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Thread: How does one become an experienced barista when...

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    How does one become an experienced barista when...

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    all of the hiring ads for barista want experienced barista, high volume, fast paced... etc ?

    Ive read Thundergods Journey but I dont think I have as much skill as him at this stage to just rock up to a cafe and ask to be given a chance. I have done Understanding & Mastering Espresso at TAFE but havent done Prepare & Serve Espresso yet.

    I went to a cafe once because they wanted to give me a trial (and on my ad I clearly specified that Im new and after some experience). I was asked to make a cappucino - but was given no time to even test the grind or anything. Needless to say they had tons of excuse to tell me why they dont want me (but didnt you see my ad say that Im inexperienced ? >:()

    The other option is to open my own cafe (but thats the worst idea one can think of if one isnt experienced enough).

    Id love to hear from anyone:
    1 - how you got your foot in the door to become a barista ?
    2 - what are some of the ways to get yourself hired (perhaps as a trainee to start) ?

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    Re: How does one become an experienced barista whe

    Quote Originally Posted by Green Bean link=1172489340/0#0 date=1172489340
    all of the hiring ads for barista want experienced barista, high volume, fast paced... etc ?

    Ive read Thundergods Journey but I dont think I have as much skill as him at this stage to just rock up to a cafe and ask to be given a chance. *I have done Understanding & Mastering Espresso at TAFE but havent done Prepare & Serve Espresso yet.

    I went to a cafe once because they wanted to give me a trial (and on my ad I clearly specified that Im new and after some experience). *I was asked to make a cappucino - but was given no time to even test the grind or anything. *Needless to say they had tons of excuse to tell me why they dont want me (but didnt you see my ad say that Im inexperienced ? *>:()

    The other option is to open my own cafe (but thats the worst idea one can think of if one isnt experienced enough).

    Id love to hear from anyone:
    1 - how you got your foot in the door to become a barista ?
    2 - what are some of the ways to get yourself hired (perhaps as a trainee to start) ?
    Hi Green,

    As a trainer and now ex-cafe owner (WOO HOO!!! :D) Id suggest that you do Prepare and Serve. If youre in Melbourne, The Coffee Academy is a great place to start.

    I often would bin 95 of 100 CVs when I advertised for staff. Prep. and serve will help you get a foot in the door....

    Then, hang at one of the really good places. Offer to work for nothing in quiet times if you have to in exchange for training. If you find the right cafe, and the right mentor, and if you have the "right stuff" you will be snapped up by one of the really good places- like an Epic, Mecca, First Pour, St Ali, Maling Room or one of the other top coffee establishments around the country. Nothing can replicate the experience you will gain on the job....

    I wish you luck in your journey... If you want it, youll get it ;)

    Chris

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    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: How does one become an experienced barista whe

    Occasionally youll see an ad that doesnt say "experienced".

    Id also look out for smaller places.
    They wont be as busy and you may also have to do other things like wait tables and clean up.

    I saw an ad on a counter the other day looking for casuals to work the shop front and make the occasional coffee.
    They have a La Scala Butterfly so I felt pretty confident I could handle the machine.
    I havent applied yet as I found a better job to apply for today that might come through in quick time if I can get it.
    I still have time to apply otherwise.

    So keep looking and try for the quieter, smaller places.
    The first place I interviewed for, I made 6 coffees in an hour.
    The one I got some work at is so quiet at the moment Im not expecting another shift any time soon.

    Dont give up.


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    Re: How does one become an experienced barista whe

    Perhaps a good way to get that foothold in your average cafe is by:

    Being female and aged 18 to 22

    Trusting the machine to do all the work for you (after all, you dont know a thing about coffee making)

    And once you have that toehold...

    Dont ask "any sugar?" because the customer can always use a biro to stir it in later

    Make it nice and hot. The hotter the better. After all, its a hot drink

    Theres a drought on, so conserve water by cleaning equipment only at days end

    Save time by pre-grinding all the coffee at the beginning of the shift, or, preferably, before you lock up for the night.

    The rag to wipe the steam wand can also double up to wipe the bench of any grime, grounds, bacteria and other nasties.

    Im sure there are many more valuable pointers.

