresso-based coffee drinks.
The word barista is an Italian word for bartender or someone who works serving drinks behind a counter. A skilled baristas has knowledge of the entire process of coffee preparation, including knowledge of where the coffee beans are grown, coffee plant cultivation, coffee grinding and roasting methods, as well as the art involved in preparing a good cup of coffee. There are a series of steps involved in making each cup of coffee which may include, grinding of the beans, extracting the coffee, frothing the milk and pouring. Knowledge of the commercial coffee machine used to make the coffee is also required. A Barista has a menu of various coffees and might suggest or recommend certain coffees providing more information on the taste and strength and texture of each type. They take customers’ orders and serve what has been ordered. They need to make sure that customer is satisfied and that they have everything they need. Between serving customers, they clear and clean the counters, replenish supplies and set up the service station for future customers. When the customers coffee has been made they serve it, calculate the bill, issue charge slips and receive the payment. Baristas are also required to keep the service area well stocked with enough coffee varieties, fresh milk, cream, sugar, sweeteners and cutlery. The work environment depends on the type of coffee shop whether it be in a restaurant, or a fast paced take-away. The work is physically demanding, as it involves standing for long periods. It may involve working shifts on weekends and holidays. While corporate coffee chains make up the bulk of the coffee business, more and more independent roasting companies and coffee shops are opening due to the high demand for coffee.
- a passion for the food service industry and love of coffee
- enjoy working with people, a ready smile and a positive attitude
- have a pleasant agreeable manner
- be upbeat and always ready to offer service to clients
- good communication skills (especially listening skills)
- able to multi-task by working multiple machines and customer service at the same time
- able to cope under pressure.
How to Enter
Schooling & School Subjects
No specific high school requirements are needed to enter this career, but it is recommended that candidates have a basic knowledge of arithmetic to be able to add up customers’ orders.
What to Study
A barista can acquire coffee making skills by attending training classes, but they are more commonly learned on the job.
- restaurants and cafeterias
- coffee shops
- hotel dining rooms
- private clubs
- bars and cocktail lounges
- self-employment, with enough capital to start own business