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Thread: What makes a Barista?

  1. #1
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    What makes a Barista?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    As suggested by Angermangent here;
    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1237716292

    I thought I would get the ball rolling.

    What in your mind makes a barista?

    Is it just someone behind a coffee machine?
    Or someone with a certain level of experience/knowledge?
    Strictly speaking, barista is bartender in Italian. But we... I think it means something different then that.

    I certainly wouldnt call myself one but get me behind a machine for an hour or so and I probably could do better than most cafes do. Does this make me a barista? Again, not in my mind.
    Personally I am more into the home roasting and the coffee making is starting to become a side thing. I primarily make short blacks. The making of cafe latte is more for the guests. Yet my guests call me a barista!?! But as you all know, start with good quality green beans, pay attention to your roasting, keep your machine clean, try to get the best extraction and you will be making better coffee than 95% of the cafes out there.

    This is the same with other foods. Start with good quality ingredients, take care of your equipment (knives, pots, pans, oven etc) pay attention to the cooking process and you’ll be up there with most restaurants. Just because I can cook a few dishes doesnt make me a chef.
    Just as chefs need to be qualified (go to a government school, apprenticeship etc) shouldnt baristas? An unqualified chef is a cook, is there or should there be a term for an unqualified barista?

    Thoughts?

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    Re: What makes a Barista?

    To me, someone who deserves the title "barista" is a person who has a passion for good coffee.... and can demonstrate that they can produce it!

    Do they have to have formal qualifications? I dont think so as that is only a bit of paper which proves someone has told them what they should do (Ive worked with University graduates.... straight out of Uni.... who I wouldnt feed.... no practical experience)...

    Do they need lots of experience? Absolutely!!

    Making great coffee is an art..... not a science..... so in the same way as you can show (teach) someone to use a brush to paint a picture.... will they be a great artist.... maybe.... eventually (but most wont!!!)...

    But take a person with an eye for painting, no (or minimal) formal training... and a passion for what they do..... and you will have a pretty good... maybe even great..... painting.

    Making coffee is the same.... passion, passion, passion..... plus some knowledge initially.... lots of practice..... and if "whats in the cup" is consistently great.... then that person is a Barista in my eyes....

    You could have a qualification program (like Michelin chefs have).... but I dont think it needs to be a formal qualification..... just a measure of how well they are practitioners of the coffee making art.

    And my pet hate..... those who call themselves Baristas because they work behind a "big coffee machine".... but dont even like coffee!!! Just like a skilled chef, you have to be able to taste and appreciate the product... ensuring it is up to standard..... or you will never produce a great product. *A Barista is a person who must MUST recognise, love and appreciate a great coffee!!!

    Thats my thoughts, for what they are worth....

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    Re: What makes a Barista?

    Quote Originally Posted by 567D6A7D5E1C0 link=1237762659/1#1 date=1237764064
    To me, someone who is deserves the title "barista" is a person who has a passion for good coffee.... and can demonstrate that they can produce it!
    So in my guest’s minds I am a barista?

    I have a passion for good coffee and to their tastes I can produce it.
    But I dont think my lattes cut it. I get them right half the time. Cant produce a cappuccino, actually I dont think I have ever tried.

    So in my mind I am not? Barista a subjective term?

    I also have seen people with loads of passion and experience yet still suck at what they do. They seem to fail at the "feedback" thing. I have met a lot of musios like that. They get very "passionate" at their art and fail to see the science behind it. They jump into bands and only learn what they like. Never learning scales, practicing with a metronome, not learning what scale works where etc. Just like music, coffee making is an art based in science.

    Plus some people are just naturals. Some people have little or no experience or passion and still do well.

    So if someone can produce really good coffee but doesnt have experience and/or doesnt care about it, isnt a barista?

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    Re: What makes a Barista?

    Quote Originally Posted by 696A78787C6A720B0 link=1237762659/2#2 date=1237766452
    So in my guest’s minds I am a barista?
    Yep, just like a painter or a muso.... they believe they are highly skilled at what they do..... but do others also think so? Does it matter if only some people love your painting, your music, your coffee????

    Quote Originally Posted by 696A78787C6A720B0 link=1237762659/2#2 date=1237766452
    Just like music, coffee making is an art based in science.

    Agreed.... but you can make great music, or coffee - without understanding the science behind it..... just as long as you have a good ear (music) or palate (coffee)....

    Quote Originally Posted by 696A78787C6A720B0 link=1237762659/2#2 date=1237766452
    Plus some people are just naturals. Some people have little or no experience or passion and still do well.

    So if someone can produce really good coffee but doesnt have experience and/or doesnt care about it, isnt a barista?

    I dont think many can "fluke" a good coffee the first time they use a machine.... maybe a few can..... but to get consistency - they need to practice.... and someone who doesnt care about their music, painting or coffee making is very unlikely, IMHO, to do all that well when it comes to consistency.... they might fluke a few good results.... but some will be mediocre and some downright cr@p....

    After all, if you dont care about what you are doing (have a passion for it).... you will drift into mediocrity before too long - there is no drive to make the next offering as good, if not even better than the last......

    Passion is what makes us strive for excellence in whatever we do.... wanting to be the best we can at it..... so without passion I cant see great results being achieved - after all you are just "going through the motions"....

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    Re: What makes a Barista?

    Quote Originally Posted by 7172606064726A130 link=1237762659/2#2 date=1237766452

    So in my guest’s minds I am a barista?

