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Thread: Am I a Barista?

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    Am I a Barista?

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    In Feburary this year I did a TAFE certified "Prepare and Serve Espresso Coffee" course - I passed and recieved a certificate.

    I put on my resume that I did a "Barista (Prepare & Serve Espresso Coffee) course at Adelaide Hospitality & Tourism School" and was called in to do a trial at Elly Cafe at Marion Westfield in Adelaide. The boss started asking me questions about expierence which I replied "I havnt had expierence in hospitality itself apart from Hungry Jacks in my teens but I did do a coffee making course" which to me is expierence to which he replied "So your not a Barista - if you dont have the expierence you cant be a Barista" then he started saying stuff about how he isnt a Barista (but he works making coffee" and it totally confused me.

    Am I a Barista or not?????? this left me dumbfounded and kind of put me off. im considering rewording my resume :-/

  2. #2
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    Re: Am I a Barista?

    The term barista in Australia means different things to different people. Around here a barista is someone with experience and knows what they are talking about. To most people a barista is a coffee maker who pushes buttons, so depends on what sort of a place you are trying to get work. An idea might be to put "Barista in training" or words to that effect.

    Cheers

    Brett

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    Re: Am I a Barista?

    The course is not normally considered experience, but would go under education/training on your resume.

    I have the same certificate.
    The course took me 4 hours and everyone passed, there was no checking that we had learned anything. Your course may have been different, but employers will place little value on the certificate.

    Looking on the bright side, whatever is on your resume, it was enough to get you in for a trial, so that is a good sign.

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    Re: Am I a Barista?

    Hello Suga,

    to be perfectly honest, I am afraid not. The thing being, if the employer takes you on your word (or on the face value of the certificate), and throws you straight onto a shift on the machine, the expectation would be that you can handle the "pace" ie step straight into the job.

    In order to be able to handle the pace, you need tp have the experience, and to have that you need to have served out some kind of "unofficial" apprenticeship ie, worked under supervision for some time and have picked up what is required to a point where you can work satisfactorily unsupervised.

    This is the trouble with "pieces of paper", and it is exactly the same thing for example when you leave university with a degree in engineering, and actually dont know much, until you get a job and work under supervision to gain experience in the practical aspects of your chosen career path.....

    Having thought to take the time to do the course you are on the right track. If you were in Canberra right now I would be interviewing you and if successful, you would be placed in our coffee house under supervision and undergo further training* :) The supervision is to help you gain experience in the workplace to woek under the usual busy cafe pressures, and the training is to improve your understanding, technical skill, and therefore the quality of your brews.

    Unfortunately when you apply for a job as a "barista" in a regular cafe, you have to understand that most usually they are looking for someone that can step straight in, push buttons, handle the pressure, & work at speed on multiples of orders! A real barista should be able to do that but not compromise the quality, so I think the title comes after the time spent and the experience and understanding gained, rather than before.

    Hoe that helps.
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    Re: Am I a Barista?

    I am with the others Suga,

    At this point, you have completed a coffeemaking course.

    Barista is about a whole heap of experience, humility and a commitment to education of yourself and others. Its a word which these days is disrespected by way too many who really just push buttons and crucify milk.

    Those who achieve prep. & serve have "L" plates at best and if like the bloke I trained yesterday fresh out of a BeanBay training course, perhaps a whole heap of bad behaviours which need to be re-taught.

    Baby steps with an open mind and in 5-10 years you may be able to call yourself a barista.

    Enjoy the ride and learn every day.

    Chris

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    Re: Am I a Barista?

    Ah, 5-10 years... sounds painful but also sounds like an exciting journey - I can imagine what I would learn (I actually learnt a few more things in the trial).

    I completly understand what you all mean, Ill change it to "Barista in Training"

    Im not the push the button type, I prefer the manual not the auto ;D I squeed a bit on the training because when I was frothing the milk it was soooo silky I fell inlove because I know I cant get silky milk at home!!! which actually saddened me and im thinking of upgrading now even tho Ive only had my machine for a couple months.

    I have a sunbeam at home (the silver twin one - EM####???) I cant remember the numbers and I use it everyday practising and practising - I have friends and friends of friends coming over with takeaway cups (Ive actually purchased some dissposable cups now) buying coffee from me!!! its crazy!!!! so im getting "some" expierence there.

    I also go to a local church and bring my coffee machine and serve there too. :)

  7. #7
    Senior Member shapeshifter's Avatar
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    Re: Am I a Barista?

    ...or go to maccas and be an instant barista :D

    I splutter ever time I hear that ad and feel sorry for the people that have worked years and years to become one.

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    Re: Am I a Barista?

