Become a Coffee Shop Barista
By Eric Hammer
So you want to be a coffee shop barista. Don't think it's
going to be easy. However, if you are determined, you'll be able
to do it. Unlike most behind the counter jobs, being a barista
is more than just being the guy who pours the coffee and takes
A professional coffee shop barista knows how to use the machines
to create perfection in a cup. There is an artistry that goes
into being a barista and if you don't learn effective techniques
before you start your new job, you'll have a tough time keeping
customers and your job.
In addition to knowing how to make a good espresso, you also
need to know the techniques behind other coffee based drinks.
For example, you need to know not only how to steam the milk
but also how to pour in such a way as to create a design (the
heart shape is quite popular). This is simply expected by customers
at a coffee shop.
Typically, baristas will get a certain amount of on the job
training, though if you want to work somewhere more upscale than
Starbucks, you'll need to get professional training. This will
entail a number of months of learning not only techniques but
also theory behind good coffee making.
How Much Can You Make?
For a job that requires a certain amount of training to do
correctly, the average salary is nothing particularly exciting.
Typically, a coffee shop barista makes a little more than minimum
wage. According to Indeed.com, the average wage for a barista
is between $7.89 and $9.39 per hour. However, that is often supplemented
Ways to Make More | Related Opportunities
Ask yourself a simple question: why are people spending $5
for a cup of coffee at your coffee shop when they can just as
easily make a cup at home for 50 cents? There are three answers
to this question and two of them are important for you to know
and keep in mind as a coffee shop barista.
1. They want a good cup of coffee - Let's face it, most people
don't know how to make a decent cup of coffee at home. Yes, the
coffee they make at home will be passable, but if they want GOOD
coffee, they come to you. That means you need to understand your
art and make something they really will enjoy.
2. They want a show - Another part of the coffee house experience
is the show that's involved in making a fancy looking cup of
coffee. People often stop to watch the artistry as a barista
pours the steamed milk and effortlessly forms a heart with the
milk. The better the show you can put on for your customers (without
seeming cheap or "shticky") the better the tips are
going to be.
3. They want to be a bit of a snob - This has less to do with
you as a coffee shop barista and more to do with the owner of
the coffee house (of course, you may very well be both if you
run your own operation). They want to see a place that looks
inviting and upscale so they can "be seen" having coffee
there. The more upscale your place seems, the more likely customers
are to come in and sit down for a cup o' joe.
Qualifications / Requirements
You'll need training in order to be a professional coffee
shop barista. You can either do this training on your own or
you can get training on the job at some stores. Starbucks always
offers training to their baristas, however they also expect people
to show up knowing quite a bit about coffee.
Beyond that, you need to be clean and presentable (nobody
wants to be served by a barista in a dirty T-shirt and ripped
jeans) and have a pleasant manner in working with people.
Start by reading more about the art of being a barista. Several
good resources are listed below. Consider also going for professional
training, especially if you know virtually nothing about coffee.
Once you have a basic grounding, you can apply to a local coffee
house and dazzle them with your coffee expertise.
Magazine - A magazine devoted to the art of making coffee.
A must read for the serious barista in the making.