    --Robusto


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    Re: How does one become an experienced barista whe

    Robusto with all that valuable insight, if only you were female and aged 18 to 22 youd be a shoe in.

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    Re: How does one become an experienced barista whe

    Quote Originally Posted by Thundergod link=1172489340/0#4 date=1172536426
    Robusto with all that valuable insight, if only you were female and aged 18 to 22 youd be a shoe in.
    What makes you think Im not? ;) ;D ;D

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    Re: How does one become an experienced barista whe

    Id love to hear from anyone:
    1 - how you got your foot in the door to become a barista ?
    2 - what are some of the ways to get yourself hired (perhaps as a trainee to start) ?
    Places which do really awesome coffee will often hire you if you are passionate and committed, regardless of experience. However, these sorts of places will usually want people who can work a significant number of shifts per week, as they are going to have to invest a bit in training you. Places that dont really care about coffee probably wont give a hoot what sort of coffee making experience you have. That said, Prepare and Serve or maybe even the new AASCA course are good starts.

    When dropping off CVs at cafes, its often a good idea to hand your stuff across in a manilla folder or similar. Invariably, some small business owners lose a lot of their paperwork, so making sure that they actually have it on hand helps. Im sure that I got one of my old jobs just because the cafe owner lost every single other application!

    Finally, rather than looking cafe by cafe, it might pay to go and introduce yourself to the sales reps at your local decent coffee roastery. They will often know which of the cafes that they supply need staff and will welcome the opportunity to help out their clients by putting you both in touch ... which will save you scouring a whole bunch of cafes and hoping that one of them is hiring.

    Robusto with all that valuable insight, if only you were female and aged 18 to 22 youd be a shoe in.
    No; youre only a shoe in if you can flick your hair and giggle.

    Cheers,

    Luca

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    Re: How does one become an experienced barista whe

    [QUOTE=luca link=1172489340/0#6 date=1172537562]
    Robusto with all that valuable insight, if only you were female and aged 18 to 22 youd be a shoe in.
    No; youre only a shoe in if you can flick your hair and giggle.

    Cheers,

    Luca
    In that case, checklist for barista job hunting:

    -Make appointment to get blond *wig, t-shirt and skirt
    -Make appointment for a bucket of botox....
    -Watch Seinfeld reruns to practise giggles
    -Study Paris Hilton for that air-head look

    --RoBUSTo

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    Re: How does one become an experienced barista whe

    2MCM, TG, Robusto and Luca,

    Thanks for sharing your experience and insight with me. My top priority is to get the Prepare & Serve course done first. I did the "Understanding and Master with TAFE but I cant complete the Prepare & Serve there because it requires 30 hours commercial work experience. Forsyth is the next place Im thinking of. Luca, your suggestion is particularly useful as I spent all night last night thinking how I was going to map out all the cafes I was going to visit and sell myself to ::)

    Add one more to the list : dont forget to bat your eyelids at 1000rpm.

    Thanks everyone !

    TG, by the way, Im also looking around for an internal auditor job at the moment.

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    Re: How does one become an experienced barista whe

    I got my job pretty easily. So I feel for those of you who are struggling with finding a job.

    I just walked up to the owner of the bakery one particularly busy day and said to her "You look like you need someone to just run the coffee machine." to which she replied "Yes, do you want a job?" The rest is history...:D

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    Re: How does one become an experienced barista whe

    As for the question of how to get experience when everyone wants experience. I think very few barristers would have started as barristers at the place they got experiece, most would have started work in a cafe as floor staff at places that dont have dedicated barrister positions and got there experience that way. or got promoted and trained within the place that they worked. If your lucky like I was sometimes places like this will pay for you to attend courses like prepare and serve. Was a great day out, not only did they paid for me to go, but I also got paid my normal wage to attend 8-)

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    Re: How does one become an experienced barista whe

    Quote Originally Posted by muppet_man67 link=1172489340/0#10 date=1172543400
    I think very few barristers would have started as barristers at the place they got experiece, most would have started work in a cafe as floor staff at places that dont have dedicated barrister positions and got there experience that way. or got promoted and trained within the place that they worked.
    All barristers I know started off doing articles for a law firm (and had to be admitted to the bar) before being allowed to practice...