    And in my guests eyes I am a chef. To me, as you said earlier, I am just a cook.

    The term/s become really subjective and pretty much people can and will call you what they want.

    I am a bit of a foodie (which resulted in me becoming a Snob) but with no training, therefore I am not chef.

    My wife is a classical performer (flute) and teacher - private lessons. She has Grad Dip Perf from Sydney Con, therefore she is a musician.

    So she has the title deservedly, and I equally deservedly dont. It doesnt stop people using it, so in that way Bassway I guess you are a barista, though your example re musicians and scales makes me think first and foremost you are a muso ;D

    On the flip side there sure are people in cafes all over town who have had training that you would struggle to call baristi, nonetheless on the above premise, the title is still theirs.

    Personal thought? Hey, you cant get upset when your friends call you a chef, barista etc... it is a recognition from outside of your passion for the task and competence, and a pretty nice compliment as well 8-)

    Chris

    wish my friends called me a barista... ;D

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    Re: What makes a Barista?

    I think that society says we have to have a piece of paper to have a title.

    However, I know of a great many people who are instructors, teachers, baristas or chefs who dont have a piece of paper to prove that but are doing very well in their chosen fields. (and when I say teachers, I dont mean school teachers...just people who are very good at teaching their passion, IYKWIM.)

    Its funny but you dont need to have a piece of paper to own a business...except for the piece of paper that says you are business owners!

    Anyway...

    Ive been working at making coffee for the past three years now. Not many people in my town would actually know the term "barista", though some are learning it. I do actually do pretty much all of the drink making in the shop, from coffee through to milkshakes, so as far as the Italian term goes, I am the "barperson", ie drinks person.

    I dont necessarily agree that because you have a piece of paper that says you have completed a course means you are a barista (or whatever) but I do agree that it goes a long way to saying that you are, according to societies standards. If I read it right, in Italy being a barista is more of an apprenticeship than a course. Seven years before getting onto the machine, I think!

    Personally, I like to think of myself as a barista mainly because I have what has been talked about, passion and now experience. Sure, I could go and do the course that gives me the piece of paper but I wonder why Id need to do that? Mainly because I currently have a job and my employer doesnt require me to have a piece of paper. They know I make great coffee and that their business has increased in that area.

    The arguement could be made that Im just a professional coffee maker, seeing as I get paid to do it and if the term of "professional" means getting renumeration for your work, then I fall into that category I guess.

    But, I prefer the term barista, though I dont mind barista-in-training either. (which used to be under my profile sig here.)


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    Re: What makes a Barista?

    All very good points but I believe that the chef/cook thing is a good description. My mum is a great cook but put her in a commercial environment and she would be all at sea. A barista is all that has been said above and throw in the ability to keep all the balls in the air at once pulling consistent great shots, silky milk, great customer service etc, this varies with the type of establishment but being a barista goes beyond great coffee. It includes all aspect of coffee preparation and serving. The term is bandied about too easily, mostly because anyone who makes coffee in Australia is considered by most to be a "barista" whereas in a lot of cases they are what I call "button pushers".

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    Re: What makes a Barista?

    Quote Originally Posted by 616F626D7A6C6D030 link=1237762659/6#6 date=1237772805
    ...the ability to keep all the balls in the air at once pulling consistent great shots, silky milk, great customer service etc...
    I think that last point is quite important. *Theres nothing more frustrating than finding a place that does good coffee only to turn up the next day and be served by a staff member who responds to your order as if youve asked them to clean your septic tank. *A smile and a "Hello, how are you today/What can I get you?" isnt that hard to manage, and its what your boss is paying you to do.

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    Re: What makes a Barista?

    I have the piece of paper.
    I have the passion.
    Ive worked behind a "big coffee machine".
    My friends would call me a barista.
    But the reality is that Im not.

    Its all things I dont have.
    The consistency.
    The juggling.
    The regular practise in a busy cafe.
    The little details.

    Its relative.

    Its like my karate.
    I teach but I still learn.
    To my students Im a teacher; to my teacher Im a student.

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    Re: What makes a Barista?

    Quote Originally Posted by 073B263D373621343C37530 link=1237762659/8#8 date=1237777879
    To my students Im a teacher; to my teacher Im a student.

    nailed it TG

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    Re: What makes a Barista?

    Quote Originally Posted by 5F42464348482D0 link=1237762659/9#9 date=1237781213
    nailed it TG *
    ;) Thanks grasshopper.

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    Re: What makes a Barista?

    I use to believe making great coffee was an art.. not a science.
    But Ive change my view on that. Science plays an important role and the is the future to the next level. But I would prefer to be an artist than a scientist any day. There are many barista that talk the science of coffee, without the foundation of basic hard work. They suck.

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    Re: What makes a Barista?

    Quote Originally Posted by 634C465B6E220 link=1237762659/11#11 date=1237789545
    I use to believe making great coffee was an art.. not a science.
    But Ive change my view on that. Science plays an important role and the is the future to the next level. But I would prefer to be an artist than a scientist any day. There are many barista that talk the science of coffee, without the foundation of basic hard work. They suck.
    Agreed Andy,

    I have always thought the mark was somewhere close to art meets science- and mate you are an artist in a lab coat...or was that a scientise with an easel? ;)

    2mcm

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    Re: What makes a Barista?

