Barista Training: What Can You Expect?

Many people assume that to become a barista, one must simply obtain a job at a coffee shop. However, as barista jobs become more popular and complex, the expectations of employers has grown. To help baristas keep up with the growing demands of the booming specialized cofee business, specialized barista training schools have opened in an effort to train baristas to become true professionals in the coffee industry.

Barista Training Information

Barista training is designed to help both new and seasoned baristas learn and understand everything that is needed to be a successful and competent specialized coffee professional. While many baristas do receive hands-on training when they gain employment with a coffee shop (Starbucks, for example, provides extensive training) that does not necessarily mean they have all of the information needed to be a competent and knowledgeable barista.

Barista training schools are designed to provide baristas with in-depth knowledge, as well as the hands-on training needed to completely understand the job.

The Duties of a Barista

A barista is more than someone who simply serves coffee to customers. Baristas need to have extensive knowledge of the different kinds of both espresso and coffee beans, as well as how to properly make beverages. Baristas also need to understand the depth and taste of different beverages. Becoming a successful barista requires intense attention to detail, as well as the ability to talk to customers on a daily basis. The day-to-day duties of a barista also include keeping the kitchen and coffee shop properly cleaned, as well as correctly stocking and ordering the appropriate foods and shop necessities.

A barista must also be willing to abide by the standards and regulations set not only by the company in which he or she works, but by the Food and Drug Administration, as well as OSHA, and more. Typically, baristas must learn and completely understand the regulations and standards before being allowed to handle food and beverages.

Working with customers on a daily basis is also a large part of a barista’s job. Many customers frequent the same coffee shop on a daily basis. A barista needs to have the ability to build lasting relationships with every customer who walks through the door of the coffee shop.

Choosing a Barista Training School

For individuals who are interested in attending a barista training school, there are a variety of schools and classes available. Many schools offer coursework designed for casual coffee enthusiasts, new baristas, and advanced baristas.

The type of barista training school chosen will depend entirely on what the interested individual wants to learn. Not all schools offer all courses. Many schools may only offer a two day barista training course while other institutions offer up to 5 day courses – see the Seattle Barista Academy as an example.

Many people who attend barista school are interested in opening a coffee shop. Barista school can benefit these individuals and not only teach them about coffee, but how to run a coffee shop, as well.

Many major cities have barista training schools. As the profession becomes more popular, more schools will open and become available to those living in smaller towns. For individuals who may not be able to attend a physical class, certain barista schools offer online classes.

Barista School Coursework and Certification

Individuals who undergo barista training at a school or institution can expect to learn a vast amount of information. Typical coursework for barista school includes the history of espresso, developing the taste for espresso, as well as how to grind, dose, distribute, and tamp espresso. Other coursework also includes how to properly operate and clean an espresso machine, how to make beverages, how to pour beverages, milk steaming procedures, and how to handle customers. The coursework is designed to cover all bases of working as a barista.

Becoming certified as a barista takes more than attending class. Specialty Coffee Associations exist all over the world. Baristas must contact the Specialty Coffee Association to become certified. Baristas must also join the Barista guild before becoming certified. Certification is given through the Barista Guild. Baristas can become certified at three levels. Each certification level requires a certain amount of experience. However, individuals entering into level one certification classes do not need any experience.

Baristas who have attended barista school before taking the level one exam may be exempt from taking many of the required courses offered by the Specialty Coffee Association. To pass the exams, students must have a passing score of 80% on the written portion, and a 90% on the practical portion of the exam.