    However baristas (or should that be baristi) - now thats different!! ;) ;D ;D

    Ill have to tell my daughter she is wasting her time doing a 5.5 year law degree at UWA.... just get a job in a cafe... ;D ;D

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    Re: How does one become an experienced barista whe

    No dont.
    The way things are going she will probably need it.

    I see you need a PhD to apply for jobs at Google these days.

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    Re: How does one become an experienced barista whe

    I understand that in small/medium business like a cafe, the owner cant afford to pay for anyone thats not productive straight away.

    But I still find it mildly irritating that a global IT company would hire a fresh grad like me (well that was 10 yrs ago :o), yet not one local cafe would want to hear from me. Oh and I did offer to work for nothing too at the time !

    I suppose me wanting to start part-time might be not so appealing as well. And sorry Im not blond or 18 - 22 :D

    The struggle continues....one shot at a time...

    Soon one will need 2 PhDs to be a cleaner!

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    Re: How does one become an experienced barista whe

    Quote Originally Posted by Thundergod link=1172489340/0#12 date=1172545066
    No dont.
    The way things are going she will probably need it.

    I see you need a PhD to apply for jobs at Google these days.
    Worry not TG, my spam imforms me that I can buy one if I just click on the link...Not that will save at least 5 years! ;D

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    Re: How does one become an experienced barista whe

    The only reason why I will be doing prepare and serve is because it is a requirement for AASCA accreditation.

    Commitment to a place and passion are very important traits I would look for in hiring a barista. A simple test is to simply get the applicant to make a coffee. Many people fail miserably. Just as an example, a girl walks in to a prospective employer and hands in her resume. It states she has completed the Serve and Prepare espresso course, yet when asked to make a coffee shes say "no no, I havent learnt that yet."

    The course is a good stepping stone to get you started, but you wont learn everything. Prepare and Serve would be better if it required AASCA type criteria like before being certified. Eg having to do the 4 caps, 4 espresso and 4 mixed order drinks in 15 minutes before being awarded the certificate. It would be much better for the industry and the student in the long run, and will go a long way in improving the coffee industry in Australia.

    I myself started off just wanting a job...any job. I applied for a cafe and got the job as a barista because I was "switched on". Eventually this job consumed me and it has become a great passion of mine. Learn as much as you can....and then continually learn. Professional development is great for you and the employer.

    When I first started training as a barista, I learnt to pull shots and then steam milk. I thought pulling shots was wayyyyy easier than steaming milk. Now it is the otherway around...perfect microfoam with my eyes closed. Pulling shots has become inherently harder because I am a perfectionist.

    Good luck in your search.

    David

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    Re: How does one become an experienced barista whe

    I convinced the guy that hired me to let me make a coffee.
    I did well enough for him to change his immediate dismissive attitude and sit down and talk.
    I think the pictures of my Expobar and Macap were then enough to convince him to give me a go.
    About a week later he called me up for some shifts.

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    Re: How does one become an experienced barista whe

    I think being able to do the AASCA-type criteria before being granted a certificate is a good idea. After all being able to do the 12 drinks in 15 minutes would probably be a minimum in a real fast-paced cafe.

    I can practice that at home...but I cant drink all the drinks myself, or can I ? ;D

    Nunu will be kept very busy roasting if I run the beans down like that ;)

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    Re: How does one become an experienced barista whe

    You can always "pretend".

    What would be wrong with using some stale grounds to practise dosing and tamping.
    You could reuse the grounds over and over.
    Prepare the saucer, spoon and sugar sachets.
    Pretend to lock and load the PF into the group and count off a 30 second pour.
    Steam some water in your milk jug and pour into your cup/s.

    That way you could simulate 12 drinks in 15 minutes without wasting fresh beans.

    When you are comfortable that you can run through the process smoothly and consistently, you might try a full dress rehearsal.

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    Re: How does one become an experienced barista whe

    Quote Originally Posted by Green Bean link=1172489340/15#17 date=1172568513
    I think being able to do the AASCA-type criteria before being granted a certificate is a good idea. After all being able to do the 12 drinks in 15 minutes would probably be a minimum in a real fast-paced cafe.

