Becoming a barista can leave you feeling like a rabbit in the headlights. Where's the best place to start and what's the most favourable route to becoming a coffee king or queen?
Answer us this quickly... Are you a coffee lover and do you love to learn? If the answers are both 'yes', then you need to heed our advice below! With a little bit of passion and a little bit of barista training, you'll find yourself opening up that local coffee shop you've always dreamed of in no time.
Without further delay, here's our 5 top tips on how to become a barista...
What is a barista?
A barista is someone who is skilled, experienced and qualified in espresso-based coffee drinks. Baristas know all about the preparation, extraction and responsibilities of the coffee. This makes them very knowledgeable about not only the coffee bean but also the coffee industry, too.
However, being a barista is not just limited to this succinct definition. Coffee and barista responsibilities also include excellent customer service skills, great understanding of the espresso machine and even latte art. You've got to be an 'all-rounder' to thrive in this role!
How to become a barista
Becoming a barista isn't just about making coffee well. You'll need a few other qualities to get that dream barista job (or little coffee shop). Here are a few ways you can make that dream a reality...
1. Get professional barista training
We know this may sound a little obvious and dull, but it's important to know your stuff. Yes, coffee shops are looking for people with experience, but imagine being someone with both experience and knowledge. It's a double whammy!
So, what's to learn about becoming a barista? Well, there's the coffee, coffee bean, coffee machine, coffee styles and types, milk, techniques, latte art and the general rules of being a barista. But don't think it ends here! There's a whole host of other niche aspects to consider in the barista training program. If you're looking for the answer to the question 'how to become a barista with no experience', then training is your best bet!
Here at European Bartender School, we offer a barista course for 5 days that provides you with all the knowledge needed to become a barista. The course includes barista skills (foundation and intermediate), an introduction to coffee, foundations of brewing and a barista exam at the end of the course. With our high-quality teaching, speciality barista schools and expert instructors, going down this route when choosing to be a barista is a sound idea!
2. Be passionate about coffee
Pretty self-explanatory, really. If you’re going to be working with coffee every day, you have to love it! Just like any job.
Every customer’s request should be considered an opportunity to produce your best version of that coffee yet. If you have the passion, then the quality and effort should come out naturally, making you the top dog of coffee lovers everywhere. But don't just use your passion for this, use it to discover more and more!
Learning about the very product you're working with is how you get better. Learn about the history, culture, trends, the flavours and get yourself in the know. Natural passion is one of the biggest drivers anyone can have when pursuing a career.
3. Be a people person
Customer service skills. This is another way to talk about being a 'people person'. Those in hospitality are used to possessing this valuable skill and have it well developed. For baristas, it's exactly the same!
Baristas work a very social life. Everyday is about meeting customers, new and old, in the coffee shop. To not have these all important customer service skills, is to not have a vital quality of being a barista. So, what sort of stuff are we talking about?
We're talking about being chatty, relatable, responsive and helpful. Nail these and you're well on your way to being a great barista. Plus, 'people people' never get bored. They're always chatting about the new hit thing in the coffee shop and why you should buy it today!
Having this skill will put you in good stead to become a barista with ease!
4. Have an ethical conscience
There's an ethical angle to working with coffee that's often overlooked. The fact of the matter is that a lot of coffee is produced in less-developed countries, whilst those in more-developed countries consume a lot of the stuff. Ensuring coffee is sustainably and responsibly sourced is, therefore, key within the industry.
This is not only important for the consumer, but also for the producer. In fact, it's even more important to them, so you'll need to consider it as a barista. Coffee shops often use and sell speciality coffee nowadays, with respect to how delicate the industry can be. Developing a relationship with a producer somewhere in the world is a win-win relationship. We recommend looking into this when becoming a barista!
5. Get experience as a barista
Alongside the barista training, this one could be the most important to get right.
A lot of professions are looking for that experience these days. Showing you've lived it and worked it can really set you apart from others who have not. Experiences are the best at building character and developing your skill set, even as a coffee beginner. Consequently, it's super important to take this seriously!
But how do you do it? It can be as simple as getting yourself a little job in a café. Even just being a server is enough to get you started. You'll learn all about how the café works (maybe even starting a cafe), food preparation, responsibilities and of course the workings of a barista. After some time, you may be entrusted to start working the espresso machine and even start steaming milk!
This should be considered 'on the job training'. Knowledge you can only get from physically learning the job. But, of course, don't forget the theory! It pays to have the education and experience together. This is an absolutely invaluable combination!
We wish you the best of luck!