How to become a barista
By: Todor Madzharov
Reading time: 3 min

Coffee houses are more popular than ever, and the business only seems to be getting bigger. At the end of 2016, Starbucks revealed it would be expanding its global presence by 12,000 stores over the next five years, taking them to a whopping 37,000 around the world.

But aside from the global leader, independent coffee shops are reaping the benefits of the public’s growing taste for good brews – and they need talented people to become baristas and make the drinks people have come to enjoy. It’s generally an entry-level job, but the best can go on to make it big.

So, where do you start? We’ve analysed our partners’ job demands to help you get the best shot at becoming the next big thing in the world of coffee.

Job basics

  • Entry salary: Around £12,000pa
  • Experienced salary: £18,000+pa
  • Average hours: 30-40 (full-time); 10-20 (part-time)

What do they do?

  • Greet and take orders from customers
  • Brew coffee, either in a chain of preparation with colleagues, or from point-of- sale to order collection
  • Sell a wide range of food, beverages and packed coffee
  • Maintain the work area’s cleanliness, to health and safety standards
  • Learn about different coffee, as well as the best ways to prepare it

What qualities should I have?

First and foremost, you should really love coffee – and have the palate to differentiate between wide ranges of brews. The best baristas can adjust brewing recipes when they need to, and while this does come with time and experience, you have to have an open mind to learn quickly. It’s not just the coffee itself, either; you need to know everything else that people have in their drinks, from dairy products and sugar to artificial additives and confectionery.

From a physical perspective, you need to be active and happy to stay on your feet all day. The art of coffee- making is not just in the ability to create the perfect drink for your customer; it’s doing it at high speed, without showing strain.

Finally, there are plenty of “off the shelf” job ethics you should also have at the forefront of your mind; these include a positive attitude to work, excellent communication skills, a professional outlook, and careful attention to detail. While it’s not completely necessary, the best baristas are more likely to chat with customers, so being more of an extrovert will put you in good stead.

How do I become qualified?

Luckily, barista roles often require little or no experience whatsoever – though as with any job, it can often be difficult to get a job without experience, if you’re going up against others who have worked in coffee shops before. That said, there are barista and bartender training courses offered by companies and colleges alike, which shows willingness – if you’re seriously hoping to become a career barista, at least. If experience is still low, make sure both your standards of maths and English are high, and you show these off in your CV.

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