List Of Essential Barista Skills (And How To Improve Them)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 13 June 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A barista is an employee of a coffee shop who prepares and serves coffee to the guests. Baristas use a wide range of skills, including customer service, teamwork, attention to detail and multitasking. If you want to become a barista, improving certain hard and soft skills can help you get a better job or career advancement. In this article, we explain barista skills, list common skills you can develop or enhance to become a better barista, share tips to apply them in the workplace and provide ways to improve them and highlight them during your job application process.

What Are Barista Skills?

Barista skills allow hospitality professionals to work in a coffee shop and include preparing coffee, taking orders and managing inventory. They require technical knowledge of coffee and other coffee shop products, along with soft skills, including customer service and communication skills for interacting with colleagues and customers. These professionals may also work in dynamic shifts, which require flexibility to work at different hours of the day or night.

While working as a barista can be a fast-paced job with high expectations, the job can be easily manageable by practising and enhancing these skills. They learn some of these skills on the job through training or formal education in hospitality, while others are often natural or require more dedication and time to learn. For example, coffee knowledge and customer service can develop via education and practice, whereas compassion often comes naturally to people.

Related: How To Become A Waiter: A Guide With Duties And Skills

Examples Of Barista Skills

Here are examples of some important skills for a barista:

Customer service

Exceptional customer service skills are an important component of being a barista. Customer service skills include being courteous and helpful to customers. Providing excellent customer service implies acknowledging repeat customers, resolving issues quickly and staying calm and positive in challenging situations. A positive customer service experience can be helpful for business growth. By putting in extra effort to ensure a positive customer experience, these professionals can ensure effective customer service and enhance the company's reputation.

Related: 15 Necessary Customer Service Skills And How To Develop Them

Coffee knowledge

Some basic knowledge of coffee can help a barista get an entry-level position at a coffee shop. It is important for these professionals to the differences between coffee and espresso beverages such as lattes, americanos, flat whites, cold brews and cappuccinos. Experience and knowledge of roasting and grinding techniques, sourcing of coffee beans and the differences in flavours between various types of coffee can be helpful to baristas in serving the customers the right coffee and meeting their expectations.

Attention to detail

Working as a barista requires meticulous attention to detail and an excellent memory. For instance, remembering what regular customer orders regularly can help that customer feel valued and can be more willing to return to that coffee shop. Whether it is properly cleaning equipment or taking and fulfilling customised orders, a barista requires giving close attention to detail. Baristas who give attention to detail can help businesses earn an excellent reputation and trust.

Cleanliness

It is important for these professionals to keep their work areas clean and comply with organisational standards. Cleanliness helps you maintain proper hygiene in the coffee shop. When they operate in a clean place and keep the surroundings free from unnecessary items or wastages, it helps them increase their productivity and maintain hygiene.

Teamwork

During busy hours, a coffee shop may have multiple employees working together to fill orders, which requires teamwork to manage the orders efficiently. Many coffee shops operate on an assembly line model to fulfil orders accurately. One person may operate the cash register and pass along orders, while another prepares the drinks, another can take drive-through orders and another employee can complete preparing the drinks and distribute them to customers. These professionals require excellent teamwork, communication and collaboration to work efficiently in such scenarios.

Related: Examples Of Teamwork Skills (And How To Improve Them)

Multitasking

Multitasking is a skill that enables a barista to manage various tasks simultaneously, which is often necessary for a coffee shop. Many other skills, such as attention to detail and teamwork, can help these professionals improve their multitasking ability, allowing them to complete all necessary tasks quickly. Sometimes they may be required to take orders, maintain the cash register, convey orders to colleagues, answer the calls and deliver orders to customers at a single time. When the coffee shop is operating at a high volume, multitasking helps ensures orders are timely and correct, making the customer experience pleasant.

Cash management

Most baristas manage a cash register or point of sale (POS) system, making cash management an integral part of the job. While a small coffee shop may have a specific register system and handwritten orders, larger chains employ intricate systems with various customisation options. Both methods require some training to help ensure that the barista is efficient and avoids errors in billing.

How To Improve Your Skills As A Barista

Here are the steps you can follow to improve your skills:

1. Learn about coffee drinks

There are many ways to learn about various types of coffee and techniques. You can read about the different types of drinks available at a coffee shop, try them out or watch educational videos on coffee types and brewery techniques. Improving this skill can help you become a more effective barista by allowing you to speak with customers about their orders and improve their experience.

2. Take training courses

You may find it beneficial to take part in a few training courses to improve and advance your skills. Some organisations and companies provide training programmes to help their employees learn skills to improve their performance. Customer service is an important part of the job and enhancing this skill can help strengthen your other skills required for the role.

3. Practice taking orders

Being an effective barista requires a high level of attention to detail and practising taking orders for friends and family is a great way to improve this skill. Whether at home or in restaurants and coffee shops, be attentive while taking orders. You may require taking notes at the start, enhancing this skill can help you remember orders and serve them quickly into the POS.

4. Ask for feedback

One way to determine whether you are good at the skills required for the role is by asking for feedback. You can try to get feedback on the coffee and customer service from colleagues and guests. This way, you can also identify areas for improvement to help you grow as a professional.

You can consider asking the customers about their experience in the coffee shop to identify the aspects you can improve to provide a better customer experience. Mentors can also provide valuable feedback, as they can offer constructive criticism and industry-relevant tips that can allow you to develop and succeed as a barista.

Barista Skills In The Workplace

Here are some tips you can use to apply your skills in the workplace:

  • Execute efficient order fulfilment. It is important to fulfil all customer orders quickly and correctly. Utilising multitasking, consistency and organisational skills, you can provide exceptional customer service.

  • Assist your colleagues. To keep a coffee shop running efficiently, you can contribute and work as a team member. Utilise your teamwork skills to assist colleagues when necessary to help ensure timely order fulfilment and keep everyone happy and enthusiastic, including customers and colleagues, along with your supervisors.

  • Provide suggestions to customers. Many customers ask about drink recommendations from baristas. Understanding the range of offerings at your coffee shop allows you to provide an informed and customised response to suggest accurately to meet customer preferences.

  • Maintain a positive attitude. Maintain friendly behaviour when interacting with customers and colleagues. Greet customers with a smile when they enter and try to take and deliver their orders as quickly as possible.

Ways To Highlight Your Skills

Here are some ways to highlight your skills during the job application process:

On your resume

On your resume, you can highlight your skills in two places, the work experience section and skills sections. Explain how you used your skills in your previous jobs under work experience, such as how you used customer service skills to provide customers with a pleasant experience and knowledge of coffee to serve great coffee that makes them repeat customers. Keep the skills list brief and include all skills related to the job, especially keywords mentioned in the job description.

Related: Include These Personal Details In A Resume (Learn How And Why)

In your cover letter

Use your cover letter to discuss key relevant skills and experiences listed on your resume. If you have an exceptional accomplishment and recognition for your performance that highlight your skills, such information can also be a useful addition to your cover letter. You can also elaborate on using your skills in the new position to improve customer service and increase business revenue.

In the interview

The interview is an ideal opportunity for you to demonstrate the skills you listed in your resume and cover letter. Many hiring managers may ask you questions related to the skills mentioned in your documents. Prepare your answers using examples when you have used your skills in the past. Show your abilities to the interviewer by being polite and professional throughout the interview. Maintain eye contact, speak precisely and concisely and ensure your non-verbal cues demonstrate your communication skills to create a positive impression of yourself to increase the chances of getting hired.

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