    I can practice that at home...but I cant drink all the drinks myself, or can I ? ;D

    Nunu will be kept very busy roasting if I run the beans down like that ;)

    I forgot to write in my initial post that the same rules apply....minimum score of 208/357 with WBC based performance. If "Serve and Prepare Espresso" courses (which are nationally recognised) do take this path, perhaps they should drop that down to 180/357. That would be more reasonable....then shoot for ASSCA accreditation, if professional development is important for the barista, where you need to achieve a minimum of 208/357.

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    Re: How does one become an experienced barista whe

    Quote Originally Posted by Green Bean link=1172489340/0#8 date=1172539060
    2MCM, TG, Robusto and Luca,

    Thanks for sharing your experience and insight with me. *My top priority is to get the Prepare & Serve course done first. *I did the "Understanding and Master with TAFE but I cant complete the Prepare & Serve there because it requires 30 hours commercial work experience. *Forsyth is the next place Im thinking of. *Luca, your suggestion is particularly useful as I spent all night last night thinking how I was going to map out all the cafes I was going to visit and sell myself to *::)

    Add one more to the list : dont forget to bat your eyelids at 1000rpm.

    Thanks everyone !

    TG, by the way, Im also looking around for an internal auditor job at the moment.

    Im not sure where you are, Green Bean, but at NSW TAFE "Prep and Serve" doesnt require work experience. It is often offered as part of a general Hospitality Operations course, and 30 hours work experience is a requirement for that, but my local (Southern Highlands) TAFE has offered it as a stand alone, one day course with no no experience needed.

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    Re: How does one become an experienced barista whe

    As a cafe owner I would say that a bright outlook, a cheerful disposition, and a willingness to learn, are all equally as important as any training qualifications, or work experience.

    Good luck in your quest, and dont give up!

    Cheers,

    Pat

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    Re: How does one become an experienced barista whe

    Quote Originally Posted by Viviane link=1172489340/15#20 date=1172569617
    Quote Originally Posted by Green Bean link=1172489340/0#8 date=1172539060
    2MCM, TG, Robusto and Luca,

    Thanks for sharing your experience and insight with me. My top priority is to get the Prepare & Serve course done first. I did the "Understanding and Master with TAFE but I cant complete the Prepare & Serve there because it requires 30 hours commercial work experience. Forsyth is the next place Im thinking of. Luca, your suggestion is particularly useful as I spent all night last night thinking how I was going to map out all the cafes I was going to visit and sell myself to ::)

    Add one more to the list : dont forget to bat your eyelids at 1000rpm.

    Thanks everyone !

    TG, by the way, Im also looking around for an internal auditor job at the moment.

    Im not sure where you are, Green Bean, but at NSW TAFE "Prep and Serve" doesnt require work experience. It is often offered as part of a general Hospitality Operations course, and 30 hours work experience is a requirement for that, but my local (Southern Highlands) TAFE has offered it as a stand alone, one day course with no no experience needed.
    Hi Viviane,

    I did my first 2 courses at Ryde TAFE (http://www.sydneycoffeeacademy.com.au/HTML/Programs.html) and the only reason why I stopped short of certification is because of that requirement. Quoting from the website:

    Barista Certification - Prepare and Serve Espresso Coffee
    (Accreditation)

    This program is intended for coffee operators wishing to gain accreditation. Participants must have completed Understanding & Mastering Espresso and undertaken a minimum of 30 hours commercial practical experience on an espresso machine.

    Students will undertake an accreditation process which will test and assess both their knowledge and practical skills.


    I wouldnt mind taking a week of annual leave and just working for free at a cafe to get that experience.

    TG, very good suggestion with the dry runs.

  24. #24
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    Re: How does one become an experienced barista whe

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    The Coffee Preparation module and the Coffee Preparation - Statement of Attainment it is part of, say nothing about 30 hours commercial work.

    Have a look here:
    http://www.tafensw.edu.au/howex/servlet/Course?Command=GetUnitDetails&UnitCode=4514A

    Also: Espresso Coffee Preparation and Service - TAFE PLUS Statement
    http://www.tafensw.edu.au/howex/servlet/Course?Command=GetCourse&CourseNo=24005&tpInd=Y


    TG, very good suggestion with the dry runs.
    Thanks, more like "semi-wet".



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