All You Need to Know About Barista Jobs



What is Barista meaning?

The word “barista” was firstly used in Italy to call people who make and serve espresso-based coffee, alcoholic and non–alcoholic beverages, as well as snacks.

Originally, it is very rarely used as only people who are professionally trained in making espresso-based coffee drinks are called barista.

However, today, especially in the United States, the definition has been widened. The term “barista” is generally used to call any members who prepare and serve coffee drinks in the coffee shops.

What is barista job description?

Main barista duties:

  • Preparing and serving different types of coffee drinks. They check coffee beans, grind it, and extract espresso shot, steaming milk. Besides the commercial espresso machine, the barista also needs to master in using other equipment such as commercial blenders, grinders, steamer, and drippers.
  • Clean barista tools, check and restock coffee beans, and other ingredients required for making coffee and other beverages. Make a report to the supervisor if there are any problems, and any stocks need to be purchased for the business.

Other Barista duties:

Today most of the coffee shops require staff to multitask, especially in small businesses. Therefore, besides the primary responsibilities that mentioned above, barista also performs some other operational tasks in the cafe, which includes:

  • Taking customer orders, explain the menus, process payment, and other cashier’s tasks
  • Many coffee shops also sell snacks, sandwiches, and baked goods. Thus they are also in charge of selling, preparing, and serving these foods.
  • Cleaning tables, counter-tops, floor, and bathrooms if required.
  • Provide training to the new employee

What skills do you need to be a barista?

If you want to work in the coffee shops, you might wonder what skills you need to be able to get a barista job. Here is the list of the skills that you probably need to have and mention in your barista resume:

  • Barista skills: know how to make different types of coffee drinks by using commercial espresso machines.
  • Customer service skills: you will deal with customers all day and every day. You must be friendly, approachable, care, and attentive to customers because, at the end of the day, what the customer remembers the most is the experiences.
  • Multitasking skills: you need to be able to do many different tasks rather than only making coffees.
  • Teamwork: during peak hours when there is a long line of customers, teamwork is the most crucial skills that help the operation run smoothly.

How to become a barista?

  • Together with the rapid growth in the number of coffee shops, the labor market for barista jobs also grows.
  • Some coffee shops may require candidates to have barista skills or experiences. But some are willing to training after recruitment. So you might find a place that does not require any skills or experiences
  • For those who sincerely want to pursue their dream in the coffee industry, they should attend barista training in professional school. For the list of top barista schools in the US, you can check out it here.

Top 5 Barista Interview Questions

Although barista is low-entry jobs and might not require experience, you must well prepare for the interview if you want to get a job. It is crucial to have an idea of what kind of questions you will be asked as it makes you feel more confident during the interview.

Here are the top 5 most popular barista interview questions:

  1. Tell me something about yourself
  2. What would you do if you see an unsatisfied customer?
  3. What would you do if you are late for work?
  4. What is your expected salary?
  5. What is your available schedule for work?

What is the average salary of a barista?

Barista salary depends on many factors, which include but not limited to: years of experience, skills, and work location. However, in general, this job does not offer you a high salary; the income mostly depends on the service tips from the customers.

Here is a list of the average barista salary in different countries for your reference

Country Name Currency Average Salary Max Salary Min Salary
United States USD $10.24 $17 $8.26
Canada CAD $12.07 $22.05 $11.06
Australia AUD $19.82 $24.59 $14.25
United Kingdom GBP £7.49 £8.84 £5.15

Source: PayScale

What is barista world championship?

Barista world championship is the biggest barista competition in the world, which will be organized annually by World Coffee Events (WCE). Every year, the event will be hosted in a different city around the world.

The competition consists of 3 rounds in 2 days. Each competitor needs to prepare 12 drinks: 4 espressos, four milk drinks, and four signature drinks within 15 minutes. The Judges will evaluate their performance base on four criteria: taste, cleanliness, creativity, and technical skill.

Here is the list of Champion in the last ten years:

  • 2019: Jooyeon Jeon from South Korea
  • 2018: Agnieszka Rojewska from Poland
  • 2017: Dale Harris from the UK
  • 2016: Berg Wu from Taiwan
  • 2015: Sasa Sestic from Australia
  • 2014: Hidenori Izaki from Japan
  • 2013: Pete Licata from the USA
  • 2012: Raúl Rodas from Guatemala
  • 2011: Alejandro Mendez from El Salvador
  • 2010: Michael Phillips from the USA
  • 2009: Gwilym Davies from the UK

Career Paths for Barista

Since this job offers meager pay, thus it is mostly treated as a temporary job. Some of them do it as they need to earn money to live while going to college. Some of them do as it is the only option that they are qualified for.

However, it does not mean working as a barista has no future. In every job or every industry, if you passionate about it and do it right, you will be able to succeed.

Here are four paths that a barista can navigate their career to:

  1. Climbing up the hierarchy ladder: The opportunity within your company might open up, and you might able to get promoted to the supervisor, then manager. Getting a position in a more prominent company is another way to approach this career path.
  2. Be your own boss: you might think of opening up your coffee shop and be the businessman.
  3. As you work along, you will learn many other areas within the coffee industry rather than brewing coffee at the coffee shop. You might want to work at a coffee roaster or become a coffee producer or coffee supplier.
  4. If you want to share the expertise that you learn through many years with others, you might want to become a trainer. And that will lead you to a coffee instructor career.


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