"Fear is the path to the dark side," - these were the ominous words from Yoda in Star Wars. Just like learning the ways of a Jedi, becoming a barista requires the perfect blend of talent, training and confidence. If you can't work confidently then this fear and stress will affect your technique and you'll fall victim to the dark side of the force, or rather, the dark side of coffee.
Creating a delicious cup of coffee is no easy task and if you're interested in becoming a fully fledged barista then you need to be willing to learn the techniques and have a personality that works well under steamin' pressures. Learn how to become a barista master today with our guide.
Release your coffee passion
If you want to become a barista-master, you've got to love the brown stuff. If you hate coffee, then being a barista is not the job for you. Baristas who excel in their careers, are coffee lovers and they have the palate to distinguish between a bad cup of coffee to a good cup. Be willing to share your love and passion for coffee. Customers will appreciate your passion and it will always show in your work.
Study the history of coffee
Do you know the history of coffee? Did you know their even was a history? If you don't know the key answers about technique and origin, then you need to spruce up your knowledge. Along with making coffee, you need to know about it. There are customers who will have questions about their drinks and if you don't have the answers, you're not going to become a master-brewer anytime soon.
Some companies, like Starbucks, train their new employees by educating them on the history of coffee. You don't have to know everything there is to know about the bean but you need to know the basics about the materials you work with.
Don't be afraid of the espresso machine
Today espresso machines tend to be automatic and easier to use. However, as each machine is different it's difficult to give universal instructions so make sure you get to know your new best friend. The most important lesson you can learn at this point is to be a good listener. Take on board any tips and tricks from your new team, you'll need them when the morning rush hits.
Taking shortcuts will lead you to the dark side of being a barista, and you're no regular joe. Take your time and always follow the steps!
Learn how to steam milk like the pro's
In these circles, steamed milk is an art form and will formulate one of the most important parts of your training. Making the best coffee is an excellent blend of coffee and steamed milk. The result of creating steamed milk is a smooth foam that tops the drink, this is created by exposing milk to high pressured steam. The technique can be tricky but once you've mastered it, you'll be able to do it in your sleep.
- Fill your jug halfway with milk, the milk level should reach the 'v' of the jug spout.
- Next you have to stretch the milk - point the steam nozzle just below the surface of the milk, this five second step introduces air into the milk which makes bubbles.
- Then dip the nozzle another half a centimeter so it creates a whirlpool motion, let it spin until the milk heats up to 60 degrees celsius. Take the milk away from the steam nozzle - make sure to wipe the nozzle for the next barista.
- Before you pour the milk, stir it to remove any big bubbles and help keep the foam and milk together
- Finally, slowly pour the milk into the coffee.
Learn the hot drinks recipe
At first it can be very daunting when you work in a coffee shop. There are so many recipes and extras customers can ask for. After your training, your manager will be expecting you to know how to make cappuccinos, caffe americanos, macchiato, lattes, espresso, mochas, ristretto and hot chocolates. You will learn them very quickly as you work. To become a barista master you need to master every recipe, you can't awkwardly ask your manager to help you when you're asked to make a caramel macchiato.
Give excellent customer service
As there are so many coffee shops to choose from, customers can easily move to another shop if they aren't happy with the service. You can keep your customers happy by always giving a friendly and professional service. Especially during busy times, customers have to wait longer for their drinks. Just by being polite, you can avoid making people irritated. Working as a barista can be stressful enough without having to deal with angry customers.
Don't cry over spilt milk
As you're working in a busy area behind the bar, you need to be aware of the dangers so you can avoid them. Broken cups and spilt milk can be a weekly if not daily occurance. Baristas work fast so it can be an easy accident to slip or fall. To become a barista master you need to keep your area tidy and help look after your team. Clean up after any spills or at least notify your team they need to be careful. You can make sure you are looked after by wearing the right shoes for work. Slip-resistant shoes keep your feet on the ground even on wet and greasy floors.
Slip-resistant work shoes for baristas
At Shoes For Crews (Europe) Ltd., our slip-resistant shoes give effective grip on slippery floors and provide extra comfort and support for working baristas.
Visit our shop to see all our styles:
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What do you think makes a master barista? Share your thoughts in the comments below!