Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: Coffee Rookie - my journey so far

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    27

    Coffee Rookie - my journey so far

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    This is kind of a reflective blog-style post that Id like to share. If its too off topic please feel free to modify/delete (@ mods)

    Early this year I developed a new interest in coffee and decided to plunge into the world of cafes and baristas. Having went and gotten a Tafe Cert I spent ages trying to find a job, no one would hire me as I had 0 experience, not even chain stores. I even bought a Breville to practice at home as well as to satisfy my developing coffee needs* ;D

    I managed to get a couple of trials here and there, but wasnt really ever satisfied; baristas working at these places were mostly people my age (late teens, early 20s) who were used to syrup and sugar laden coffee drinks and didnt get my enthusiam about coffee and its presentation (i.e.-latte art), they thought it was cool, but to them, at the end of the day it was just coffee

    After that stage I started working at a kinda upmarket chain store. Started off as a customer service/register guy but was moved to barista work after a couple of months, even despite my lack of commercial experience, my enthusiasm on what little coffee related knowledge I had, and practise at home paid off, especially in the milk department - my boss and the more experienced baristas were impressed. Needed fine tuning, but for 0 experience I was complemented on my microfoams quality and shiny finish! :P

    Fast foward a few more months; Im now working as junior barista, still fine tuning my milk, trying to get consistency and currently working to get my shots better. Though Ive never been at a cupping session at my work Ive been slowly trying to train my palette to define certain tastes and textures by trying shots, definitely not at Coffee Snob level, but its a start.

    This is where my rant kicks in about my current predicament. Since its a chain store, there are certain franchise expectations and restraints that Ive come across. One main thing I feel holding me back is connecting with the customer (as its called). Given my introverted nature Ive found it hard to do this. Ive come out of my shell a tiny bit more, but having never done much customer service related work (I was previously at a junior office position, working once every couple of weeks if I was lucky), Im finding it a bit full on having to try and chat with as many customers as I can.

    This leads onto another state of uncertainty in my mind. A friend/colleague (whose spent the last 8 years working in various hospitality and cafe positions), noticing my enthusiasm and knack for coffee, suggested that I should try and work at a more boutique cafe/roastery, to further develop my skills and experience, as he knew people and advised me to scout around (coincidentally the place he mentioned is a CS sponsor and ive also been a customer ;)) He also felt that at the end of the day, the place im working at can only go so far given its corporate nature.

    So thats my story so far, if theres any advice or criticisms please share!

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    581

    Re: Coffee Rookie - my journey so far

    Hi Boos

    Firstly, I like your post and enthusiasm to get into the industry. Just keep in mind that it is a service industry and if you can engage with the customers it will make the feel of the cafe better and more memorable for the customer. This increases the chance of repeat business.

    Have fun with it and enjoy the journey

  3. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    27

    Re: Coffee Rookie - my journey so far

    Thanks Ronin,

    I completely understand the idea of connecting with the customer within the context of a cafe environment, the importance of building that customer base etc. A majority of the people Ive come across seem appreciate the effort. Im finding that even something as simple as a smile, thanks or hows your day been can go a long way.

    Id rather not divulge too much info, but lets just say that despite my efforts Im still being pressured to connect by certain individuals, and i think its getting to me :-/

  4. #4
    Senior Member GregWormald's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    2,288

    Re: Coffee Rookie - my journey so far

    "Connecting" to your customers doesnt have to be a personal thing. You are not trying to make personal friends, you are contributing to a welcoming, comfortable atmosphere. Its a professional skill.

    Make some eye contact, say hello, be polite, wish people a good day or some other positive, and listen to their responses. This would be a good start.

    Greg

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    581

    Re: Coffee Rookie - my journey so far

    Quote Originally Posted by 1A2F383A0A322F303C31395D0 link=1317037977/3#3 date=1317086520
    Make some eye contact, say hello, be polite, wish people a good day or some other positive, and listen to their responses. This would be a good start.
    Agreed Greg.
    I would also add that people like to talk about themselves, so ask about them. Make it all about them. Ask and listen to the responce. Make a generic joke (nothing that will offend anyone) and include the customer. As a site sponsor ex-employee, I remember 1 staff member use a particular joke every 10 min or so. The customer didnt know, just keep in mind there are others around who will eventually ask you to use another joke (like other employees :)). Friendly banter is good and can be carried from customer to customer, as the next in line usually hears the talk in front of them.

    Quote Originally Posted by 1F32322E1138385D0 link=1317037977/2#2 date=1317077055
    Id rather not divulge too much info, but lets just say that despite my efforts Im still being pressured to connect by certain individuals, and i think its getting to me*
    Try not to let it get you down, but use it as a learning expierence. Learn what you can where you are, and continue to improve your coffee & customer service so when a better place of employment comes your way, you are ready for it.* ;)

  6. #6
    Senior Member sidewayss's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Perth, Western Australia.
    Posts
    1,434

    Re: Coffee Rookie - my journey so far

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Quote Originally Posted by 04312624142C312E222F27430 link=1317037977/3#3 date=1317086520
    Make some eye contact, say hello, be polite, wish people a good day or some other positive, and listen to their responses. This would be a good start.
    THanks for your post and speaking from your mind Boos,

    The highlighted requirements are a must for anyone applying for a job in any industry.

    In addition to that, make sure you are well groomed and take some care in your visual presentation.

    Show that youre passionate about the product.
    The coffee. How and why you enjoy it. Its reason why you want to have a job you enjoy drinking.

    You dont have to be over enthusiastic when you are speaking to them. As long as you listen, make eye contact, and speak in a clear voice and be willing to ask many questions so that you dont look like youre just bumming around for a job.

    At interviews, its about how you relate to the interviewer and how well you can communicate with each other and feeling comfortable doing it.
    They look at how you fit in with the group in a work situation.
    So certainly a bit of appropriate humour doesnt go astray if not overdone.

    The first real job is always the hardest to get.

    As Ronin mentioned, dont let disappointments get you down.
    Try and try again.
    Your chances increase when you try as many potential places as possible.

    An idea i can suggest is to ask a speciality cafe if you can work as a counterhand or work experience cleaning up.
    That can lead to something when the time is right.
    In that meantime, learn along the way and enjoy the experience.
    They may think this guy shows promise because he wants to learn and deserves a good go.

    Gary at G



Similar Threads

  1. Lintong Coffee Journey....(by google translate)
    By alfadrian_syah in forum General Coffee Related...
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 18th April 2013, 09:40 PM
  2. My Coffee Journey to a Duetto
    By kenwahoo in forum Brewing Equipment - Extreme Machines ($3000+)
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 14th February 2013, 11:06 AM
  3. Rookie mistake
    By SilentBoB in forum Grinders
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: 8th February 2012, 11:56 PM
  4. A rookie mistake
    By shapeshifter in forum General Coffee Related...
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 10th April 2011, 09:49 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •