South Philly Barbacoa: How to become a barista

In today’s world full of coffee lovers and amazing coffee shops, being a barista has quickly become one of society’s most wanted jobs. However, contrary to popular belief, this occupation is more than just pouring cups of coffee as it covers so much more behind the scenes.

Here at South Philly Barbacoa, we recognise that most of our readers are coffee lovers as shown by our high coffee machine sales. With this in mind, we wanted to provide you with some tips that we think can help you achieve your dream of becoming a barista! So without further ado, here are some simple yet useful tips that you can follow:

Practice basic social skills

Being a barista is considered a retail job which means that you’ll have to work closely with tons of customers every day. That’s why one of the first and most important things you need to work on is your social skills.

Some people are born with exceptional social skills but others aren’t, but that’s perfectly normal. What’s important is that you recognise your shortcomings with this specific skill and you go out of your way to practice it.

By equipping yourself with the basic social skills, you’ll be able to connect better with the customers you encounter every day. Always remember that being friendly goes a long way! When your customers feel like they’re being valued, they’ll be more likely to keep coming back to your coffee shop.

Moreover, you won’t feel anxious when dealing with difficult people which brings us to our next point.

Be patient

One of the things that retail workers loath the most is difficult customers. Unfortunately, you’ll get to deal with these people, whether you like it or not as it’s normal in an industry like this which is why practising patience is important.

Let’s face it, some of these people can get on your nerves. However, you can’t burst out your emotions in front of them as it can jeopardize your job. On top of that, it can also put a stain on the company you’re working for.

Being patient is also an important skill to have in this industry given the different problems that you’ll encounter throughout the day. This may include problems regarding the coffee machine, the cash register or anything in between. Just remember to brace yourself for everything that comes your way because anything can happen during your shift.

Practice being calm while under pressure

Working under pressure is not an easy feat and there are not many people that can do it. However, it’s not impossible as it can be attained through thorough training and with a little help from your superiors and colleagues.

At first glance, coffee shops may seem like tranquil workplaces. Although this is true to some extent, there are some specific times within the day when the shop will be swarming with customers who are eager to get their daily fix.

This shouldn’t faze you in any way as it can hinder you from doing your job properly. Instead, keep your composure and do one task at a time and you’ll be surprised to see that you’ve served all the customers their drinks. Once you get used to this kind of pressure, it will feel like a daily routine for you.

Learn about your craft

A great starting point for when you want to be good at something is learning all about it. The same goes for becoming a barista. The more you understand how each kind of coffee is made and the work that goes into making them, the better you’ll be at your job. Aside from that, you’ll also get a newfound appreciation for your craft the more you study it!

What’s convenient about this tip is that you have a variety of ways to study your craft. One of the most common ways is to read about it, whether it be through online articles or books. With the accessibility of the internet available today, there’s no excuse why you shouldn’t at least read about being a barista before applying to become one.

Moreover, you won’t have to look far if you want to get a better understanding of becoming a barista as you can ask for tips and advice from your superiors and colleagues. These people share the same passion, experience and sentiment as you which makes them the most credible sources for new pieces of information.

Practice at home

Being a barista doesn’t conform you to the four walls of a coffee shop. You can bring this experience with you at home where you can hone your skills even further! Thankfully, the tools that you need to practice your craft can be used in your household which means that you can put them to use as well!

Once you practice your skills at home, you can bring your newfound knowledge to your workplace and be a better barista!

Troubleshoot problems

Because being a barista requires you to work with machines, you have to be ready to perform various troubleshooting activities. This way, whenever they break down during the middle of the day, you’ll know the right steps to take to fix them.

You can’t afford to panic when these machines run into problems because they’ll keep happening from time to time, whether you like it or not.

Moreover, knowing how these machines work should already be etched into your mind as you’ll deal with them every day. Whether it be coffee grinders, espresso machines and more, you should know how each of them works and how to fix them when things go wrong.

Listen attentively

Although coffee shops come with their menus, some customers prefer to modify their drinks or order something unique. When this happens, you need to listen attentively to your customer and remember every detail to make the drink that they want.

This is a vital part of being a successful barista because it can make or break the drink itself. More importantly, it can affect the health of your customers. 

For example, if someone is allergic to a specific ingredient, they’ll make it a point to state it while they’re ordering. If you forget to note this and accidentally include that specific ingredient, you can risk the health of your customer.

Learn how to multitask

The thing about being a barista is that you’re not limited to one specific task. Instead, you’re going to be working alongside your co-workers like a well-oiled machine where all of you are assigned to a specific set of things to do.

Aside from tending to the counter for customers’ orders, you also need to work in the kitchen to brew, mix and pour their drinks yourself. This example is just barely scratching the surface, but if you prepare yourself for this kind of multitasking, then you’ll be doing just fine.

We recommend focusing on one task at a time and working your way through the others. For example, if there are several orders on the waiting list, we recommend brewing them one by one before making the finishing touches. This way, everyone can get their drinks fast and nobody will complain about their drinks being cold.

Know the different items on the menu

Before you even apply for a coffee shop, you must first have an ample amount of ideas about the different items on the menu. These shops usually have staple items which are all-time classics such as the espressos, americanos, lattes, etc. You can start by learning these essentials and work your way to the more unique drinks that the shop offers.

Be creative

Sometimes, you’re given a certain level of freedom when making different types of coffee drinks and that’s where great baristas shine best. Have you ever wondered why some coffee shops have beverages that are named after a person on their menu? Chances are, these drinks are created by the shop’s barista.

By letting out your inner creativity in making delicious coffee drinks, you can come up with something new and delicious that can be added to the shop’s menu. Don’t be afraid to experiment as there’s no harm in trying! You can mix up different ingredients and methods in the kitchen and whether it turns out to be good or bad, the important thing is that you tried.

Become the best barista you can be!

Now that you’ve learned about the different tips for becoming a fully-fledged barista, it’s time for you to try out your dream coffee shop! There’s no risk in trying and with these tips in mind, you’ll be surprised how various companies will perceive you when you apply for their open positions.

For more content like this, feel free to explore our website here at South Philly Barbacoa!

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