    Sorry to disagree with the masses, but anyone who pulls a shot professionally is perfectly entiled to call themselves a barista.

    I have no doubt that that fact is just as anoying to the professionals that frequent this forum as it is in my own profession where complete idiots claim grandiose titles that their ability and education simply does not warrant.

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    Re: Am I a Barista?

    I make coffees for $$ and one of the things that comes up in chatting about coffee etc. Oh so you are a Barista No is the reply oh so you have done a course No again. The Muckas adds or Nestles "Barista style coffee C!@# needs to be stopped before the word Barista becomes a joke.

    To my way of thinking a Barista is like all trades they may commence with training be it hands on or a 3 hour course but it is a lifetime career path to follow and you should never stop learning on that journey no matter how long you have been at it. Somewhere down the track if I go into full time coffee making I might consider myself a Barista but NO bit of paper will make it so.

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    Re: Am I a Barista?

    Quote Originally Posted by 5D5A5E515953465651583F0 link=1305299687/8#8 date=1305443459
    Somewhere down the track if I go into full time coffee making I might consider myself a Barista but NO bit of paper will make it so.
    Only a true barista would deny being one ;)

  11. #11
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    Re: Am I a Barista?

    Quote Originally Posted by 64636768606A7F6F6861060 link=1305299687/8#8 date=1305443459
    Somewhere down the track if I go into full time coffee making I might consider myself a Barista but NO bit of paper will make it so.
    And thats probably true of every profession or trade....

    Mal.

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    Senior Member trentski's Avatar
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    Re: Am I a Barista?

    Quote Originally Posted by 404B53484F4F2A0 link=1305299687/9#9 date=1305443950
    Only a true barista would deny being one Wink
    Not quite true, I deny being one ;D

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    Re: Am I a Barista?

    Quote Originally Posted by 0F22262A274B0 link=1305299687/10#10 date=1305445157
    And thats probably true of every profession or trade
    That has been my experience in the past too. Some of the biggest numpties have been Degree or Masters Qualified Engineers straight out of Uni while the best have been the Diploma hands on guys with 20+ years experience* ;)

    Should own up here I was an Engineer in my former life before playing with toys* 8-)

  14. #14
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    Re: Am I a Barista?

    Quote Originally Posted by 343B2D2D373D3F3A372631305E0 link=1305299687/5#5 date=1305332992
    sounds like an exciting journey - I can imagine what I would learn (I actually learnt a few more things in the trial)
    I would suggest calling in to see Fiefy (45 Pirie St, Adelaide) one afternoon and ask if you can work for free for a couple of afternoons to get some machine time in. She has won multiple Barista and Latte Art state championships so you will see "Barista" at a different level to the Tafe course. It might even become a foot in the door and you can add it your resume to help beef it up too.

    If you are as keen as you sound then most good places would be happy to give you a crack in their quieter part of the day.

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    Re: Am I a Barista?

    The sign of a great or true Barista is one that can teach and educate their customers while preparing the best espresso, and I dont call myself a Barista after 10 years of learning, my customers call me a Barista thats the true level to attain. ;)

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    Re: Am I a Barista?

    The word barista is of Italian origin, and in Italian, a barista is a male or female "bartender", who typically works behind a counter, serving both hot drinks (such as espresso), and cold alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, not a coffee-maker specifically.

    How many real baristi are there? Are most of us like myself simply coffee makers


    (off topic - I need a barista in Carnegie - Melbourne, where do we post job ads on coffeesnobs?)

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    Re: Am I a Barista?

    As a technicality, it all comes down to the meaning of the word. Barista=Bartender. So, if you work behind the bar, and pull some shots, then you are a Barista. But there are experienced Barista, and inexperienced Barista. In Australia, I think the title mis represents the job we associate it with, its a cultural thing.

    What I would like to see, is a new title given to espresso coffee specialists.

    What do you think? Maybe its time to move away from the old skool tradition, and redefine the title......suggestions anyone?

  18. #18
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    Re: Am I a Barista?

    This is a bit of a pointless debate. It doesnt matter what the meaning of barista is.

    Suga is a qualified barista as she has a course completion document. She is not yet an experienced barista if i inferred correctly. In the long run, it is a combination of training, experience and demonstrated ability for someone to be called a professional barista.

    But what you are called doesnt matter. Different jobs will require different standards. Some operators just need to know you can point out an espresso machine and grinder and be able to push a button; some will ask you to show you can prepare several cups of coffee to a high standard.

    Flynn

    (who is a coffee enthusiast, not a barista, even if Ive completed a home barista course and have made hundreds of coffees.)

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    Re: Am I a Barista?

