What Is A Barista?

Are you currently asking yourself what a barista is? We’re here to help.

To cut a long story short, a barista is a person that has been professionally trained to be able to prepare all types of different espresso-based caffeinated drinks, although it can also be used to refer to someone who is highly-skilled at preparing all kinds of coffee drinks.

What Is A Barista?
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Over the years, the role of a barista (see also “How Much Do Bartenders Make?“) has generally become a term that refers to a person who has been trained to prepare a variety of coffee drinks (including cappuccinos and lattes) .

However, a traditional barista is someone who has been professionally trained to create espresso coffee drinks only.

To help make sure you know exactly what a barista is, we’re going to be taking a closer look at this role today.

In this guide, we are going to be providing you with a helpful breakdown of everything that consists of being a barista, as well as the qualifications you might need to become one.

Just read on!

Where Does The Term “Barista” Come From?

As you might have already been able to guess, the term “Barista” originates from Italy, where it roughly translates to “bartender”.

Initially, the term barista was used to refer to people that were given the role of preparing and serving all types of beverages, including alcohol and coffee drinks. However, over the years, the term is much more commonly given to those that serve coffee drinks only.

What Does A Barista Do?

To put it simply,  a barista is a professionally trained individual who is tasked with the responsibility of preparing and serving a variety of different caffeinated drinks and beverages.

Traditionally, the role of a barista was intended to be a person who was professionally trained to prepare and serve espresso-based coffee drinks, but over the years, the role has loosened to include a variety of additional coffee beverages. 

More often than not, a barista will work in either a coffee shop, coffee house or a similar establishment that serves coffee.

Despite the fact that this role might sound simple, commercial espresso machines can be very complex and difficult to use, and require technical knowledge and skill.

It is also worth noting that commercial espresso machines often tend to range in difficulty level, which means that no two are the same. 

What Is A Barista?
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Do You Have To Be Trained To Be A Barista?

Even though there are many different ways that a person can become an accomplished barista, there’s no denying that extensive training will be required in order to become a barista.

Besides having to make sure that a barista will be able to use espresso machines safely and efficiently, there’s a lot of skill and knowledge required to be able to prepare the espresso-based coffee drinks, so technical experience is a must. 

But, how is the necessary experience acquired to be able to begin working as a barista?

Well, more often than not, trainee baristas will often be given the choice to either learn hands-on experience on the job while being supervised by an experienced barista, or alternatively to attend a training course in order to help them acquire the necessary skills.

In some instances, both options might be offered in order to ensure safety, efficiency and professionalism. 

In addition to this, in order to ensure total proficiency, the training provided to trainee baristas will often range all the way from learning what all of the different syrups and creamers are, all the way to learning how to operate complex machinery safely and efficiently.

During training, trainee baristas will also be encouraged to spend time honing their skills and individual technique through the preparation of everyday coffee drinks and learning how to prepare specialized drinks. 

For the most part, most baristas will only ever be required to make and prepare basic coffee drinks that you can get everyday.

However, there are some baristas that are known for specializing in certain areas of coffee making, including things such as coffee roasting, cold-brewing coffee, latte art and more.

These additional skills are usually honed while on the job training, in a barista’s own time or even through undertaking additional training courses.

What Career Prospects Do Baristas Have?

Given the fact that the role of a barista is one that requires technical skills, excellent time management and many other desirable qualities – the good news is that career prospects as a barista can be very lucrative and versatile.

For example, it may be possible to work in a variety of exciting places (such as a big hotel, vibrant coffee shop or even in a swanky restaurant) and given the fact that coffee is very popular, baristas also have the opportunity to take their skills all over the world.

Besides that, there is also the opportunity to potentially make big money through barista competitions. These competitions take place all over the world and specialize in a variety of areas of expertise within coffee making, including coffee art, brewing and more.

The Bottom Line

Just to sum up everything that we have talked about above, a barista is someone who has been professionally trained to prepare a variety of different coffee drinks.

Traditionally, a barista was a role reserved only for espresso-based coffee drinks, but over the years, the term has also become synonymous with those who have been professionally trained to prepare a variety of other coffee drinks such as the cappuccino, the latte and even the Americano. 

As well as this, in order to become a proficient barista, lengthy training must be undertaken in order to hone coffee-making techniques, as well as to ensure that the coffee-making equipment can be used safely and efficiently.

Thank you for taking the time to read through this guide, we hope that we have been able to clear up any confusion you might have had surrounding the role of a barista. Goodbye for now!

Jason Sullivan
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