    Hey Scootagal you mentioned the apprenticeship for a barista in Italy is 7 years. curious to know what they would cover in 7 years training? seems a long time just to get to operate a machine. seems to me in Australia a lot of cafes call them shop assistants or waiter/waitress as they are all rounders serving food etc etc. and it is far more inexpensive to pay them under that award. anyway that is my observation only. i think if you can consistenly make and serve good quality fresh coffee with a smile you are a Barista.

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    Re: What makes a Barista?

    disagree with most of you. You can call someone a barista if they have become a professional at it. doesnt matter if they suck, if its become their main job they deserve that title. If i get served a terrible cup i just say the barista is bad, not theyre a talentless operator of a coffee machine. love passion and service have nothing to do with it.

    weve all been to bad restaurants where you can swear you can cook better than the chef. But that doesnt make you a chef.

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    Re: What makes a Barista?

    I think if you have passion for your job TOfu that goes along way to being good at what you do.

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    Re: What makes a Barista?

    Quote Originally Posted by 6B2F796A1F0 link=1237762660/14#14 date=1237801632
    weve all been to bad restaurants where you can swear you can cook better than the chef. But that doesnt make you a chef.

    Agreed....

    But it also means (IMHO) they dont deserve to be called a chef.... but a second rate cook.... a rating which their customers are qualified to give them!!

    A Sh!t operator at a coffee machine is also not a Barista as far as Im concerned..... If you cant do a job well then you are not entitled to the professional accolade (title) which someone who does perform the duties properly deserves......

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    Re: What makes a Barista?

    how about "s/hes a DODGY barista"?

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    Re: What makes a Barista?

    Yep roknee you can have dodgy baristas , dodgy carpenters, dodgy chefs etc . it is only that piece of paper that gives them the title. the paper doesnt say they are good at what they do.

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    Re: What makes a Barista?

    Quote Originally Posted by 5C697E7C2F2A1B0 link=1237762660/18#18 date=1237802690
    it is only that piece of paper that gives them the title

    Whilst that is definitely true for carpenters (apprenticeship), less true for chefs where there are recognised courses available (of some duration and scope)..... the Barista "formal" qualification is generally a few hours at a training course... at best.

    Most of the skill set can/should be/is acquired as "on the job" training - for most who call themselves Baristas.... and some do deserve the title..... others clearly dont....

    And without a formal qualification..... how can it be decided whether a person should be called a Barista or not?

    The only sensible method I can see is by the quality of what they produce.

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    Re: What makes a Barista?

    Quote Originally Posted by 7853445370320 link=1237762660/19#19 date=1237804220
    Quote Originally Posted by 5C697E7C2F2A1B0 link=1237762660/18#18 date=1237802690
    it is only that piece of paper that gives them the title

    Whilst that is definitely true for carpenters (apprenticeship), less true for chefs where there are recognised courses available (of some duration and scope)..... the Barista "formal" qualification is generally a few hours at a training course... at best.

    Most of the skill set *can/should be/is acquired as "on the job" training - for most who call themselves Baristas.... and some do deserve the title..... others clearly dont....

    And without a formal qualification..... how can it be decided whether a person should be called a Barista or not?

    The only sensible method I can see is by the quality of what they produce.

    Problem is many places run a short course on how to be a Barista and then provide a piece of paper... In many cases one might ask the Quals of those providing the training :o

    Needless to say.. Their tase buds may also be questionable ::)

    To me a true barista knows, understands and can put into action almost all facets of presenting a liquid (all be it stained) to a client for their enjoyment...

    That means, they need to not only have a solid understand off all the processes etc but also be able to delver the goods... Roasting, Cupping , Blending, Milk , Machines, Pouring etc etc etc and last but not lease a personality that the client / customer can connect with.. Opps... Forgot... Tim Adams is at Veneziano Caffe next weekend..

    Check out the link and watch a true barista at play / on the job training / Value adding ... http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1236825421

    Oh yea... Couple of young ones in training, always seem to be there as well at times...

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    Re: What makes a Barista?

    Quote Originally Posted by 4F60696B7C436F606F696B636B607A0E0 link=1237762660/20#20 date=1237804859
    That means, they need to not only have a solid understand off all the processes etc but also be able to delver the goods...Roasting, Cupping , Blending, Milk , Machines, Pouring etc etc etc and last but not lease a personality that the client / customer can connect with..

    Agree totally AM....

    Whilst I can make a pretty damn good espresso (so others say) and can texture milk pretty well.... can roast my own beans.... and do those pretty consistently..... and I have a bit of paper which says Ive completed successfully (whatever that means) a professional Barista course..... I wouldnt consider myself even close to a competent Barista.... and I certainly wouldnt have the cheek to call myself a Barista.....

    I have little experience with cupping (but I do know what I like and dont like when a coffee is cupped.....) and customer service would let me down - way down.... and that is also very important.

    A true Barista is a very skilled individual... with a significant breadth and depth of knowledge and LOTS of experience.... and the skills to put that knowledge and experience to good use.....

    When you are served by a true Barista - you will know that they deserve the title!!!

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    Re: What makes a Barista?

    Quote Originally Posted by 7C57405774360 link=1237762660/21#21 date=1237813908
    I have little experience with cupping (but I do know what I like and dont like when a coffee is cupped.....) and customer service would let me down - way down.... and that is also very important.

    From only one or two attempts and attending as a spectator at the sessions that were held at Veneziano Caffe.... I have an utmost respect for ant one in this field... Be it Tea / Wine / Coffee etc...

    I can also understand why a True Barista would need to have some of the same skills..

