Being a barista isn’t very difficult and doesn’t require any prerequisite skills, but the job can be demanding and stressful. You will need to be able to learn how to improve on the fly and develop a knack for using the machines.
What Does a Barista Do?
A barista’s first responsibility is to take orders, ensuring that the request is conveyed accurately to whoever is making the drink, with any necessary substitutions or changes.
Getting the order right is the best way to keep a satisfied customer.
Of course, a barista is also responsible for making the drinks as per the customer’s request. Baristas need to stick to your coffee shop’s specific recipes and accurately translate the customer’s order into a delicious drink.
Whether it’s an espresso, cappuccino, frappe, or cold brew, baristas need to know the methodology for making everything down to the specifications of the customer.
Learning how to operate these machines isn’t difficult in most cases, but memorizing all of the steps involved in each kind of drink and how to prime and use the machines will take some time; moreover, learning how to make an exceptionally good drink is part of the barista learning curve that makes the job challenging.
Baristas are often responsible for opening up the shop, firing up the machines, pre-grinding coffee beans, and arranging the restaurant so that it’s ready to receive customers. Tables must be cleaned, equipment needs warming up, and the shop needs to be squeaky clean.
A variety of cleaning jobs come with the territory as well including cleaning up any spillages and making sure that the interior of the coffee equipment is kept clean. Dishes and silverware need to be kept clean.
Baristas are expected to keep a mental logbook of what’s popular and what’s overlooked on the menu. Do the customers seem happy with their experience?
What drink can they just not get enough of? This information is important to the shop owners and, while perhaps not an official part of a barista’s job, will still be required of them in the long run.
A barista also works with food, ensuring that the pastries are baked and fresh for the morning crowd, sandwiches are made nice and hot, and fresh food is cut and ready.
Managing the Register
A barista is also often responsible for dealing with the customer from beginning to end, so baristas need to have at least a rudimentary understanding of how to work the cash register or POS device, scan credit cards, and return accurate change.
Is Being a Barista Stressful?
Baristas wear many hats, and the job can quickly become stressful if you’re manning the neighborhood coffee shop exploding in popularity.
From dealing with the new guy in the back who just spilled coffee everywhere to the annoyed customer complaining about cold pastries, baristas have to exercise patience, discretion, and diplomacy when dealing with customers.
On the other hand, being a barista might be more of an ebb and flow kind of job depending on how the shift works.
Some baristas are pegged for the early morning shift which sees a wave of hungry customers piling in as soon as the doors open, while others get to relax during the lunch shift where there are only a few customers quietly working on their laptops in the corner.
It really depends on where the shop is located and how popular it is.
Is Being a Barista Fun?
Being a barista is a fun job overall. You get a variety of tasks to keep you entertained―sure, some of them might be boring, but the variety in work helps create a better sense of time flow so that the hours don’t drag on as much.
Interacting with and meeting new people helps take the edge off the boredom, and for baristas with charisma and charm, it can be nice to see the familiar faces of regulars who visit the shop.
Is the Job Interview Hard?
Applying to be a barista can be easy or difficult depending on how much competition there is for the role.
There are no college-level skills that come with most barista jobs, so the application process is more of a way for an employer to determine whether a new hire is honest and trustworthy.
A great emphasis is also placed on the barista’s attitude―are they cheerful and friendly, good-natured towards customers? Character and a will to learn are the two major factors when it comes to the hiring process.
Being a barista can be challenging, fun, and interactive, but on the other hand, it may be stressful, and hard, it all depends on the approach of the barista, the pressure from the employer, and how busy is the coffee shop during the working hours.
I hope this article helped you to understand whether being a barista is hard or not!