Last Updated on October 18, 2021 by John Moretti
You may be searching for your first official job, or perhaps you are even wanting to change careers or looking for a job that will enable you to work in a fun and vibrant environment. Whatever the reason being, it is thankfully a lot easier nowadays to enter the world of being a barista, but how do you get started exactly?
The quickest way to become a barista is to take an online training course. You will learn the jargon, requirements, and what the overall responsibilities are. It is then best to start in a franchise to gain experience; thereafter, you can apply to more demanding positions.
There is undoubtedly great appeal to working as a barista in a local coffee shop or using the job to travel to foreign places. Some of my friends have done just that, and they not only enjoy the great ambiance, awesome co-workers, and lovely smell of freshly ground coffee beans, but are also getting to see the world. So if you are keen on the idea and want to know more, be sure to read on.
Are You Suited To Being A Barista?
The first key point is to understand what the coffee shop will be looking for in potential candidates (which you hope will be you). The majority of coffee shops will want a resume (this is where your online course will help) as well as a cover letter explaining why they ought to choose you over other potentials.
Being a coffee barista is not for everyone, and therefore we have listed a few examples of traits you should possess, should you want to pursue a career in this field.
- Cheerful and friendly – this is probably the key to success in this field; sure, you need other attributes and skills, but when dealing with people, especially those who are yet to have their caffeine fix, a smile will go a long way.
- Attention to detail – This is in all regards to the product that you will be responsible for creating. What you give the customer must be well presented and taste great.
- Reliable and hardworking – Working as a barista is not an easy task, and this is because you are on your feet constantly and probably busy from the moment you clock in until you leave. An employer is going to want someone who they can rely on to perform consistently.
- Work well with others – You need to know how to interact with people, as this is a vital part of the job (besides making coffee, obviously), so be sure that you can work well in a team and engage well with whoever you encounter.
Start The Grind
To become a barista, you will have to put in work and effort before you even land your first job. A prime place to start is by taking an online barista course, and simply by Googling “online barista courses” you will find plenty from which to choose.
Only, be sure that the necessary boards and overseers accredit the certificate or other qualification you acquire from the site. You don’t want to take a course and find out it is not accepted.
Our advice for you would be to approach the business you hope to work for and ask about which certificates they would recommend you take.
Other than this, it is best to jump straight into the deep end and lather yourself in everything coffee (not literally). This starts off with a few essential areas that will help you once on the job.
- The lingo – If you are not aware of the differences between a Red Eye, Macchiato, and a Flat White, then you best get learning. Study the different terminology and be sure to know the contents and recipes for each of them.
- Watch tutorial videos – If you don’t have the funds to go and study a course, then there are alternatives. You can quickly jump onto sites like Youtube, where endless how-to videos will help guide you through your learning experience.
- Practice makes perfect – consider investing in a secondhand espresso machine and try your hand at making all the variations that you have learned about. If you have actually done it, then on the job will be a breeze.
- Get familiar with the equipment – Don’t just know the types of coffees that can be made, but also find out what the most popular machines are in most coffee shops and do your research on how they work.
- Understand what will be required of you – at times, your responsibilities may not be limited to making coffee. You may also have to do things like stock taking, managing a cash register, and perhaps even promoting specific products.
How Long Will It Take To Become A Barista?
The period it takes you to go from your initiation of this venture until you are a fully proficient barista, will probably be about a year-long journey. However, you could likely complete training and be working in a job within 3 months or hopefully even less if you truly put your mind to it.
Go And Get The Job
Once you have learned all the terms used in this line of work, you understand how to make the various sorts of coffees and feel confident that you are ready to take the step to become a barista, try to land the job.
Scout out the place you want to work for and go and visit a few times, even ask if you can’t perhaps speak to the manager and inquire about possible vacancies. This business, like many others, is about building relationships and then sealing the deal.
If there is no position as a barista available at any of the places you would like to work, see if you cannot start as a cashier or waitron until the opportunity arises. This will give you an in to where you want to be, and you will likely be the first in line once an opening comes around.
While you are searching for a job, be sure to carefully examine the establishment’s requirements section. Some of them want you to have a qualification and even, at times, years of experience. However, some places are willing to take people on who do not have any experience under their belts.
Try to start off in a chain coffee shop as they are usually one of the places like the abovementioned, which do not require you to have prior experience and are willing to offer you training. It may not provide the best pay, and the environment may not be exactly what you are looking for, but it could be an excellent first step.
The Final Word
At the end of the day, the coffee shop will be looking for someone equipped with the skills and abilities to make the coffees on their menu to the highest possible standard.
So if you cannot afford to do an online course, then get a book on everything about baristas. If you don’t have the money for an espresso machine, try to find a friend who does and ask them if you may use it to practice.
Always remember that just because you don’t get in at a specific place, it does not mean that you will not find somewhere that will take you on. Keep your chin up and focus on the goal.