If you are a personable and vivacious individual who takes pride in customer service and enjoys interacting with people throughout the day, then a career as a barista in a coffee shop could be ideal for you. However, what kind of training is required, and how do you secure such a position?
It’s important to be realistic, particularly if you have no previous experience in barista work. To start with you will be learning how to do everything and won’t be allowed to use the equipment or serve customers until you can do so professionally and safely.
You can’t expect to be making and serving coffee on day one, you will need to train, learn what to expect and how everything works behind the scenes, helping out with washing up, clearing the tables, and other essentials first.
You might move on to working on the tills and taking customer orders, so you can learn the pricing and the different types of drinks, first, and to demonstrate your key customer service skills up front as well.
It’s at this stage that you will start to pick up the names of the drinks, what’s in them, and some of the jargon that people commonly use when ordering coffee, and behind the counter among the staff as well.
Some of the key skills a barista needs to learn, before thinking about making a drink for a customer are:
- How to grind the coffee beans for the current baristas so they don’t run out
- Serving drinks to customers at the till or the table
- Keeping the machines cleaned regularly
- Keeping an eye on all stock levels including milk and other essentials
Once you have mastered the basics and proven you can support the baristas, then the first job to learn is how to use a commercial coffee machine, generally an espresso machine to start with, and your employer needs to train you in this safely and allow you time to practice.
After this basic process has been learned, you will need to start to learn some of the other skills required such as how to steam the milk and how to create all of the different types of drinks including mochas and lattes.
You might want to ask your manager about undertaking professional barista qualifications once you are trained so that you can add these to your CV when looking to move on or to get a higher level job supervising other baristas-in-training in due course.
Other things you can do to get more experience and have fun at the same time, include entering professional barista competitions, or maybe set up a fun one yourself which could see local coffee shops competing and raising money for charity at the same time?
You can also compete within your workplace with other staff members, to see who can produce the most impressive coffee art and maybe offer tasting sessions for coffee connoisseurs to drop in and try all the different brews.
There are many fun ways to gain more experience to add to your barista skills and it’s important to keep up with industry news and trends, to show your employer how on the ball you are. Sign up to key industry blogs or newsletters and stay on top of your game.
The other thing to remember is that this is a skill which you can use to travel the world, much like being a skilled barperson, so once you have mastered all of your barista training, you could use it to fund your travels, or studies, or whatever you want to do.
It may be that you are learning the skills so that you can set up your own coffee shop one day as a new career option, or it might just be a part-time job while you save up and study at university. Becoming a barista can open all sorts of doors.
It’s a great career on its own, or if you want to train in customer service or sales, it’s a really good one to have on your CV as you will have been used to working in a fast-paced and busy environment dealing with lots of demanding people.
Becoming a barista takes patience and training and there is a lot more to it than just making a good cup of coffee. It requires skills in customer service, sales, health and safety, stock control, and many more to become a really good all-around barista.
But once you have mastered all the training it’s a job that can take you around the world and leapfrog you into other careers in sales and customer service. So with the right training, dedication and practice, patience and perseverance, as well as the qualifications, you can become a barista in no time and the world will be yours for the taking.