The Job Description Of A Barista

If you’re a frequent Starbucks visitor, you’ve heard the word “Barista” thrown around quite a few times. In short, they are often the individuals serving coffee behind a counter, or sometimes bringing it over to your table. In different restaurants, the same position might go by a different name. As a standard, we’re going to talk about what it means to be a Barista. The meaning of the word, the skills, and qualifications. Everything you might want to know about the definition of a barista, you’ll find in this article.

barista standing in front of the bar of coffee shop

What Exactly Is A Barista?

The meaning of the word “barista” is essentially “bartender”. This refers to someone who works behind a counter, serving drinks to customers. The word itself is of Italian decent. A barista, unlike a bartender, does not serve alcoholic drinks. They are most commonly associated with caffeinated beverages, like espresso. The term “barista” is also most commonly used at coffee houses. A barista often serves ready-made snacks to customers as well.

Now, though the word essentially means “bartender”, a barista is not to be confused with a bartender. Bartenders are often responsible for serving alcoholic beverages. This means they require a specific certification to perform their duties. A certificate that means they understand how to properly handle alcohol, as well as enforce the local laws about the legal drinking age. That same certification is not required to become a barista because it doesn’t involve handling alcohol.

The two terms can be interchangeable, but it can get confusing when people do this. They often use the terms incorrectly.

After all, the counter at the coffee shop might be considered the bar. Many coffee houses choose to refer to their counter as the “coffee bar”. So, it would be an understandable mistake to call someone behind the bar a bartender. The same could be said about the reverse. If someone is serving your drinks at the counter, you might call them a barista. In the most simplest of terms: Barista means no alcohol and bartender means alcohol. That’s the distinction between the two.

What Are The Skills & Qualifications Required?

In order to become a barista, you have to have basic math skills. There is a good deal of work with cash registers, handling change and transactions. A barista should also have good people skills because the majority of the position involves interacting with the customers. A negative attitude can lead to a loss of employment. No one wants their coffee served with sarcasm. They want their coffee served with a smile and friendly banter. A barista should also be good with handling multiple tasks at a time. Good with working in a fast-paced environment, too.

The skills and qualifications of a barista will depend on the location of the barista. A cute cafe that sees only a handful of customers on an average day might not need a fast-working barista. They may just need someone available when customers appear. In other places, there may be advanced certification. Some employers may require there be a certificate in handling food since there are often sandwiches and other goods handled by a barista.

Before applying for a job as a barista, it is important that you look what that particular establishment is asking for in their employees. If they require training you don’t have, look into getting it. Most establishments offer on-sight training to get you adjusted to the specifics. For instance, how their cash register works, or their menu items. But, no employer can teach you how to interact with people or how to work more efficiently. These are skills you’ll want to have for yourself.

If you’re interested in becoming a barista, but lack the skills we just covered, there are workshops. Check with your local employment center to see what you can do to increase your employability. There are bound to be a great number of workshops you can attend to enhance your skills. This will come in handy during your job searching process. Whether you’re looking for a barista position or something else. Developing your skills is never a bad idea!

What To Expect As A Barista?

When you’re working as a barista, you can expect to see many faces in a day. You can expect to end your work day smelling like coffee beans and baked goods. You will handle a good deal of snacks throughout the day, depending on where you’re working. Because of this, you will need to practice great personal hygiene. You’ll want to keep yourself clean and presentable. At work, you’ll want to wash your hands frequently. If you find them drying out because of soaps, purchase a hypoallergenic hand lotion to keep your hands feeling smooth. That’s a trick of the trade! Hand sanitizer might seem like a good idea, to prevent passing possible germs. It isn’t. It can rub off on the food, leaving a strange taste behind. Plus, it dries your hands out much more quickly than most people realize.

Another thing a barista can expect is to come into contact with the occasional customer who is feeling under the weather. It’s still your job to serve them politely, as you would any other customer. But, once you’ve finished serving them, make sure to wash your hands before serving anyone else. This prevents spreading bacteria to other customers through contact.

Finally, every barista will encounter customers who are less-than-friendly. This is something that happens whenever you’re working with people. There are going to be people who have a bad day. There might even be people who starting yelling at you for messing up their order. While it’s tempting to yell back, the appropriate response is to politely apologize and immediately get your manager. You do not want to deal with these customers on your own. Your manager is trained for that kind of interaction. They can handle it.

In Closing

Hopefully, this article has helped you to understand what it means to be a barista. If you’re heading out into the job market for employment, good luck! If you were just looking for a better understanding of the term, hopefully, this gave you some clarity.

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