    As to "customer service would let me down - way down" the issue here is that many do not fully understand "Customer Service" and more often than not it depends greatly on the mix of personality, verbal skills and sensing :-?

    Further more, many get hung up on the "Customer is always right" ::)

    TG would understand, that from a Quality perspective; that be it, a complement or a Complaint, the receiver is being offered an opportunity to improve :o What most fail to do, is to review all feedback an do a RCA. This does not need to be intensive and even just asking 6 WHYs will often get you there ;)

    As to you JavaB ...... Well we all know what the Soup Nazi is like and I am sure that some would come to have your coffee, regardless of teh Quality of the product... And just for the experience ;D

    Hang in there mate... ;)

  24. #24
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    Re: What makes a Barista?

    Quote Originally Posted by 5C697E7C2F2A1B0 link=1237762660/13#13 date=1237801192
    Hey Scootagal you mentioned the apprenticeship for a barista in Italy is 7 years. curious to know what they would cover in 7 years training? seems a long time just to get to operate a machine.
    Not sure where I got that from actually, I thought I had read it somewhere...though I do know its more than a couple of years at least. I daresay that they spend a great deal of time doing all the jobs that the head barista doesnt want to do, along with watching them work on the machine. Yes, even a few years seems a long time to even get to use the machine but thats the way they do it, as far as I know...I would be guessing and say that the trainee would get to use the machine but not to make drinks for the customer.

    How long before an apprentice carpenter gets to use the nail gun? Or the apprentice pastry chef gets to make the dessert? ;)

    And Im with you guys on the full service idea...

    One thing I am known for around here is my ability to pretty much remember how my regulars take their coffee...and I was paid a compliment at a function last week, where a fellow had come up to me asking for a hot chocolate before the machine was ready. When it was finally ready, I made the drink and took it over to him. His compliment to me was..."Youre most attentive! Thankyou!"

    So, yes, I dont think that its just about making the drink. To me, its about making sure that the teaspoon and saucer are spotless, there are no drips down the side of the cup (sorry all you latte art people who draw through and over the edge of the cup...that to me is a NO! NO! Hate getting a "dirty" cup!), that I put the drink on the table without too much noise (yes, I dont "slam" the drinks down in front of my customers) and always with a smile and enjoy...Yep, there is way more to this than just standing behind a machine...

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    Re: What makes a Barista?

    Quote Originally Posted by 103F3634231C303F3036343C343F25510 link=1237762660/22#22 date=1237840545
    just asking 6 WHYs will often get you there
    Memories. *;D


    Quote Originally Posted by 22323E3E25300E36303D510 link=1237762660/23#23 date=1237842823
    How long before an apprentice carpenter gets to use the nail gun? Or the apprentice pastry chef gets to make the dessert? Wink
    Theres a comparison to karate here too.
    In the old days, if a student was allowed into a school, it would be just like the Karate Kid movie.
    The student would live at the school and sweep up and do many other odd jobs until they proved that had the determination to stay.
    Then they would be taught their first kata (pattern).
    They would learn this pattern only for 5 years before being shown the next one (assuming they were able to demonstrate the first one well enough).

    These days though, commercialism has entered the martial arts world and some shonky operators promise a black belt (to anyone) in 12 months.

    Is that black belt really a black belt; is the PBTM (person behind the machine) really a barista?


    Quote Originally Posted by 25613724510 link=1237762660/14#14 date=1237801632
    disagree with most of you. You can call someone a barista if they have become a professional at it. doesnt matter if they suck, if its become their main job they deserve that title.
    Using my last example, someone could get a piece of paper that calls them a black belt, they then start their own karate school and charge people to attend. By your logic that makes them a professional and able to call themselves a black belt even if they suck at it.
    To me they arent a black belt because they arent up to standard and Id bet that even as fat and as old that I am, I could sit them on their @r$e fairly easily.

    Another example:
    Overseas qualified doctors.
    The Australian governments do not recognise a lot of medical qualifications from overseas and if a doctor wants to practise here they have to prove they are up to our standards.

    Would you want them touching you or your family because they have a piece of paper from overseas that says they are a doctor?
    Or would it be prudent to make sure they have been certified competent by a local?

    Its too easy to get a piece of paper these days that says you are a qualified "whatever".





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    Re: What makes a Barista?

    Quote Originally Posted by 0D312C373D3C2B3E363D590 link=1237762660/24#24 date=1237854461

    Its too easy to get a piece of paper these days that says you are a qualified "whatever".

    Hey, I resemble that remark!! ;D

    Chris

    ...qualified? Whatever...

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    Re: What makes a Barista?

    How about this...

    A good barista makes customers leave the cafe with a smile on their face.

    A great barista also points the customer one step closer in the direction of understanding what is so great about good coffee.

    If you make good coffee but youre arrogant about it and dont treat customers well, clearly youre not a good barista. If you make bad coffee but youre such a great fellow that you give people a good time anyway, then for all intents and purposes youre probably a pretty good barista (hey, most people cant tell the difference between good and bad coffee because a good coffee is so hard to come by :P).

    This little corner of the internet is towards making great baristas and coffee lovers. People who make the world a better place through good coffee. ;D

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    Re: What makes a Barista?

