Coffee beans
Coffee beans
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How does one become a barista?

25. September 2017

Barista? What is that? That could be the first question that crosses your mind. So here is a short definition of the word: Barista is the Italian word for barkeeper; the plural form is baristi or bariste. Whereas in Italy a barista serves all kinds of drinks, in the English-speaking realm it normally denotes someone who works in coffee shops who makes and serves espresso.

So far so good? Great, then let’s move on.

Now that you know what a barista does all day, I bet, some of you are picturing an attractive, charming surfer boy (or girl). Maybe they are behind the counter at a sandbar in the Bahamas and are starting to melt… you’re not far off.

Of course, a nice appearance is not a qualification to become a barista, but it helps the overall image during contact with the customers. A barista has to do more than know how to make an excellent coffee, cappuccino, latte macchiato, etc. They must also be communicative, friendly and be likeable to the customers.

The majority of people who visit coffee shops, plan to spend a little time there. The setting adds to the feeling of drinking coffee and is a big pull for customers, though the caffeine helps too. Those who go to traditional, nostalgic coffee shops await more than unfriendly service whose only words are “anything else?”

Customers leaves much happier after positive interactions; and even when there has only been a short conversation over the weather – communication is key. However, it is not enough to be good company to be a respectable barista. For this, one or two other abilities are necessary.

The perfect espresso

Among other things, a barista should know how to correctly grind coffee beans. That means, they should know how to use the grinder, the correct grinding grade and grinding time to ensure the espresso tastes perfect at the end. Only when the espresso has been perfected, does one have the basis to become a successful barista. After all, even the prettiest latte art on a cappuccino means nothing if it tastes terrible.

Know your foam

We all know it: Stopping quickly at a kiosk on the way to work to get a coffee to-go. The staff meanders to the machine, pushes a button and in 30 seconds puts on a lid, and that’s it. At 6:30 in the morning, before one is really awake, maybe the cappuccino aka espresso with hard spoon-able foam may be okay. But whoever expects a better-quality coffee goes to a coffee shop, or better yet, stops at a Coffee-Bike.
A good barista knows exactly what to watch for when foaming milk to make sure it turns out perfect. To master this, one should really consider attending a course. You can try out everything at home in peace, but there you cannot teach yourself the intricacies of the art of coffee. And if you want to become a barista, then why not do it right?

Love to go, please

The last step is optional but works wonders to win regular customers and is guaranteed to put a smile on their faces. It is about latte art, the champion of coffee decorating. It is an art form that baristas can train years for in order to perfect a swan or other figures, which magically transform any espresso. Especially cool: creativity in this area knows no bounds. As a layman, you cannot imagine how one can draw characters in milk foam, but for the right barista it is an easy task. Anyways, most times a simple heart is enough to make your customer smile. They will love you and be guaranteed to order from you again.

So, you see, there are only a few steps that separate you from a barista. If this has tickled your fancy, find a class in your city… Or, you could just become a franchise partner with us and begin your own independent mobile coffee-shop. Of course, we provide barista courses for you as well!

Interested? Look here. 

About the author

Paula Middelberg

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