How Long Does It Take to Become a Barista? (Training Length)

If you are a person who absolutely loves your morning latte, macchiato, or cappuccino, you may want to spend your whole life around delicious-smelling coffee beans! If this is the case, you will love to work at a coffee shop. Are you wondering what the training program looks like?

It can take as long as a year to become a barista. You will learn basic levels of skill between the first and third months. You will learn proficiency skills between 3 and 12 months. And after 12 months, you will learn expertise and specialties. It will take new baristas a while to master this job. 

The coffee industry requires a wide variety of skills from their baristas. Let’s take a closer look at these skills and how long you can expect them to take to sink right into your brain!

how long does it take to become a barista

What It Takes to Become A Barista

Being a barista includes learning drink recipes, perfecting communication skills with the customer, and just overall being a master in the coffee industry.

The list of things you need to train a barista on is extremely long, and it can differ from place to place. Baristas need to be taught how to pull an espresso shot, get their milk silky-smooth, and pour symmetrical latte art. 

Moreover, preparing manual brews, cleaning every piece of equipment correctly, as well as exactly knowing how to use the till and POS system are included. Recommending food and drink choices while remembering allergies is also a crucial part of the job.

A well and fully-trained barista will help you not only to run your coffee shop smoother but will put smiles on your customers’ faces. However, until the barista has finished their training, their productivity is produced, as you will need to take your personal time to check their work.

The incorrectly trained barista may give out lower-quality drinks and service than your customers would normally be used to. 

Training a barista can be an expensive investment. You will need loads of planning in order to compensate for the reduced efficiency during the training period. 

This is exactly why it is such a great question to ask how long you can expect to train a barista to meet your shop’s standards. 

Timelines of Becoming a Barista

Barista making coffee

There is a big difference between raking a job as a barista at your local coffee shop and becoming an expert in these skills. You may be wondering, how long does it take to become a barista, and how long will it take to finish the training? 

Well, there are several points that you will need to be keeping in mind:

The first week: Learning the necessary steps

Firstly, being a trainee barista, you need to learn about your workplace. You might think that the first step is learning how to work with everything you will come in contact with. However, this is wrong. This will overwhelm you, and can even completely put you off the job. 

The first thing you need to do is learn the basics. This includes:

  • Location of the fire exits
  • Who to contact when there is an emergency, and
  • Understanding how to create a clean environment for yourself and certain types of milk and coffee. 

In addition to all of this, trainee baristas also need to learn who’s job is who’s job. These are things like bussing tables, knowing where and how to store everything, and who to contact when certain products are running low or are out of stock. 

Barista cleaning a machine

Furthermore, baristas will also need to:

  • Memorize the cleaning and hygiene practices at the specific coffee shop they are training at.
  • Learn about the different settings on the grinder, how to steam milk, control the temperatures of beverages, and properly extract espresso from the machine. 
  • Do homework which includes learning the menu and learning how to describe certain items to a customer.
  • Learn how to handle complaints and certain allergy warnings. 

All this should be done and dusted within the first week of training to be a barista. 

The First Month: Learning The Basic Barista Skills

barista latte art

After the first week, the remainder of the first month should be used to teach the baristas how to troubleshoot basic problems while using the equipment. 

New baristas first have to gain experience behind the coffee machine before they are competent enough to handle a large number of orders.

During these first months, baristas have to:

  • Learn how to deal with problems regarding the grinder, coffee makers, and espresso machines.
  • Be trained to customize certain recipes for customers, create basic latte and foam art, and multitask at the cash register.

As long as new baristas have the appropriate support, all these goals will be reachable during the first month of training.  

1-3 Months: Basic Skills

Barista  and coffee beans

This is the time where baristas need to focus on their ability to change the settings on the grinders, steam milk, control temperatures, and recognize when an espresso shot is correctly extracted. 

Between their first and third months of training, a beginner barista should:

  • Be able to understand the basic flavors of different espressos. This is a good time for baristas to ensure that their newly learned knowledge and skills are cemented. 
  • Learn how to develop recipes from scratch while building a strong sense of milk steaming, frothing, and latte art.
  • Know that the importance of non-technical skills is not to be overlooked. Good customer service is what most coffee shops look for. This is because if a barista can communicate efficiently with their customers and co-workers, they will build stronger and more trustworthy relationships in the workplace. 
  • Be given the proper support. If they are already working their shift, they can be seen as apprentice baristas. During this stage, the team members in the coffee shop continue to mentor and learn the less experienced, training barista. 

However, you can not only rely on mentorship. Baristas should be invested in, and in order to have a good foundation, proper and constant training is needed.

3-12 Months: Learning Proficiency Skills

barista working with espresso machine

After the first three months, baristas are usually perfectly able to serve high-quality espresso-based beverages. If the customers are happy, you know that training is going well! Baristas in this time frame are called junior baristas. 

They should be capable of controlling extractions, cleaning and steaming milk correctly, adjusting the grinders, and preparing beverages consistently and hygienically

Between 3 and 12 months, baristas will still need time to refine their skills, and they are still allowed to make mistakes on special occasions or in certain situations.

12+ Months: Expertise And Specialization

Baristas preparing coffee

By 12 months, a barista should be fully proficient and able to work independently without making “rookie” mistakes. They can be expected to have a strong knowledge of coffee along with technical abilities while having great customer service, communication, and problem-solving skills. 

By now, they should serve all different customers, from the newcomers to the regulars, and have the confidence to talk passionately about specialty coffee.

Conclusion

For baristas to become experts in their field, they need approximately one year of supervised and constant training. Along with having lots of valuable knowledge and technical abilities, a barista should ultimately have good customer service skills. 

After roughly three months, baristas are expected to serve high-quality coffee and satisfy customers. 

During this time, they should also adjust the grinder, clean all the machines correctly, steam milk, and control the extraction of coffee. An experienced barista should know how to manage stock, understand when to order more, and refrain from ordering too much. Being a barista is a fun and lively job, and you will have it under the belt in no time!