A Guide On How To Become A Barista (With Steps And Salary)
Updated 23 March 2023
Baristas prepare and serve coffee and related drinks to customers in a coffee house or a bakery. This role requires developing excellent customer service, communication and coffee-making skills. If you take an interest in exploring this career, learning about the profession can help you decide if it aligns with your interests and skills. In this article, we list the steps on how to become a barista, highlight their responsibilities, provide their average salaries and mention some skills required for this role.
Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.
How To Become A Barista?
Learning how to become a barista can help you decide if it is the right career path for you. A barista prepares and serves coffee and coffee-based beverages, such as espresso and drinks made from espresso, like iced coffee, lattes and cappuccino. They serve customised drinks to customers and often work in speciality coffee shops, hotel coffee bars or cafés. Here are some steps you can follow to become a barista:
1. Learn about coffee
The knowledge of coffee-making terms can help you learn more about procedures such as brewing, blending, tasting and roasting. Familiarise yourself with the terms associated with different types of coffee beans, roasts and brewing methods. You can start by reading books and watching coffee-making tutorials on preparing coffee drinks such as latte, cappuccino and espresso. You can also visit local coffee shops and observe baristas prepare coffee drinks and replicate the drinks later.
2. Take an online barista course
Consider enrolling in a coffee-making course online to hone your skills. Read reviews and course descriptions to find one that suits your needs and interests. There are different coffee-making courses, such as introductory, latte art and barista certification courses. You may require passing an online exam and following the certification requirements provided by the course provider to obtain your certification.
3. Get training
You can enroll in a barista training programme or find a local coffee shop that offers on-the-job training. This can help you develop the skills required to become a barista. With training, you can learn how to describe the flavour profile, aroma, acidity and aftertaste of coffee. It can also help understand different coffee brewing equipment types, including espresso machines, grinders and tampers.
4. Practice creating drinks
Upon learning the basics, you can start preparing coffee and specialised drinks. You can experiment with different brewing methods. Start with the basics, such as drip brewing and pour-over methods, then try out more advanced ones, such as siphon brewing, Turkish brewing and French press.
5. Apply for a job
You can start applying for jobs at local coffee shops and restaurants. Many coffee shops require baristas to have some prior experience. Look for job postings that specify years of experience, along with any specific skills or qualifications. Make sure that the job posting specifies the expected hours and days of work. For instance, most coffee shops require baristas to work early morning, evening and weekend shifts.
What Does A Barista Do?
Some key responsibilities of a barista include the following:
Baristas take orders from customers and understand their coffee preferences. They inform customers of any specials and respond to their queries regarding ingredients and recommendations. For instance, a customer might ask for oat milk instead of regular milk or prefer syrup instead of sugar. Baristas are typically friendly and personable and provide excellent customer service to ensure a positive experience for every customer.
Baristas receive and process customer payments, including cash, debit and credit cards and mobile payment systems. They also operate the point-of-sale system to manage sales transactions. Coffee shops may also offer gift cards that customers can use to pay for purchases. They scan the gift card and deduct the purchase amount from the card's balance. They also familiarise themselves with the coffee shop's policies on refunds, returns and exchanges to handle these transactions efficiently.
Baristas are responsible for cleaning and maintaining all coffee equipment and machines, such as espresso machines, coffee grinders, brewers, decanters, airpots and drip coffee makers. This can involve regular cleaning, descaling and troubleshooting any issues that arise. They also check the pressure gauge on water filter systems, change any filters that are out of date and sanitise plates, cups, glasses and utensils.
Maintaining a stock of supplies
Baristas monitor the supplies and ingredients available before their shifts. The items in the inventory vary depending on the coffee shop's needs. This includes coffee beans, milk, ready-made food like sandwiches, muffins and brownies, flavouring syrups and coffee condiments like sugar, sweeteners and creamers. They may use point-of-sale computer systems and software to track inventory and sales data.
Ensuring hygiene and compliance
Baristas require an understanding of the importance of hygiene and safety in coffee shops and cafés. This includes proper cleaning and sanitising procedures. They also require complying with health and safety laws and guidelines and providing feedback to management.
Average Salary Of A Barista
Baristas work part-time or full-time and often have an hourly rate. The national average salary of a barista is ₹2,40,742 per year. The salary depends on several factors, such as experience, skills, location, type of establishment and tips. For instance, a barista working in a high-end coffee shop or specialty shop gets a higher salary than a barista working in a fast-food restaurant or chain coffee shop. A barista working in a city with a high cost of living may earn more than one working in a smaller town.
Skills For Barista
Most baristas operate commercial espresso machines, which can range from manual to automatic. Manual coffee machines require skills and training to manage new batches of coffee and adapt to customer preferences, weather conditions and other factors. They also require knowledge of a variety of preparation techniques for espresso-based drinks, such as steaming, foaming and frothing. Some essential skills for becoming a barista include:
Baristas take orders from customers and require communicating clearly with them, listening to their questions and queries and responding in a friendly and professional manner. Having good customer service skills can get them positive reviews, ensure repeat business for the coffee shop and build customer loyalty. It can also help in resolving conflicts.
Baristas interact with customers on a daily basis. Having strong communication skills helps them fulfil customer orders with ease and upsell additional items, such as snacks or pastries. This requires them to speak in simple and clear language and make customers familiar with coffee terms, types of coffee, brewing methods and coffee roasts when taking orders. Good communication skills also help them remain calm and professional and manage demanding customers.
Baristas require strong organisational skills to help them with everyday tasks like preparing drinks, cleaning equipment, processing payments and maintaining inventory. For instance, a barista's ability to organise things prepares them for everyday tasks, such as keeping accurate records of sales and inventory for easy retrieval and analysis. Good organisational skills also help them manage multiple tasks seamlessly and efficiently to meet customer demands.
Baristas often work in fast-paced environments and encounter a variety of customers. Patience is an essential skill that helps manage customer demands and unique needs and preferences. A patient and understanding approach can make them cater to each customer's needs and handle complaints. Being patient also helps them remain calm and composed during rush hours, serve customers efficiently and reduce errors in preparing and serving orders.
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