What Makes a Great Barista? (Skills Required)

Who doesn’t love coffee? And being able to serve it is a great job. 

A great barista is passionate, creative, takes pride in what they do, and constantly works to bring improvement to their work.

Being a great barista isn’t easy, it requires a lot of patience, knowledge, and skills like customer service, teamwork, attention to detail, and multitasking.

With an increasing demand for coffee all around the world, coffee shops are always in search of great baristas who can serve coffee like nothing else in the world!

If you want to know which of your skills to polish to become a great barista, keep reading!

What Skills Should a Barista Have?

a barista serving a cup of coffee
Barista serving a cup of coffee.

A barista should be a multitasker and must be able to stay calm while handling the pressure of a busy working environment.

Other than that, working as a barista requires great customer service and communication skills along with technical knowledge of coffee and other coffee shop products.

Most baristas have more responsibilities than just taking orders and serving coffee, so there is a degree of flexibility required for these positions.

Let’s look into some of the skills a barista should have that employers value:

Great Customer Service

Having excellent customer service skills is one of the most important qualities of being a barista. The happiness and satisfaction of the customers are very much dependent on the barista’s way of serving them.

Excelling at customer service means acknowledging regular customers, working hard to resolve their issues quickly even when it requires some extra work, and being positive and friendly even in difficult situations.

As a barista, it is good to be social and create relationships with your regular customers

Try to remember their names and orders as this will help you excel more in this field.

Be Attentive to Details

Attention to detail is a skill that enables a barista to make fewer mistakes and improve the customer’s experience. An attentive barista can easily stand out and make a good impression on their customers.

A customer who visits regularly feels valued when they get to the counter and the barista greets them with the name and already knows their preferences from the menu.

With the many aspects of a barista’s job, whether it’s knowing how to properly clean all the parts of an espresso machine or understanding a complicated customer order, a barista who gives attention to details can set themselves apart.

Adequate Coffee Knowledge

Some basic knowledge about coffee and its variants is important to get an entry-level position at a coffee shop.

On the other hand, seeking more knowledge in this field might help baristas serve their customers better and succeed much more quickly.

Knowing processes like roasting and grinding of coffee beans, how coffee beans are sourced, and how different kinds of coffee variants differ in flavor can be very helpful for them not only in serving their customers well but also in giving suggestions to those unsure of what to order.

Multitasking

A barista needs to have the ability to handle multiple tasks at a time. During rush hour, multi-tasking can be a key to keep customers and employers happy.

A barista may need to take orders, operate the cash counter, pass on orders to coworkers, fulfill orders, answer the queries and deliver orders to the customer. All at once.

Therefore, he needs to be quick and alert to keep the customers happy.

Teamwork

Even if you are a multitasker but not good at teamwork, you are likely to face many difficulties in your path to becoming an expert barista.

Many employees are working together in a coffee shop. Everyone needs to play their part to keep the orders moving swiftly. Inability to correspond to teamwork and communicate timely may create a mess, especially at peak hours.

Teamwork can make working in a busy coffee shop easier.

Cash Management

Most coffee shops expect baristas to use a cash register or point of sale (POS) system. This makes cash management an important part of the position.

While small coffee shops may have a manual register system to keep a record of the orders and cash collection, larger chains have complex systems with many options to allow for customized drinks.

Either method requires some training so that the barista may avoid making mistakes and use them efficiently.

Along with the skills, a barista must possess some qualities which can help them attain their desired position in this field. 

What Qualities Make a Good Barista?

Cream being poured in a cup of coffee
Latte art.

A few of the qualities that make a good barista include being socially interactive, having a positive and friendly attitude, being able to stay calm under pressure, and having a passion for work! Keep reading to know more about how these qualities might have an impact on your performance.

Being Socially interactive

An outgoing personality can be advantageous in being a barista as you would be required to talk to different kinds of people for the majority of the day.

A talkative and extroverted person brings the customer into their comfort zone and can expect them to visit again. If you want to become outgoing, strive to become a communication starter.

It might seem difficult at first but once you learn to do it, you’ll find that a lot of times the conversation just flows naturally.

Demonstrating a Positive Attitude

Keep in mind that attitudes are contagious. If you are able to demonstrate a positive and friendly attitude at your workplace, you can expect the same in return.

Let’s face it – things can get a little crazy in the coffee shop sometimes but patience is the key.

Be Passionate

Exhibit your passion in your work and take pride in what you do. Your passion is extremely important if you want to have a long-term position as a barista.

One of the most common attributes of someone who has a passion for their job is happiness. If you ever start losing that feeling, remind yourself what made you excited in the first place and relive that.

Be passionate in everything you do and the rest will follow.

Multitasking Efficiently

Not only is multitasking an important skill for becoming a barista, but it is also equally important to do it efficiently so you can remain calm even in hectic times.

A barista needs to handle the pressure very efficiently and make multitasking an indispensable skill. There can be so much happening in a coffee shop simultaneously, and he’ll be expected to deal with all of them with a smile on his face.

Can You Be a Barista With No Experience?

Yes, you can become a barista without any prior experience as long as you seem confident, knowledgeable, and eager to work. 

Having said that, taking an online barista course can help you learn the necessary barista lingo, provide you with some barista responsibilities, and teach you some other skills you ought to know as a barista.

So make an attractive resume, put on that winning smile, and good luck!

Perks of Being a Barista

Being a barista is a fun job. Here are some of the perks that you can enjoy doing this job:

  • You get to be around coffee and inhale its heavenly scent all day.
  • You can fully express your creativity.
  • You can have freshly made coffee any time of the day to remove your tiredness.
  • You get a boost in your confidence level by being socially interactive.
  • You feel the power of making someone’s day every day by serving them coffee just the way they like it.

Barista’s also make a good amount of money depending on where you work. In the US, the average salary of a barista according to Indeed is 12$ an hour, which isn’t bad especially if it’s your first job!

Take a look at this data table showcasing different wages from different cities in the US.

CityHourly Wage
Seattle, WA$16.48
Los Angeles, CA$15.39
New York, NY$15.30
San Diego, CA$14.30
Portland, OR$14.29
Chicago, IL$14.06
Phoenix, AZ$12.38
Las Vegas, NV$11.43
Based on a report from Indeed.com

If you’re still not convinced that being a barista is the best job for you, watch the video below!

Video about the perks of becoming a barista.

In Summation

A barista tying their apron
A barista getting ready to serve.

You can become a great barista by enhancing your customer service, interpersonal and multitasking skills, gaining knowledge about coffee, and having a positive attitude and passion for your work. 

Being a barista is a fun job. But before you convince yourself that this job is the best one for you, make sure you have the skills and qualities needed to become a successful barista.

It’s not necessary to possess prior experience before applying for a barista job. However, it’s always better to gain some basic knowledge regarding the job through online courses.

There are many benefits of becoming a barista, the biggest one being the unlimited supply of coffee any time of the day. This job can also help you boost your confidence and expand your social circle.

Being a barista can be a fast-paced job with a lot of expectations, but by practicing and enhancing your skills, the work can be manageable and ultimately enjoyable.

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Matt Marshall

As I learn more and more about coffee and coffee products I want to share all my learnings with you here on this website. I hope you find my articles useful and entertaining to read.

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