The Dummies’ Guide to be a Barista

” Adventure in life is good; consistency in coffee even better.”

― Justina Chen Headley, North of Beautiful

picture above credits to google images


Are you a coffee lover?


Have you thought of being a barista? 
If you consider pursuing a barista career you’re in the right place.


Let me tell you my background why did I end up being a barista for almost 5 years now. 



It started in 2015 I was 23 at that time.
I was applying for a wing expert position (buffalo wings maker), but in my interview, they saw something, they knew I would fit in barista position. 
I am an energetic and engaging type of person that’s why I realized that I could be good at customer service. 

I’m currently working full-time as an exclusive barista for a Chinese company.
I even got a chance to make 3 coffee bars from scratch.
From buying types of equipment to creating a specialized menu for Chinese employees.
It’s quite challenging since they have a very opposite taste in terms of sweetness. 

Being a customer service provider taught me that it was never easy to deal with different kinds of people every day.
Through experience, I obtained my skills on how to deal with pressure physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Experiences are the best teacher,
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Just learn from those mistakes as an opportunity to be better.


Enough with the chit chat and let’s get started!


Here are some of my insights on how to be a barista. 


First Impression Lasts 

We know that every job should have a pleasing personality but being bubbly and energetic is a great characteristic of a front of the house position, especially in the cashier registry. Being professionally well-groomed and presentable with steady eye contact is very important in making an excellent first impression with customers. 


Always smile and greet



Smiling lowers stress and anxiety.Turn that frown upside-down if you want to make some friends.Customers will feel acknowledged when you smile at them and it is contagious they will smile back at you. Greet lively and be mindful of what time of day so you can greet them accordingly. Make it a habit to use their first name to make it feel comfortable and welcomed.


Are you an engaging type of person? You could be perfect to be a barista. Greet them using their name, and make sure you continue using it throughout the conversation. Using their name puts them at ease and helps them feel like you care about them personally and professionally. Ask a few personal questions as “icebreakers”, and then move into professional mode. Remember don’t get too personal. Always know your limitations. 

 If you’re a bit shy don’t worry you it will take time your shyness will go away. Practice small talks while facing a mirror at home make it a habit every day. 


Handling complaints.


credits to pinterest

You may need to have a lot of patience when you are working in a customer service industry its’ quite challenging. 
You have to deal with different types of behavior like irate customers and you should be able to handle situations smoothly while under pressure.

Remain calm and don’ take it personally.

Remember, the customer is not angry with you, they are displeased with the performance of your product or the quality of the service you provide. Your personal feelings are beside the point. 
Taking training on how you can handle such situations is very helpful. 


Always know what is the problem.
Listening patiently can defuse a situation, as long as the customer feels acknowledged in his or her complaint. Hear them out.

When they are done talking, apologize to what happened. 

Summarize with what you heard and ask any questions to further clarify their complaint.
Body language can be critically important here. Keep eye contact. Show how closely you’re paying attention to their problem.

credits to pinterest

Get Smart!

Learn the basics

First to exceed on something you should know the basics. 
Study and learn about the world of coffee and tea. 
You might need some information for your interview. 
Being well prepared for something you want to apply will give you more chances to be hired. 

Being familiar 
Know your coffee

Being familiar with the components of each drink is the best way to memorize each recipe. 
Try skipping notes from time to time while memorizing and you will be amazed that you can already enumerate it confidently.

You can’t sell something that you don’t know.
Some customers don’t really know what to order.
Ask them what do they prefer drinking?

Do they want something hot or cold drink?
Make them feel welcome, be approachable.
If you have the confidence to explain the menu they will more likely to agree with your suggestions because you’re knowledgeable they will trust you.

credits to google images

Bar Items

Each equipment and tools have different uses. 

Check it out!

Here are some important items that are very essential to a barista. 

Coffee beans -fresh whole beans to be ground before extraction to make espresso. The two most commonly grown are Robusta and Arabica.  It has different kinds of roasting styles.

credits to

Grinder – a grinder to make a fine sand-like coffee grinds.

Espresso machine – brews coffee by forcing pressurized water near boiling point through a “puck” of ground coffee and a filter to produce a thick, concentrated coffee called espresso also called shot or espresso shot. 

Milk – fresh milk, low fat, soy milk, and other milk alternatives are used for creating perfect steamed milk. 

Steaming wand – is a small solid metal pipe about 5 centimeters in length and is part of the machine design it is used to steam milk.

Steaming/frothing pitcher -frothing pitcher is a pitcher designed to froth milk for use in hot espresso drinks such as lattes or cappuccinos.

Milk thermometer -one of the tools that you need to help in steaming the milk to the perfect temperature while also achieving glossy and creamy microfoam that is used to make latte art. 
Having the right temperature affects the taste of steamed milk.

Towel – use for sanitizing bar counter tops and wiping excess ground beans in the portafilter.

Sharpie -having a marker is very important for cup marking into every order and customization or guest’s requests.


L – Latte 

ML – Mocha Latte 

CMAC – Caramel Macchiato 

SF- Sugar-Free

3% – Whole milk

1%– Non-Fat milk

SPL – Splenda

STV – Stevia



Getting Dirty

When making a hand-crafted coffee it will be very messy.
Spilled milk, coffee stains everywhere, whipped cream splatter on walls, ground coffee on the floor and, wet floor. 

credits to

That is CLEAN AS YOU GO or CAYGo is should be a habit.
Regularly cleaning will prevent dirt, bacteria, and allergens from spreading onto food.
Cleaning the whole store is needed from comfort room, floor, smudgy window, and glass doors with fingerprint. No one wants to drink coffee with a filthy coffee shop.
So keep it sparkly clean.

Cash register or till – a mechanical or electronic device for registering and calculating transactions at a point of sale. It is usually attached to a drawer for storing cash and other valuables. A modern cash register is usually attached to a printer that can print out receipts for record-keeping purposes.

You will encounter a cash register when you are already familiarized with bar operations. 

Calibration and troubleshoot

You can’t serve a perfect coffee if your equipment is not calibrated. 
It will take time for you to memorize all troubleshooting techniques. 
Get help from your manager on how to calibrate each equipment.


If you are in war you should have a lot of bullets to survive. 

It’s the same with a coffee shop. Well stocked items will give you smooth-sailing floor management. 
Always stock items in opening or closing shifts. 
Be mindful of running low products to avoid shortages on products.

Practice makes perfect
Memorizing recipes for each hand-crafted drink won’t be easy for a newbie, but as days go by it will be easy peasy for you. 

Consistency and dedication are all you need. 
Put all your heart out and do it passionately. 


Latte Art 

 Latte Art – a method of preparing coffee created by pouring microfoam into a shot of espresso and resulting in a pattern or design on the surface of the latte. It can also be created or embellished by simply “drawing” in the top layer of foam. Latte art is particularly difficult to create consistently, due to the demanding conditions required of both the espresso shot and milk.

Making perfect steamed milk is hard to do when you are a newbie.

Don’t worry you’ll get a hang of it. Try watching latter art videos and you’ll make a heart or rosetta latte art in no time. 

So there you go. 

I hope this will help you to know and understand how to be a barista.

Whatever you want to pursue in life don’t be afraid to try.
It’s better to try than never risk at all.


“The big secret in life is there is no secret. Whatever your goal. You can get there if you’re willing to work.” ― Oprah Winfrey

Marie Chellene Mendoza

Keep pouring your passion


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