Baristas are responsible for making coffee and other drinks in a café setting, as well as ensuring a pleasant and safe experience for customers.
They often have expert coffee knowledge and can produce a range of coffee beverages, whilst also being involved in customer service, shop hygiene and sales processing.
This detailed guide provides an overview of the role of a barista, with information including salary ranges, responsibilities, training and a sample job description.
- Barista job description
- How much do baristas earn?
- What does a barista do?
- Requirements, skills and qualifications
- Who employs baristas?
- Which junior jobs progress to barista roles?
Barista job description
Barista |Flying Bean Café
About Flying Bean Café
Located in Shoreditch, Flying Bean Café offers freshly-roasted, premium coffees and a range of pastries and snacks. Grab a drink on your way to work, or spend the morning in our Scandinavian-style interior with free Wi-Fi and a summer courtyard.
About the role
We are looking for a passionate and enthusiastic barista to join our team. You will be responsible for ensuring that our customers receive high quality coffee, exceptional service, and an experience that keeps them coming back!
- Welcoming customers to the café and providing excellent customer service throughout their visit
- Offering expert advice, recommendations and answering questions about coffee and other drinks
- Preparing a range of different coffee drinks including espresso, café latte, macchiato, flat white and cold brew
- Selling coffee products such as beans, grinding and brewing equipment with the ability to provide demonstrations where necessary
- Cleaning and maintaining espresso machine and other equipment, managing any repairs when needed
- Cleaning and restocking display cabinets and preparing food items such as sandwiches and baked goods
- Processing cash and card sales via the POS machine
- Maintaining compliance with health and safety regulations
Location & commitments
- Permanent, full-time position
- Based in Shoreditch, London
- Shifts spread across seven days, including weekends and some bank holidays
- Ability to multi-task and maintain calm demeanour in a fast-paced environment
- Must have right to work in the UK
- Good verbal communication skills
- Formal qualification or training as a barista
- Knowledge of coffee preparation from roasting and grinding beans to pouring coffee
- Previous experience working as a barista or waiter in a coffee shop
- Experience using ordering and payment software systems
Contact us to apply
We’d love to hear from you, so please send through your CV and a cover letter telling us a bit about your experience to Jeremy Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org
How much do baristas earn?
Baristas earn an average of £20,536 in the UK, which is fairly typical of hospitality and service industry jobs.
Barista salaries in the UK
- Low: £16,622
- Average: £20,536
- High: £25,000
Barista salaries can vary based on;
- Type of venue – e.g. is the role for a high-end hotel or restaurant, or a family-run coffee shop?
- Level of experience – e.g. is the role entry level with on-the-job training required or is it for an experienced barista with qualifications?
- Level of seniority – e.g. does the role include supervising other front of house staff?
For example, an experienced barista working for a specialist coffee house or upmarket hotel can earn more than in a regional high-street or family-run café.
There is also the opportunity to increase the base salary through customer tips and company bonuses.
What does a barista do?
This section breaks down the job description into simple terms, listing the tasks and responsibilities a barista can expect in an average working week;
- Greeting customers – Welcoming customers in a friendly and professional manner on arrival to the venue
- Preparing and serving drinks – Expertly preparing coffee and other drinks, taking into account food allergies and preferences such as non-dairy milks
- Espresso machine use – Grinding coffee beans and pouring milk according to customer tastes
- Educating customers – Providing advice, answering questions and offering recommendations
- Maintaining stock – Ensuring display cabinets are always full and ordering and receiving stock supplies
- Cleaning and sanitising – Adhering to safety regulations and ensuring all work areas, utensils and equipment are sanitised
- Processing orders and payments – Receiving and processing customer orders and payments using appropriate software and systems
What do baristas need?
Baristas require a range of skills, experience, knowledge and personality traits. Here’s what’s needed…
Barista is often considered an entry level role and many employers will provide training to staff, however previous experience in a hospitality role, or working with espresso machines can be beneficial.
