Last Updated on January 1, 2021 by Nick Baskett
So you love everything about coffee, and you’re wondering how to become a Barista. Read on for everything you need to know to determine if the job is for you.
You’re Just Starting Out
If you’ve never worked in a coffee shop before, then the first thing you should know is that loving coffee at home, or enjoying a coffee shop environment as a customer is very different from working at one. If you have some experience in a retail environment, especially with some customer service angle, this will help.
Coffee shops by their nature are usually busy places and during the rush hour times, it can get hectic, so you need to be able to work under pressure and deal with customers with a smile even when inside you’re freaking out.
You might be aspiring to be the next World Latte Art champion, but everyone has to start their journey out with humble roots. There’s nothing wrong with applying to your local big chain company like Starbucks to see if working in this environment is something you’ll enjoy. On the other hand, if there is a smaller speciality coffee shop near you, then reach out to the manager there and ask for a chat.
Companies need to know that you’re going to make lattes and specialist coffees that not just look terrific but taste as good as they look. No simple job! That’s why, to succeed as a Barista, you must be detail-oriented as well as be dedicated to making the best cup of coffee for each consumer.
To get into specialised coffee, and if you’re based in the US, you can to go with strenuous training. With a qualification from the Barista Guild of America, you can expect to land a job quicker and also expect higher pay. A 2014 research study by the SCAA found that Barista Guild grads have the potential to gain $200,000 more than uncertified baristas over their occupation life-span.
General Skills Required to be a Barista
Having a pleasant outlook
Every Barista needs to handle customers – particularly irritable ones who have not had their caffeine yet. A great smile will certainly go a long way in this job and also will likewise enhance the chances of getting repeat business.
Versatile as well as trustworthy
Most baristas need to work long shifts, regularly on weekends. Before you apply, ensure you are prepared to work late and also turn up early.
As a Barista, you will need to work with as well as interact with the team and also customers. People skills are a must.
Study Coffee Making fundamentals
There’s no requirement to enrol in a costly course to find out exactly how to use an espresso machine. With YouTube, the world of barista education and learning is now at your fingertips. Find out how to make pull a perfectly balanced espresso from World Barista Champion – James Hoffman and discover the secrets of awe-inspiring latte art without spending a fortune on milk (hint – use washing up liquid and water).
Practice Making Coffee at home
You know what they say, perfect practice makes perfect. If you have an espresso maker at home, fantastic, otherwise you can pick one up on eBay. Make sure you read the reviews and get one with the best steamer wand you can afford, as this is often what new Barista’s struggle with first. There’s some great reviews from Whole Latte Love on home espresso machines.
Reading the History of Coffee
There are some great books available where you can learn where coffee comes from and what makes the difference between different beans and brewing methods. Here’s one we recommend by the co-founder of Square Mile coffee roasters in London. The World Atlas of Coffee
Get Your First Barista Job Where They Train
An aspiring barista should do their best to seek out a shop that will invest in training you with the most relevant skills: working with a commercial espresso machine, interacting with a high volume of customers, and of course, learning about latte art.
Once you’ve got the basic skills under your belt and you’re sure you’re comfortable dealing with the public under pressure, then you can look for a job further up the chain, perhaps in a more specialist shop where you can learn more about single-origin beans, and new extraction and brewing methods.
If you have a passion for coffee, this can be an amazing and rewarding career that has a suprising amount of depth that will keep you interested and learning for many years to come.