    I am calling myself a Barista only after 2 months on the job haha. I have developed a love for coffee but still dont know that much about it compared to a lot of people. I am beginning to learn more each day and working everyday in a cafe has helped me to pour perfect cups of every type of coffee (as perfect as the beans allow me). I believe the title barista is for someone who works in a bar/cafe/restaurant and makes the drinks for the customers... but in AUstralia it refers to someone who makes coffees in particular behind the bar. I dont think someone that has a domestic coffee machine is a barista at all....I think that they may be called a connoissuer of coffee etc but a barista is a job description.

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    Re: What makes a Barista?

    Quote Originally Posted by 465D575C4D6B00040404340 link=1237762660/26#26 date=1237890592
    How about this...

    A good barista makes customers leave the cafe with a smile on their face.

    A great barista also points the customer one step closer in the direction of understanding what is so great about good coffee.

    If you make good coffee but youre arrogant about it and dont treat customers well, clearly youre not a good barista. If you make bad coffee but youre such a great fellow that you give people a good time anyway, then for all intents and purposes youre probably a pretty good barista (hey, most people cant tell the difference between good and bad coffee because a good coffee is so hard to come by :P).

    This little corner of the internet is towards making great baristas and coffee lovers. People who make the world a better place through good coffee. *;D
    I agree.... the personality of the Barista matters significantly! Mecca on Clarence/King st in Sydney have a nice group of Baristi who are friendly which makes a difference. Taglios on the other hand (around the corner) are not particularly polite and warm welcoming to the cafe. I always treat my customers with respect and a friendly smile/welcome - It makes a difference to me when choosing my coffee destination so I make my efforts to do the same to others.

  30. #30
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    Re: What makes a Barista?

    My palate is still pretty underdeveloped when it comes to coffee, its actually quite basic in comparison to Peter from Veneziano and Ernest from Campos. These two have been most inspirational for me in terms of coffee knowledge, understanding of taste and how that relates to coffee.
    How I learnt to develop my palate came from doing it the hard way. I took my cues from wine and worked my way up from the venerable passion pop up to fruity lexia. But in all seriousness when you buy some wine or dark chocolate, nice beer or cheese usually these things have tasting notes on them so get the loved ones along and have all the really decadent things to munch and sip on. I also have a bit of a background when it comes to coffees used and having that contrast helps to bring flavours out to the front of your mind. Ive used and mocopan, piazza doro, tobys estate, lavazza, coffee roaster, schibello, vittoria, campos, and last but not least, veneziano in professional setting.
    The other thing to do is hit those farmers markets and get used to playing with the herb section so that you can start to build a taste memory. The same goes for when you eat some fruit- build a taste memory from it. These things are just like exercise and if you dont use it you lose it.

    The other trick and this can be quite hard for some people.. Just stay silent, listen, then ask questions, listen, ask more questions but I guess the main thing is to remember that you dont know it all, that you can learn off everyone around you.

  31. #31
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    Re: What makes a Barista?

    Quote Originally Posted by 597F6477620D0 link=1237762660/28#28 date=1237894769
    Quote Originally Posted by 465D575C4D6B00040404340 link=1237762660/26#26 date=1237890592
    How about this...

    A good barista makes customers leave the cafe with a smile on their face.

    A great barista also points the customer one step closer in the direction of understanding what is so great about good coffee.

    If you make good coffee but youre arrogant about it and dont treat customers well, clearly youre not a good barista. If you make bad coffee but youre such a great fellow that you give people a good time anyway, then for all intents and purposes youre probably a pretty good barista (hey, most people cant tell the difference between good and bad coffee because a good coffee is so hard to come by :P).

    This little corner of the internet is towards making great baristas and coffee lovers. People who make the world a better place through good coffee. *;D
    I agree.... the personality of the Barista matters significantly! Mecca on Clarence/King st in Sydney have a nice group of Baristi who are friendly which makes a difference. Taglios on the other hand (around the corner) are not particularly polite and warm welcoming to the cafe. I always treat my customers with respect and a friendly smile/welcome - It makes a difference to me when choosing my coffee destination so I make my efforts to do the same to others.
    Yeah, thumbs up for Mecca. I remember having a great espresso there when I visited them. Also, the barista was a nice bloke and we had a chat about the espresso blend, and about Coffee Snobs! He the said something about a group of Coffee Snobs (people from this site) having a gathering at the cafe :P

  32. #32
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    Re: What makes a Barista?

    Quote Originally Posted by 5B7D6675600F0 link=1237762660/27#27 date=1237894551
    a barista is a job description
    Trizo I disagree for all the reasons above that dont come from your point of view; some of which Ive already stated myself.

    From the few posts youve made so far I have little doubt that the passion youve displayed will one day have you reach the skill level that will entitle you to be called a barista by me but until then no.


    Quote Originally Posted by 5B7D6675600F0 link=1237762660/27#27 date=1237894551
    I dont think someone that has a domestic coffee machine is a barista at all
    Where did this comment come from? Have I missed a post somewhere? If I havent, then its off topic.



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    Re: What makes a Barista?

    a mixture of attributes and skills required

    -dexterity
    -ability to multi-task
    -stays calm under pressure
    -able to judge volumes of milk and espresso on the fly
    -able to control grinder while freedosing to produce a consistent shot
    -able to do this irregardless of pace of cafe
    -able to control own barista flow to produce drinks efficiently
    -able to change own barista flow depending on the demands at hand
    -able to work in a team role and share responsibility effectively
    -able to communicate effectively
    -leaves ego at the door

    But the other crucial factor that a lot of people overlook these days is customer service. Theres no need to jump in their lap but at the same time it sucks to keep people at arms length and to call them sir and madam.

