A barista


Baristas prepare specialised types of coffee using professional equipment in a hospitality/coffee shop/bar unit. 

The duties of a barista include, but are not limited to:

  • Preparing coffee, espresso, tea, or other beverages by hand or machine
  • Cleaning equipment and work stations between uses to ensure sanitation standards are met
  • Making recommendations to customers about drink selections that suit their tastes
  • Recording drink orders in a logbook or computerized system for future reference
  • Preparing and serving food items such as sandwiches, salads, and other snacks
  • Upselling products such as smoothies, snacks, or alcoholic beverages to increase sales revenue
  • Preparing coffee beans for grinding and brewing using machines such as espresso machines and drip coffee makers
  • Explaining the process of making coffee or other beverages to customers who are unfamiliar with it
  • Maintaining an inventory of supplies such as coffee beans, filters, cups, mugs, and sweeteners

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to barista:

coffee maker
specialised bartender
specialised coffee bartender
coffee bartender

Working conditions

Baristas typically work in coffee shops, where they take customers’ orders and prepare and serve coffee and other drinks. They may also work in restaurants, cafes, or other food service establishments.

Baristas typically work full time, although some may work part time, evenings, or weekends. Some baristas may be required to work early morning or overnight shifts. The work can be fast paced and sometimes stressful, especially during busy times. Baristas must be able to multitask and stay calm under pressure. They must also be able to work quickly and efficiently while maintaining a high level of customer service.

Minimum qualifications

No formal educational credential is generally required to work as a barista. Some employers may prefer candidates who have completed a high school diploma, or a barista course. These courses teach baristas the basics of preparing coffee drinks, including the correct way to brew coffee, steam milk and use espresso machines.

Baristas typically receive on-the-job training from their new employer. This training may include learning the specific coffee-making methods and equipment the establishment uses, as well as the preferred brewing methods for each type of coffee. Baristas may also learn how to clean and maintain the coffee-making equipment.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Barista is a Skill level 2 occupation.

Barista career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to barista.

quick service restaurant team leader
hotel concierge
restaurant host/restaurant hostess
hotel butler

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of barista. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of barista with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

venue director
pastry chef
restaurant manager
rooms division manager
hospitality entertainment manager

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of barista.

  • Comply with food safety and hygiene: Respect optimal food safety and hygiene during preparation, manufacturing, processing, storage, distribution and delivery of food products.
  • Educate customers on tea varieties: Instruct customers about origins, characteristics, differences in flavours and blends of tea products.
  • Maintain relationship with customers: Build a lasting and meaningful relationship with customers in order to ensure satisfaction and fidelity by providing accurate and friendly advice and support, by delivering quality products and services and by supplying after-sales information and service.
  • Greet guests: Welcome guests in a friendly manner in a certain place.
  • Handle customer complaints: Administer complaints and negative feedback from customers in order to address concerns and where applicable provide a quick service recovery.
  • Upsell products: Persuade customers to buy additional or more expensive products.
  • Handover the service area: Leave service area in conditions which follow safe and secure procedures, so that it is ready for the next shift.
  • Set up the coffee area: Set the coffee area so that it is ready and in conditions which follow safe and secure procedures, so that it is ready for the upcoming shift.
  • Take food and beverage orders from customers: Accept orders from customers and record them into the Point of Sale system. Manage order requests and communicate them to fellow staff members.
  • Maintain customer service: Keep the highest possible customer service and make sure that the customer service is at all times performed in a professional way. Help customers or participants feel at ease and support special requirements.
  • Work in a hospitality team: Function confidently within a group in hospitality services, in which each has his own responsibility in reaching a common goal which is a good interaction with the customers, guests or collaborators and their contentment.
  • Maintain equipment for non-alcoholic drinks: Operate and care for the coffee and espresso machine and blending and juicing equipment. Thoroughly clean the machinery at the end of each business day.
  • Maximise sales revenues: Increase possible sales volumes and avoid losses through cross-selling, upselling or promotion of additional services.
  • Work according to recipe: Perform tasks in food preparation according to recipe or specification in order to preserve the quality of ingredients and to ensure replication accuracy of the recipe. Select the appropriate materials to follow the recipe, taking into account the current situation.
  • Prepare specialised coffee: Prepare coffee using specialised methods and equipment. Ensure a high quality preparation process.
  • Educate customers on coffee varieties: Instruct customers about origins, characteristics, differences in flavours and blends of coffee products.
  • Present decorative drink displays: Show drinks in the most attractive way and develop decorative drink displays.
  • Prepare hot drinks: Make hot drinks by brewing coffee and tea and adequately preparing other hot beverages.
  • Execute opening and closing procedures: Apply standard opening and closing procedures for a bar, a store, a restaurant or a marketplace.
  • Check deliveries on receipt: Control that all order details are recorded, that faulty items are reported and returned and that all paperwork is received and processed, according to the purchasing procedures.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of barista. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

ISCO group and title

5132 – Bartenders

  1. Barista – ESCO
  2. Barista Job Description: Salary, Duties, & More – Climb the Ladder
  3. Featured image: Photo by Quark Studio
Last updated on November 6, 2022

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