    Quote Originally Posted by 69637661616E7A7C0F0 link=1305299687/17#17 date=1306199441
    This is a bit of a pointless debate. It doesnt matter what the meaning of barista is.
    Said by a true non barista >:(....... ;D

    Quote Originally Posted by 69637661616E7A7C0F0 link=1305299687/17#17 date=1306199441
    In the long run, it is a combination of training, experience and demonstrated ability for someone to be called a professional barista.
    I agree.

    But there is a point to it, from a training perspective it always frustrates me the labels given to people who work with coffee, as it can misrepresent their skill base. The label given as an expectation of skills developed is misrepresented, and also very non specific. I believe this can also play a detremantal role in the respect, qualification, at pay rates for professionals as apose to button pushers.

  20. #20
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    Re: Am I a Barista?

    Im in the "a piece of paper doesnt make you a barista" camp.
    Same reasons as eloquently put above by several others.

    I have one of those pieces of paper.
    Ive also worked behind a machine but I didnt get the job because of the certificate.
    I got it because of the passion I showed (and demonstrating that I could use the machine).

    On Saturday I helped a friend with a coffee cart at some markets.
    He normally does less than 4kg of coffee on the day but that day we did 5.5kg.
    He estimated we did about 275 coffees in a 5 hour window.
    The word "slammed" was used a lot.

    I was on shots and he was on milk so he also did hot chocolates, teas and chais on top of that number.

    Despite being proud of myself for being able to jump straight in and help him out at such a pace, I also dont consider myself a barista.

    For example, in our lead up discussions I was contemplating doing the milk instead of pulling shots.
    But when I got there I realised I hadnt worked commercially for quite some time and handling several milk jugs and types of milk was probably a little ambitious that day.

    As it was, it worked out well.
    I was able to handle the pace and not let him down.
    But until I get a lot more practice and feel confident to do the milk at his pace, or even better, do the lot without getting myself confused, Im still not a barista.






  21. #21
    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Re: Am I a Barista?

    Quote Originally Posted by 3D2225262F3922253E2B26253C2F4A0 link=1305299687/18#18 date=1306200635
    Said by a true non barista
    Yes, but anyone can have an opinion. :P

    My point was getting into the semantics of barista misses the point of the original post.

    Suga is a barista and she can write that on her resume. Just how much of a barista is up to the prospective employer to gauge but if the job requires an experienced barista, then she shouldnt get her hopes up.

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    Re: Am I a Barista?

    Hi all,

    Even though I am new as a barista (only 3 years experience), let me share my experience a little bit.

    I worked at my first coffee shop 2 years ago, I had no experience as a waiter nor as a barista. Its basically because I had a right friend then I got the job. I am an Indonesian, where most of our coffees are brewed rather than pressurized by espresso machine. Despite of my lack of knowledge, I showed passion and cleanliness (which is important in any hospitality business).
    The first 3 months, my employer didnt even let me to touch the machines...strictly pouring for take-aways. I was desperate to learn, then I took the certificate (prepare and serve espresso, 4 hours) on my own expense.

    Did my employer let me to be barista after I took the course? Big No. Off course I was frustrated, I thought I had what it takes to be a barista. 4 or 5 months right after that then my employer allow me to make latte occasionally, when its not that busy. Right after that my skill improved rapidly, plus I had few great mentors who already in the business for more than a decade.

    Looking back, I have a theory why I wasnt allowed to make coffee even though I took the course:

    1. That coffee shop is located on the side-walk (Swanston St, across Melbourne Town Hall). There was no way I could handle orders on morning rush, let alone making coffee.

    2. I cant handle multi-tasking as a newbie waiter. For comparison, one of my workmate could handle register with left hand, phone by the ear and steam milk by her right hand. And she still could produce a good silky milk.

    3. Sorry to say this, but I think its true. Certificate means nothing, when people want specific coffee. Not to mention sometimes, each cafe has different sizes of glasses and take-away cups that need to be treated differently.

    So what does it take to be good barista. Until up to this point, I have few points that needed by a barista:

    1. Cleanliness
    Develop a clean habit. I am quite a clean-freak. I follow a chore for each coffee I make. For example: I clean the steamer (scrub by cloth and squirt the steamer) after every coffee I make. After few months doing it, It becomes a habit. You will amaze how many baristas dont pay attention to this details and YES it affect coffees and machines.

    2. Taste
    I am still seeking for what makes good coffee. Feedback from costumers have been really helpful, but relying on compliment might hold you back. Always find perfections.

    3. Quickness
    I was lucky I started my coffee job with decent volume of sales (around 8-9 KG a day). After some times, you will find your own effective and efficient way to make coffee. Every cafe or coffee shop have their own place to put saucers, milk jugs, distance from grinders to espresso machine, etc.

