Passed down through generations of baristas I bring upon to you the greatest of great hacks & tips that have made my life easier and many a superstar barista, well…superstar.
Although being a barista is alluring in itself, it is by a long shot not stress free. As anyone in hospitality will tell you it can be a dark place. At times requiring a cheshire cat grin to be fixated on your face as you lose your mind tending to customers. Customers of whom I will add we are conditioned to believe are always right (not the case). Having said that i’m here today to make life easier for one and all. Whether you want to become a barista or take your barista skills to boss level status I’ve pulled my top 4 ways to be better.
1. Love Thy Specialty Coffee
This sounds obvious but taste the coffee. Without trying the coffee you wont be able to get it tasting good. Follow espresso/ filter recipes, but also make your own recipes to improve standards. Dial in the coffee, taste, tweak, repeat. If a coffee runs off recipe, be sure to redial it in. The barista is only as good as the coffee he or she has dialled in, but also never forget the coffee is only as good as the roaster and the quality of bean.
2. Clean Freak
Cleanliness is godliness in the barista hustle life. Many baristas fail to realise the drink is never over after it is made. The group head should be purged, portafilter emptied, milk jug rinsed, cups and saucers cleaned…..all in prep for the next drink. With it your coffee station should be treated hopefully like your home…clean and tidy for all to appreciate. Cleaning is essential for a top barista so clean before, during and after service. OCD definitely helps with this one.
3. Practice Makes Perfect
Being a barista requires a passion to perfect your trade. Be it brewing, latte art, coffee knowledge, organisation, customer service, you should want to keep developing yourself. Taking your Latte Art from a simple heart to a full on cast of Swan Lake is a great achievement. Take pride and flaunt what you know to customers and colleagues alike. These achievements get noticed.
4. Work Smart
Be able to cope with both quiet and busy service. Fill your time with productivity and streamline where possible to make life easier. Steaming milk for multiple drinks can be a game changer when busy, but also think outside the box. We double up a distributor as a tamper to apply consistent pressure whilst evenly spreading coffee grounds. This works for us but find your special technique. Speed, consistency and quality are fundamental to become great at what you do.
Now wipe that smile off your face and get back to work!