  34. #34
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    Re: What makes a Barista?

    Quote Originally Posted by 06203B283D520 link=1237762660/27#27 date=1237894551
    I believe the title barista is for someone who works in a bar/cafe/restaurant and makes the drinks for the customers..
    A Starbucks / McCafee view point

    Quote Originally Posted by 06203B283D520 link=1237762660/27#27 date=1237894551
    dont think someone that has a domestic coffee machine is a barista at all....I think that they may be called a connoissuer of coffee etc but a barista is a job description.
    For many reasons, this is a generalized statement and wrong on many accounts... Most of the home users I know... Have very little appreciation other than peer pressure and bragging rights... While as a Job description it is often just a requirement to pour a coffee.. Sorry Not good enough...

    I do however like some of the terms in WIKI...

    In English, barista is a name applied to a person, usually a coffeehouse employee, who prepares and serves espresso-based coffee drinks. The word is borrowed from Italian, where it has a wider meaning of "bartender". The term persists in American coffeehouse jargon, with many employers such as Starbucks officially utilizing the title for such employees.


    Often, among coffee enthusiasts, the term is reserved for one who has acquired some level of expertise or particular skill in the preparation of such drinks.

    Within certain circles, its meaning is expanding to include what might be called a "coffee sommelier" — a professional who is highly skilled in coffee preparation with a comprehensive understanding of coffee, coffee blends, espresso, quality, coffee varieties, roast degree, espresso equipment and maintenance, latte art, etc.

    Thus to some extent, this topic has moved from what makes a Barista to what should / does a Barista actually mean ????

    In my books, BARISTA means some one who meets and or exceeds the description of a coffee sommelier; as defined above... Thus a Barista is a offee sommelier / Maitre d of the coffee establishment...

    The manner and way in which many use the term Barista today, actually cheapens the name and the position/ respect thata true Barista deserves.... Not unlike the difference between a TRUE silver service waiter / Maitre d Vs a person who waits on tables...

    Just my 2Cents worth.. Need a coffee from my domestic home machine, as my Commercial is still awaiting parts and my time ;)

  35. #35
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    Re: What makes a Barista?

    Quote Originally Posted by 47686163744B67686761636B636872060 link=1237762660/33#33 date=1237898870
    Within certain circles, its meaning is expanding to include what might be called a "coffee sommelier" — a professional who is highly skilled in coffee preparation with a comprehensive understanding of coffee, coffee blends, espresso, quality, coffee varieties, roast degree, espresso equipment and maintenance, latte art, etc.

    ...


    In my books, BARISTA means some one who meets and or exceeds the description of a coffee sommelier; as defined above... Thus a Barista is a offee sommelier / Maitre d of the coffee establishment...
    I think this has hit the mark for me. Though my personal definition of what a barista should be encompasses a lot more.

  36. #36
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    Re: What makes a Barista?

    a barista is someone who enjoys pain and many lashings with a large stick!

  37. #37
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    Re: What makes a Barista?

    Quote Originally Posted by 717E644F7E717B7574737F76767575100 link=1237762660/32#32 date=1237897471
    ...it sucks to keep people at arms length and to call them sir and madam.
    Thats because in Australia, we dont know how to use those terms in a proper respectful way...

    I had the absolute pleasure of being called "maam" by an American once and I tell you, it was the most polite, welcoming and respectful use of the word I think Ive ever heard. Just about melted my stone cold heart I tell you! ;)



    Quote Originally Posted by 614E4745526D414E4147454D454E54200 link=1237762660/33#33 date=1237898870
    Thus to some extent, this topic has moved from what makes a Barista to what should / does a Barista actually mean ????
    I agree...and am probably a bit guilty of answering in the former as well...

    An interesting point you bring up, AM...Ive noticed myself over the years that if my employer isnt on the counter at all, people seem to defer to me when Im behind the machine if theyre wanting to see someone who is running the place. So, either they have a preconceived notion that whomever is running the coffee machine is usually the boss, or Im just more accessible... :)

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    Re: What makes a Barista?

    Quote Originally Posted by 4C5C50504B5E60585E533F0 link=1237762660/36#36 date=1237929761
    An interesting point you bring up, AM...Ive noticed myself over the years that if my employer isnt on the counter at all, people seem to defer to me when Im behind the machine if theyre wanting to see someone who is running the place.
    Scoota.....

    Maybe its just they want to talk to the most attractive person in the place ;)

    Baristas (good ones) are normally seen as very friendly, approachable people..... and that is how it should be. I think it is generally assumed also that they have been working there "more than a dog watch" (unlike many of the other casual staff)..... again not always the case.... but that tends to be the perception..... for a very good reason.

    A smart owner, once they have found a good Barista, will do everything possible to retain their services..... good Baristas arent that common!

  39. #39
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    Re: What makes a Barista?

    scootagal- I will go out on the limb here and suggest that aussies are very informal and that cafes themselves tend towards projecting an informal atmosphere in their service and delivery. Im not saying that sir and maam should be abolished from language but there is a time and a place for it. I expect to hear it if Im walking into a fine dining establishment but not if I walk into a cafe.

    Going back to my other tangent of increasing your own barista skills- I remember back in the day being able to talk to the coffee reps when they dropped coffee off. It was in that chatter that I managed to bounce many ideas floating around in my head and I learnt a lot from it over time. The best thing about these types of collaborative efforts is that you get out of your own zone of thinking and hearing another persons perspective can be very enlightening.