To succeed as a barista, a candidate should possess a number of skills including:
- Customer focus – Possessing exemplary customer service skills including communication, negotiation and complaint management
- Teamwork – Working closely with other employees to ensure a seamless customer experience
- Attention to detail – Able to accurately take orders and deliver coffee and other orders to a high standard including complex orders and taking into account food intolerances e.g. lactose
- Coffee expertise – Demonstrating experience and knowledge in creating different coffee types, e.g. lattes, cappuccinos, macchiatos etc.
- Industry knowledge – Understanding of how coffee is produced, from raw fruit to roasting and blending
- Espresso machine knowledge – Understanding of how to use an espresso machine to create coffee drinks from beans
- Multi-tasking – Working in a fast-paced environment with a number of competing priorities
- Sales ability – Being able to identify customer needs and make appropriate recommendations, from drinks orders to coffee making equipment
Baristas aren’t required to undertake formal studies with many learning on the job. However, those who choose to follow a long-term career in coffee can study a number of courses and programmes.
Specialty Coffee Association of Europe (SCAE) diploma
The SCAE is a highly-respected organisation that runs a number of programmes and courses including a three-tier diploma. Covering topics such as milk techniques and latte art to brewing methods and sensory skills, this comprehensive course allows students to build up points to progress from foundation level to professional.
London School of Coffee
The London School of Coffee runs SCAE courses as well as its own programmes including cupping and sensory skills, latte art and business courses such as how to start a coffee shop or roastery. There is also a three-day course, the VRQ City & Guilds, covering everything from the history of coffee to customer service.
Paid apprenticeships are also offered to baristas where workers will be trained on the job, usually for a year.
What is expected of baristas?
Typically, baristas will be expected to commit to the following;
- Full time or part time shift work – Shifts will generally last eight hours
- Evenings, weekends and bank holidays – In line with the business opening hours
- Location – Shop based with occasional deliveries or event work
Baristas receive a number of benefits in addition to their base salaries including things like:
- Training and development
- Additional benefits – Such as subsidised meals during shifts and staff discounts
Who employs baristas?
The majority of baristas work for privately-owned coffee shops and high street chains, although there are opportunities to work for other establishments.
Typical barista employers include:
- Cafes and speciality coffee stores
- Leisure venues – Such as gyms or spas with onsite coffee shops
- Corporate organisations with on-site coffee shops
Which junior jobs progress to barista roles?
Baristas are entry-level positions for people wishing to work in the coffee or hospitality industry. It can be useful to have some previous experience working in a customer-facing role in the hospitality or retail sectors (such as a waiter or bar staff). However, a passion for coffee culture will be well-received as well as personality traits such as enthusiasm, reliability and the capacity to work under pressure.
Which senior jobs do baristas progress to?
The role of the barista may be a casual or part-time job for people while studying at university or high school. However, for those who choose a long-term career in the coffee industry or hospitality, there are many opportunities for growth.
Lead or head baristas oversee the day-to-day running of the café, including responsibilities such as rostering staff, recruitment and training and stock ordering. The pathway to becoming a lead barista is usually working as a barista for a number of years, and slowly taking on more responsibilities such as supervising shifts or helping to train new starters.
A roaster generally works behind the scenes, overseeing each stage of the coffee production process. This involves purchasing the green coffee, blending and packaging and quality control. Roasters may also be involved in running speciality events and are expected to have a superior knowledge of coffee production supported by a formal qualification.
Having developed knowledge of the coffee industry and experience in running a shop, a barista may progress to manage a store, or even choose to open their own café. This involves all operational functioning of the café as well as managing the profit and loss, marketing strategy and relationships with suppliers.
Baristas job description – conclusion
The role of a barista suits someone with a strong interest in customer service and the coffee industry and a love of sharing their knowledge about coffee.
It is a great platform to learn more about how a business runs and can open doors to other roles in hospitality.
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