A barista is someone that specializes in making and serving a variety of beverages. They usually work at a coffee shop, bookstore, or in a bar that serves coffee or espresso specialty drinks. In addition, most baristas do more than make great tasting drinks. They also help with inventory, running a cash register, and problem resolution. Many get paid per hour, but often can earn tips in addition to their hourly wage.
How to Become a Barista
There are no educational requirements to become a barista. However, many companies provide extensive on-the-job training and prefer employees to be 18 or older due to the machines used to make drinks. Training may include roasting beans, brewing techniques, steaming milk, or machine sanitation. Many employers may also look for individual qualities such as good listening, verbal communication, attendance, and organization. Though not required, customer service skills can be a plus as well. If interviewing, many employers look for applicants who have flexible schedules and can work mornings, nights, and weekends.
Job Description of a Barista
Baristas have a variety of duties to include preparation of drinks and customer service. They take orders, greet customers, and complete transactions using registers. They may also keep the inventory of pastries and price items sold in the store. Furthermore, many coffee shops have they regulars that baristas often build a rapport with and even remember their drinks.
Baristas prepare both cold and hot beverages using a variety of machines. Machines include blenders, grinders, commercial coffee machines, and steamers. They steam milk, measure ingredients, and grind coffee or espresso beans. In addition, many coffee shops offer small meals or pastries. Therefore, you may be required to food prep, use a toaster, or convection oven as well.
Coffee shops are popular and can get very busy. You must be able to work well under stress and have the ability to multitask. There are often times where you may be running the register and preparing drinks as the same time. Baristas are on their feet for long periods of times and work around hot machines most of the day, therefore one must have good stamina and physical abilities. Barista’s can be required to work any day of the week and times can vary. Many work part-time but a few have secured full-time jobs as a barista.
Free Teacher and Student Resources
- Teachers: The Journey of a Coffee Bean: Teaching About Fair Trade is an elementary student level lesson plan made freely available by Algonquin College.
- The American Heart Association and the Whole Kids Foundation have free School Garden Lesson plans for you to use.
- For anyone interested in how seeds turn to coffee, the National Coffee Association offers the webpage 10 Steps from Seed to Coffee.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Counter Attendants, Cafeteria, Food Concession, and Coffee Shop.
National Center for O*NET Development. 35-3022.01. O*NET OnLine.