  40. #40
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    Re: What makes a Barista?

    Quote Originally Posted by 53786F785B190 link=1237762660/37#37 date=1237933243
    Scoota.....

    Maybe its just they want to talk to the most attractive person in the place ;)
    Flattery will get you everywhere! ;D

    Ant, not disagreeing with you at all, I totally agree and especially with your observation that we are very informal, yep, we are! I think actually that my reaction to being addressed in such a way pretty much emphasises that too...were so not used to it so we react different. And I can see what you mean by how it can suck to keep folk at arms length by using those terms...because its not our culture really to use them.

    However, I do think that when I hear them used here, theyre not used like Ive heard other cultures that use them a lot. One of our girls at work (new to us actually) has been calling people sir or madam...I dont think she says them as well as the American did. Even in Italy for example, you get called Senorita and thats a culture shock too! But it is more than just their form of Mrs and so has a lot of respect and much more meaning behind it, I think.

  41. #41
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    Re: What makes a Barista?

    Quote Originally Posted by 764A574C464750454D46220 link=1237762660/31#31 date=1237896657
    From the few posts youve made so far I have little doubt that the passion youve displayed will one day have you reach the skill level that will entitle you to be called a barista by me but until then no.
    That is a fair call. I dont particularly mind if Im not labelled as a Barista until I develop more experience etc.... but I loosely use the term for my job because bar knowing everything about coffee... it is essentially what I do... I prepare & serve coffees, mixed drinks, cocktails etc.

    The comment re domestic coffee machine simply means that just because someone may know a lot about coffee and may own a domestic coffee machine... I would never call them a Barista...

  42. #42
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    Re: What makes a Barista?

    Quote Originally Posted by 78575E5C4B745857585E5C545C574D390 link=1237762660/33#33 date=1237898870
    A Starbucks / McCafee view point
    Well it isnt really a starbucks comment because someone who works at starbucks making coffee is a Barista... and Im sure more than 90% of the world would agree. They may not be a quality Barista but technically their job description would be Barista is this not so? I agree with the definition you found i.e. sommelier but just because your expectations of a barista are higher than normal does not mean youre correct. If I wanted to write an essay and do as much research on the multifarious types of definitions of a Barista as you have done then I would have come up with something similiar (I am sure). But dont go around saying typical starbucks comment when technically a Barista is someone who prepares coffees and serves them as a job description.

  43. #43
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    Re: What makes a Barista?

    Quote Originally Posted by 1F392231244B0 link=1237762660/40#40 date=1237976256
    The comment re domestic coffee machine simply means that just because someone may know a lot about coffee and may own a domestic coffee machine... I would never call them a Barista... *
    Thats a limited view.

    For example, I have a coffee machine at home and know a lot about coffee.

    By your definition above you wouldnt call me a barista.

    However, I have a piece of paper that says I am a barista.
    Currently I dont work in a shop making coffee.
    So am I a barista or not?
    According to my piece of paper Im a "qualified" one.

    Maybe Ive never worked in a coffee shop since obtaining my qualifications.
    Would you then call me a barista or not?

    After you answer that question, Ill tell you I have worked in a shop making coffee since obtaining my qualifications.
    That was so I could prove I knew more than just the theory.

    But in the end, despite my qualifications, experience and vast amount of knowledge about coffee, as I said above, I wouldnt call myself a barista.

    I understand what you mean by it being a job title, but in some states even that isnt recognised in the Award Rates Tables.
    If you want to pay a "barista" the right money the closest you can get sometimes is cafe worker. Which is the same job title as the person washing the dishes or serving the food.

    By the way, I thought Starbucks called their employees "partners".

  44. #44
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    Re: What makes a Barista?

    I agree with the others who have made comments to the effect that this conversation is really about what makes a good barista, not what makes a barista. In Italian, barista simply means bartender. The meaning in Australia is obviously somewhat different, but I think that we have to accept that barista means to the vast majority of the public someone who makes coffee. It does not necessarily mean someone who makes coffee well. This is consistent with the names for people whose work activities are in other fields of human endeavour - eg. no one thinks that a mechanic, doctor, cook, chef, barrister or actuary is necessarily good at their job because that is how they describe their job.

    The whole coffee sommelier concept is a nice one and I would certainly love to have more people around who are well versed in coffee and can educate the public about what they do. However, there is a risk in this. One of the most important aspect of the baristas roles is to prepare coffee. Most alarmingly, we are starting to see a whole new type of bad barista - one that focusses on the education role at the expense of the coffee preparation role. In other words, these are the guys talk your head off about where their coffee came from, how many boilers their machine has and what ludicrously exotic tastes you are going to experience, but nonetheless serve you a shot of espresso that sucks. If this behaviour becomes common, I fear that an important segment of the public will become - understandably - disillusioned with the idea of really good coffee.

    Personally, I think that there are a lot of things that fall under the role description of a barista, but, as a customer, frankly what I care about is that they are able to make the coffee taste as good as it can. I am very happy for in-depth explanations of the particular roast, origin, etc. to be the responsibility of the roaster. I think that if I were a cafe owner, there would be other important considerations.

    Cheers,

    Luca

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    Re: What makes a Barista?

    One of the most important aspect of the baristas roles is to prepare coffee. *Most alarmingly, we are starting to see a whole new type of bad barista - one that focusses on the education role at the expense of the coffee preparation role. *In other words, these are the guys talk your head off about where their coffee came from, how many boilers their machine has and what ludicrously exotic tastes you are going to experience, but nonetheless serve you a shot of espresso that sucks.

