Do you love coffee?
Is it something you’re passionate about?
While it’s true that anybody can toss some grounds into a standard, electric coffee maker and whip up a batch of drinkable Joe, making specialty coffee drinks to perfection every time is one part art and one part science.
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How To Become A Certified Barista
Mostly, anyone can learn how to become a certified barista if they’re willing to spend the time. Like anything else, it just takes practice and dedication. As the saying goes, “swing a hammer enough times, and you’re bound to get better at it.”
The same principle is true with brewing an excellent specialty coffee drink. Thirty years ago, ‘Barista’ didn’t formally exist as a profession. But with the rise of Starbucks and the explosion of popularity of coffee shops in the US, the industry has grown into a $48-Billion-dollar juggernaut. Nowadays, it can be hard for shops to find enough qualified people.
In the sections that follow, we’ll answer the following questions:
- How to become a professional barista
- How to become a barista at home
- How to become a barista with no experience
And we’ll give you other helpful and interesting information relating to the profession. Ready? Let’s get started!
How to Get Barista Experience
If you’re worried about how to get a barista job with no experience, don’t be. As we mentioned in the introduction, there’s been such an explosion in the industry that even if you’re completely untrained, the odds are excellent that you can get a job at an area coffee shop.
If you do, the manager will almost certainly put you on other duties initially: Keeping the equipment clean, greeting customers, running the register, and the like. Until eventually, you'll become familiar with the culture of the shop and with the machines.
In this case, you learn by watching and doing. Of course, if you express interest in getting certified, you’ll win points with your new boss and gain experience more quickly. See the section below on getting certified for the exact steps involved in that.
How To Become A Starbucks Barista
As the nation’s most popular chain coffee shop, it should come as no surprise that Starbucks has established their own training course. Their goal isn’t just to teach you how to be a good barista at Starbucks but to make sure you’re intimately familiar with every aspect of their operation.
When you start, you’ll spend your first several shifts in the store with the Manager, who is quite likely to have been a Learning Coach at some point earlier in his career. “Learning Coach” is a specialized position within the company whose job is to train new employees on the machines. This person helps them master how to make starbucks drinks barista training to the company’s standards.
You’ll also be given a training booklet in a three-ring binder on how to be a starbucks barista that covers things like:
- The coffee itself
- Company standards on equipment cleaning
- How-tos, covering both cleaning and operation of the equipment
- General tips on machine maintenance
- Understanding the duty roster
And so forth.
Learning coaches also frequently utilize tools like “coffee dice.” This gamifies the learning process. They roll two dice which have various drink configurations on them: iced, hot, decaf, regular, a type of syrup, a particular beverage, etc. Based on what’s rolled, you, the new employee have to figure out how to write and call out the drink in question, then make it.
Trainers may also use a “Cappuccino training cup,” which is a tumbler with lines marked on it that give you a graphic display of the milk to foam ratio for a latte or cappuccino. A good barista will be able to get the mix right without even thinking about it, and that’s what you should aspire to be.
Most Starbucks employees wear green aprons, but occasionally you see someone dressed in a black one. That’s not a sign of Management, but rather, the black apron signifies that the person is a Coffee Master.
These are individuals who have undergone extensive and ongoing training, and honestly, they’ve probably forgotten more about specialty coffee drinks than most people know. They are the elite. The best of the best. If you have a Coffee Master working at your store, spend as much time as you can learning from them.
As to how to apply for a barista job at Starbucks, you can do that online at the company’s website: https://www.starbucks.com/careers/working-at-starbucks
How To Get Barista Certification
The first thing you’ll want to do is to become a member of the SCAA (Specialty Coffee Association of America).
Once you are a member, you may also want to join the Barista Guild of America:
Become a Member
From the Barista Guild’s website, the following are the current requirements for certification:
- Seed to Cup (CB100) (eLearning or attend an Origin Trip)
- Espresso and Milk Steaming Fundamentals Part 1 (CP101)
- Espresso and Milk Steaming Fundamentals Part 2 (CP102)
- Customer Service Essentials CP103 (eLearning)
- Brewing and Extraction Principles (CP151)
- Brewing and Extraction Principles Applied (CP152)
- Orientation to SCAA Cupping (GE103)
- Barista Level 1 Written Exam (EXM_BW1) (eExam)
- Barista Level 1 Practical Exam (EXM_BP1)
- Barista Code of Conduct (CP000)
You can also get some practical, hands-on experience at home if you’re willing to invest some money in an automatic espresso machine. Try to practice making specialty drinks for yourself, your family and your friends.
If you’re going this route, you should check out Youtube for training videos to make sure you’re doing it properly. Here’s one such example: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfo11SnF790zy3SV_pD9qCQ
Armed with some home equipment and the videos on that channel, you can progress quite far! Of course, you still won’t be certified until you complete the coursework described above. However, you can set yourself up for success by practicing at home first.
How To Write A Cover Letter For A Barista Job
If you’re wondering how to get a job as a barista, in most cases, that’s as simple as applying at coffee houses near you. Even if you have no experience, there’s such a demand these days, wherein most people will be willing to train you on the fly. Therefore, you’ll pick up your experience the old fashioned way: learning by doing.
In terms of maximizing your chances of landing the position you want, don’t just fill out the job application and attach a copy of your resume. Take the extra step of writing a short cover letter.
It might seem a little old school, but there’s a hidden advantage in doing so. Whereas the resume is just a bland recount of your job skills, a cover letter gives you an opportunity to let a prospective employer see your enthusiasm and personality on paper.
You can find a great sample cover letter here:
As this page indicates, you want to make sure you’re using plenty of powerful “action verbs” to catch the eye of the person reading your letter:
And so forth. Remember, while your resume tells a prospective employer about the skills you bring to the table, your cover letter is your “pitch.” This is your chance to sell the boss on why he or she should pick you over all the other applicants, so make it count!
How Long Does It Take To Become A Barista
This part depends almost entirely on you. If you’re motivated and have the time for it, you can probably knock out each module in two hours or so. If you’re trying to balance your studies with working another job and taking care of related business, it could take as long as a couple of months.
It would be highly unusual for it to take longer than that, but again, each person is different. A good rule of thumb would be 2 weeks to 2 months, depending on how much time you have to devote to the task.
How To Become A Certified Barista Conclusion
So, do you think you have what it takes to become a barista?
Even if you don’t want to get certified and do it professionally, if you love coffee, it’s a skill that won’t take you terribly long to learn. Just imagine the fun you’ll have when making a dazzling array of specialty coffee drinks for your friends and family! We hope that this guide on how to become a certified barista has helped you.
If you're opening a small coffee shop, you might want to check out our Best Commercial Superautomatic Espresso Machines review.