If you want to be a sought after Barista then you need to be dedicated and passionate about creating the perfect coffee every time – which takes practice and patience.
An equally important skill is customer service – being friendly and approachable and making the whole coffee experience a pleasant one which people will want to come back to again and again.
We asked our friends from CoffeeBitz, an online source for thorough reviews of coffee grinders, to give us their tips on would-be baristas. Here are their pro-tips on how to make yourself more hireable.
1: Practice and practice again
To become a coffee expert you need to be familiar with coffee – so try out lots of flavors and tastes at home so you know what they are and what they should taste like.
You should also practice your techniques over and over again until it becomes a fast, efficient process that you don’t even need to think about – it should almost be automatic when you start.
2: Use good quality beans
You might not have control over the coffee beans which your coffee shop uses but try to encourage them to use the best coffee possible – it shows you have a good knowledge and it shows that you care about the business and its customers.
Plus, by using only good quality coffee beans you will be able to make much nicer coffee for everyone who comes through the doors, making your customers happier and more likely to come back.
3: Look after the equipment
Make sure you look after the coffee equipment and keep it clean at all times. It needs to be clean for hygiene but also, milk and coffee can easily clog the pipes if left unchecked and that could cause costly damage.
Take pride in your work by keeping all the equipment well maintained cleaned as you go through the day, and if there are any issues you need to report any problems to your manager straight away.
4: Practice good customer service
As well as taking pride in your coffee-making skills a good barista should also go out of their way to provide excellent customer service, engaging with the customers and finding out exactly which coffee suits their tastes.
You should be knowledgeable enough to provide advice and guidance if a customer is unsure of what coffee they actually want, without sounding patronizing or unhelpful.
Practice smiling in the mirror at home so you can do it even if you don’t feel in a good mood! And make sure you know what the options are for people with allergies or dietary needs so that you can help them easily.
5: Follow instructions
When you are being taught how to use the machines and the ratio of coffee to water for each type of coffee, make sure you follow the instructions closely. It’s important to be consistent with the flavors and strength of coffee you are making, to keep your customers coming back.
Always respect the operating instructions for the machinery and make sure you are providing good quality coffee every time. It’s also important to follow the safety instructions when using the steamer and to keep everything clean and hygienic.
You should also follow instructions on the overall pace and atmosphere of the coffee shop – if it’s important to keep up and provide a very quick turnaround of coffee then you might need to practice to get up to speed – whereas in a more laid back coffee shop you might need to practice more conversational skills with the customers who want to chat.
It’s all about fitting in with the way the coffee shop is run and making sure you provide the best possible service for everyone concerned.
If you want to improve your Barista skills then trying out lots of different coffees for yourself and visiting other coffee shops in your town to see how they run things, is a good starting point.
Learning how to use the machinery so it becomes second nature is another key way to make yourself a very hireable Barista – it can be a big learning curve but if you can pick it up quickly due to your knowledge that will be a big advantage.
Having a friendly demeanor and being focussed on finding out what the customer wants and how best to help them with their choice is a very important element to being a Barista which can sometimes be overlooked.
The job is all about making the best coffee but a customer who is treated rudely or unhappy with the overall service, won’t come back again no matter how nice the coffee tasted – it’s important to get the blend of skills right.
Taking the time to understand the customers and having the knowledge of your own menu so that you can answer questions quickly and easily, without holding up the queues. Follow all of these tips and you will be on your way to becoming a great Barista.