    Nice points.
    Please let the Barista know what was good and bad (sucks)
    Most want to know. They cannot taste every shot that comes out and the variables are many. If you let them know , you can help with their notes.

  46. #46
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    Re: What makes a Barista?

    scootagal- I think Ill just have to travel to understand exactly what you mean by a different way of usage for those terms. *I read what you mean but it aint sinkin in and thats a result of not getting my butt outside of oz!

    Quote Originally Posted by 0F160002630 link=1237762660/43#43 date=1237980920
    One of the most important aspect of the baristas roles is to prepare coffee. *Most alarmingly, we are starting to see a whole new type of bad barista - one that focusses on the education role at the expense of the coffee preparation role.
    Thats where a focus on the fundamentals of coffee preparation is quite important because coffee is one of those interesting things where a customer can smell bullsh!t. *Its just a virtue of espresso preparation where if you are more than a little off in how you make it, the effect is detected in the cup. This relates back to knowing your workflow enough to know when you can talk, and when you should concentrate on coffee prep.
    *As a communicator you should be able to sense your audience. *Im not going to go indepth on taste descriptors with a customer whos got a handlebar moustache and meat pie stains on his mouth. *Im gonna say itll be really awesome and knock his socks off. *Its still a descriptor albeit not a taste one. *If pushed by my meatpie chomping luddite of a customer, Ill refer to those oldschool backups like strong, smooth, bold, rich, dark. *
    From experience talking in general and understandable terms first to make it more accessible, and then changing from there based on customer feedback has worked well for me when describing coffee.

  47. #47
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: What makes a Barista?

    Quote Originally Posted by 505F456E5F505A5455525E57575454310 link=1237762660/45#45 date=1237999364
    Thats where a focus on the fundamentals of coffee preparation is quite important because coffee is one of those interesting things where a customer can smell bullsh!t.Its just a virtue of espresso preparation where if you are more than a little off in how you make it, the effect is detected in the cup.This relates back to knowing your workflow enough to know when you can talk, and when you should concentrate on coffee prep.
    Id say this would be another sign of a good barista or a good anything for that matter.

    Yesterday I was catching up on some old shows Id recorded and watched one on the construction of Chinas Three Gorges Dam.
    At one point they were talking to a woman crane operator who was responsible for pouring 20 ton buckets of concrete into place.
    (I mentioned the operator was female because they are supposedly better at multitasking.)
    At one point during the interview she excused herself because she needed to concentrate on manoeuvring the bucket to just the right spot.

  48. #48
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    Re: What makes a Barista?

    Quote Originally Posted by 0B372A313B3A2D38303B5F0 link=1237762660/46#46 date=1238024349
    At one point during the interview she excused herself because she needed to concentrate on manoeuvring the bucket to just the right spot.
    Excellent TG ;D

    Mal.

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    Re: What makes a Barista?

    Quote Originally Posted by 0F332E353F3E293C343F5B0 link=1237762660/42#42 date=1237979196
    However, I have a piece of paper that says I am a barista.
    Currently I dont work in a shop making coffee.
    So am I a barista or not?
    According to my piece of paper Im a "qualified" one.
    In my opinion there are a lot of coffee schools that hand out qualified barista certificates after a few hours of educating so it would depend on where the certificate was attained. I would say youre a qualified barista but I still wouldnt say that youre a barista because youre not a bar person....I have a degree in Property Economics and a Master of Applied Finance but I wouldnt call myself a property economist nor would I call myself a Master of Applied Finance (Ive only worked as an Analyst). If you were working in a cafe now then yes I would call you a Barista...If you know a lot about coffee like you say then youd probably be a good Barista if you were currently preparing coffees etc...

  50. #50
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    Re: What makes a Barista?

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Quote Originally Posted by 49504644250 link=1237762660/43#43 date=1237980920
    I agree with the others who have made comments to the effect that this conversation is really about what makes a good barista, not what makes a barista. *In Italian, barista simply means bartender. *The meaning in Australia is obviously somewhat different, but I think that we have to accept that barista means to the vast majority of the public someone who makes coffee. *It does not necessarily mean someone who makes coffee well. *This is consistent with the names for people whose work activities are in other fields of human endeavour - eg. no one thinks that a mechanic, doctor, cook, chef, barrister or actuary is necessarily good at their job because that is how they describe their job.

    The whole coffee sommelier concept is a nice one and I would certainly love to have more people around who are well versed in coffee and can educate the public about what they do. *However, there is a risk in this. One of the most important aspect of the baristas roles is to prepare coffee. *Most alarmingly, we are starting to see a whole new type of bad barista - one that focusses on the education role at the expense of the coffee preparation role. *In other words, these are the guys talk your head off about where their coffee came from, how many boilers their machine has and what ludicrously exotic tastes you are going to experience, but nonetheless serve you a shot of espresso that sucks. *If this behaviour becomes common, I fear that an important segment of the public will become - understandably - disillusioned with the idea of really good coffee.

    Personally, I think that there are a lot of things that fall under the role description of a barista, but, as a customer, frankly what I care about is that they are able to make the coffee taste as good as it can. *I am very happy for in-depth explanations of the particular roast, origin, etc. to be the responsibility of the roaster. *I think that if I were a cafe owner, there would be other important considerations.

    Cheers,

    Luca
    You hit the nail on the head.



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