Baristas work in restaurants and coffee shops to make coffee drinks and other beverages for customer. They are typically trained on the job. Employers typically look for applicants who have the ability to learn quickly, be team players and have good interpersonal skills. Experienced baristas have the best employment opportunities.
There are no specific educational qualifications to become a barista for most employers, though a high school diploma is often preferred or required. Baristas looking to improve their skills can obtain professional training through school training programs and online barista certification courses. Training programs teach students the basics of grinding coffee and steaming milk, as well as how to properly operate professional equipment. Some programs also teach students how to run their own specialty coffee shop.
Baristas should be able to stand and walk for long periods of time and should be physically capable to lift, push and pull up to 40 pounds. Baristas also need to occasionally use ladders, stairs and ramps and they must reach, turn and perform precision work around the bar area. They should have good hearing and listening skills, as they receive detailed information for drink orders spoken by customers. Good near and far vision is also a requirement for baristas.
Coffee shops rely on good customer service to retain loyal customers and succeed in this competitive industry. Baristas need to exhibit excellent personal qualities, including a neat appearance, good communication skills and maintaining a regular and consistent attendance and punctuality. Baristas should act with integrity, honesty and must be able to maintain a calm demeanor under pressure, as coffee shops often get busy throughout the day.
Baristas are responsible for maintaining a clean work environment that follows the health, safety and sanitation guidelines for all products. Baristas are responsible for making good quality espresso and coffee drinks, steaming and frothing milk. Other responsibilities include keeping equipment clean and maintaining a tidy environment to assure the overall quality of the products. Experienced baristas may need to train new employees and should do so by positively reinforcing successful performance.
2016 Salary Information for Food and Beverage Serving and Related Workers
Food and beverage serving and related workers earned a median annual salary of $19,710 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, food and beverage serving and related workers earned a 25th percentile salary of $18,170, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $22,690, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 5,122,500 people were employed in the U.S. as food and beverage serving and related workers.
- Espresso & Coffee Guide; Barista Job Description; Daniel Harrington; February 2011
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Food and Beverage Serving and Related Workers
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Food and Beverage Serving and Related Workers
- Career Trend: Food and Beverage Serving and Related Workers
Chris Newton has worked as a professional writer since 2001. He spent two years writing software specifications then spent three years as a technical writer for Microsoft before turning to copywriting for software and e-commerce companies. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and creative writing from the University of Colorado.