Our online coffee classes are dedicated to all new and aspiring baristas who just start their career in specialty coffee. If you have successfully passed your barista job interview and got hired in a coffee shop, you probably want to know how to make your job more efficient. Of course, your initial barista training is important but there are a few barista tips and tricks that are not being taught.
Our aim is to break the myths and fears preventing young people from being effective baristas. Keeping in mind the challenges of a barista job, we offer you 10 barista tips for beginners.
Barista Tip 1: Stay consistent with your coffee shop culture
It’s critical to maintain consistency in your coffee shop. Every coffee shop has its own unique culture that’s different from all other coffee shops. Your job as a barista is to stay in line with your coffee shop vision, mission, and culture.
Additionally, you need to be consistent with the coffee you are making. To do so, you have to memorize all coffee recipes and build your drinks exactly how it’s accepted in your coffee shop. Secondly, you are expected to create a positive friendly atmosphere in your coffee shop in a way that’s typical for your café. A customer wants to have the same positive experience every single time no matter who is working behind the coffee bar today.
Barista Tip 2: Develop your coffee palate
A barista can only learn how good or bad coffee is by tasting as many coffees as possible. You might be surprised that coffee sensory skills is a totally separate program by Specialty Coffee Association. This only proves what a complicated product coffee is. Coffee has plenty of characteristics that need to be determined to evaluate and score coffee. There are certain objective approaches to describe coffee taste, aroma, and body.
Barista Tip 3: Refresh your barista basics by taking online coffee classes
There’s always something new in the coffee world. Once finishing your training don’t think that it’s over. If your coffee shop doesn’t provide that take online coffee classes every 6 months or read a coffee book. Check out free barista articles online and talk to other baristas and roasters about their work and challenges.
Barista Tip 4: Experiment with coffee roasts and brewing methods
Every time you get a new roast or coffee from a different origin, try it and compare it to other coffees. Brew it as a shot of espresso and as a pour over. Answer the question: How different is the taste, color, aroma?
For this, you have to have an eager interest in coffee. Otherwise, you’ll be just an average barista providing average customer service and having average coffee knowledge. I don’t think this is what you want, even if you are not planning to work in coffee all your life.
Barista Tip 5: Use fresh quality coffee
Using high quality products is essential to brew a great cup of coffee. The best time for coffee – is about a week after it’s roasted. Of course, it depends on the type of coffee and its roast. For example, darker roasts degas faster than lighter roasts.
If the coffee is too fresh, it degasses fast releasing a lot of carbon dioxide. There have been times when fresh coffee would literally explode in the locked portafilter just because of the gasses bursting out of the coffee bean.
Using too old coffee is not a great idea either. After a couple of weeks quickly gets stale and loses much of its characteristics.
If you notice that the coffee delivered to your coffee shop is bad or low quality, don’t hesitate to inform your coffee shop manager or owner.
Barista Tip 6: Learn how to dial in your coffee
Dialing coffee in is a must have skill for any barista.
There will be times in your coffee shop when you are alone with no one to help you fix your grinder and espresso shots. This will actually happen more often than you think. So, I can’t stress enough how important dialing in is. Get to know your coffee and determine what you want to taste in your espresso. Learn troubleshooting techniques and don’t be afraid to turn the grind adjustment collar.
Knowing how to dial in your coffee will contribute to consistency, efficiency and customer satisfaction.
Barista Tip 7: Develop a constant interest in coffee education
Your personal development means participating in coffee cuppings, presentations, coffee expos and all events in the coffee industry. Take online coffee classes or courses. Never stop learning. Learning is what empowers you to be the best barista you can possibly be.
Any investment into your coffee education will eventually pay off with higher salary, better tips, and professional satisfaction.
Barista Tip 8: Maintain a clean coffee brewing workspace
Respect your professional coffee equipment – it’s very expensive. Clean and backflush your espresso machine regularly during the day. Clean your grinder at least once a week. Use separate clean towels for different operations. Wash milk pitchers and other tools.
Purge, clean and polish – this is the motto of any barista.
Tidiness is by what customers judge and tip you. And you want to provide them a positive experience without making them anxious about their health.
Barista Tip 9: Stay positive
Like any job that requires communication with customers, a barista job can bring you unhappy and demanding customers that are hard to talk to. We wrote about how to deal with horrible customers before.
Also, if you are just starting you probably won’t be able to create a beautiful latte art or pull a perfect espresso shot right away. Don’t worry, it only takes more practice.
Of course, dealing with horrible customers or spilling a milk on the floor is not the happiest thing, but this should be a devastating experience for you. Be prepared by knowing what to say and how to act.
Barista Tip 10: Engage with your customers
The key to be a great barista is your interpersonal skills. It will be fair to say, that your customer skills make 50% of your customer satisfaction. Another 50% is your coffee brewing skills. You will deal with people every day, so engage with them, ask about their coffee preferences or just chit-chat about their day. By doing so you will get to know your community, become a better barista and
Subtly educate them by telling about new coffee roasts or blends. Be ready to answer their questions by getting the coffee education we mentioned above.