    4. Art
    Art always the last thing. Ive seen people try too hard on art and forget about everything else. It is usually comes along with times and patient. At this point, I am still perfecting my rosetta and my heart art.


    As for the question, whether you are a barista or not. The answer is No. In my opinion, Barista is a job that theory alone will not cut it. You need passion and patience, and one more thing...find someone right to look up to. Observe every move he/she makes as a barista, you might learn a thing or two. ;) I am planning to do this as well, because I am still lack a lot to be a good barista. ;D

  23. #23
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    Re: Am I a Barista?

    Great stuff and a terrific post* raja_kopi,

    I think you are on the way to becoming a barista!

    :o that there are training institutions handing out "Prep. & Serve" on the basis of 4 hours of training. When I taught it at Angliss, it consisted of 2 days in the training room, significant on the job training in a cafe plus written and practical assessment.

    There is no way the course can be taught in 4 hours and I am sad to hear that dodgy training institutions are literally giving away bits of paper.* :(

    Chris

    Quote Originally Posted by 3B3028333434510 link=1305299687/7#7 date=1305443075
    Sorry to disagree with the masses, but anyone who pulls a shot professionally is perfectly entiled to call themselves a barista
    Excellent....I can cut fish with a knife, so I am now entitled to call myself a sushi chef if someone will pay me for it.

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    Re: Am I a Barista?

    I have never worked in the coffee industry.

    I have been involved with the pizza industry.

    one night seemed a bit hectic

    we did 320 pizzas in 2 hours. (18 kg of pineapple we used)

    all the theoretical knowledge (in any industry) is not a substitute for the ability to produce quality and volume of product.

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    Re: Am I a Barista?

    This is a really good debate... It covers the grey area that arises when people do a Barista Course...

    My day job is a Barista Trainer. And one thing I drum into my students who do my course is that even though they are heading in the right direction of becoming a Barista it can take years of training and many thousands of litres of milk (not forgetting the hundreds of kilos of coffee) to actually be a fully experienced Barista. Like any other certificate you do, its the hands on experience that is needed the most. I try not to lead my students into a false sense of security... I think changing your CV to Barista in training is a fabulous idea. I also love Andys idea of offering your time for free in exchange for experience (and if you end up doing such suggestion with Fiefy, then WOW! Even I am jealous! ;))

    Best of luck in your coffee making ventures!



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    Re: Am I a Barista?

    Excellent reply Leigh.

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    Re: Am I a Barista?

    Quote Originally Posted by 54616C6B5F436F66666565000 link=1305299687/22#22 date=1306409560
    "Prep. & Serve" on the basis of 4 hours of training. When I taught it at Angliss, it consisted of 2 days in the training room, significant on the job training in a cafe plus written and practical assessment.

    I happen to be one of those who had the privilege to be taught by one of the best teachers. This practice that Chris taught me goes into all the training I give MY crew (and yes it is McDonalds* :P)

    We have Cerebos (and yes I think there is quite a few people out there who know who they are) come into our store and basically scrutinize how the, lets say "The Baristas in Training" are doing.

    I dont even get asked to demonstrate my texturing etc, as they know that I have what it takes to pass the tests that they ask for.

    My crew, do exceptionally well, as they get trained by me and nobody else, because I have the correct training to help them along.

    One thing I will say that I dislike, is the way people "bash" McCafe. Yes it has its problems, but it is being sorted out.* :)

    I dont really even call myself a Barista. Just someone who enjoys the wonders that coffee is and loving the work that I do.
    -Linda

  28. #28
    Senior Member Pavoniboy's Avatar
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    Re: Am I a Barista?

    I once worked in an organisation where I worked across two different offices in two locations. The local manager of each office was in charge of employing the staff in their office. One manager when hiring the secretary would look at their certificates and written references and have a chat and then hire. This ended badly a couple of times when the person hired began in the job and couldnt do what was required. The other manager would simply say to the interviewees to come on in and do the job for an hour instead of an interview. He would give them a list of jobs and ask them to also service the requests of other staff during the hour and see how they went. We only ever had brilliant secretaries at that office who were very competent.

    I see hiring people to make coffee in a cafe the same - why look at certificates and other marketing materials when you can just ask the applicant to take control of the machine and start pumping out coffees. See how they handle pace and test the quality of their product. If I were applying for a job in a cafe I would even suggest that at interview if the hirer didnt themselves - "May I demonstrate my abilities for you and see if I fulfil what you are looking for?" rather than "look at my pieces of paper".

    Thats not to say dont get the pieces of paper - you should be seeking good training. I just think a barista or whatever people want to call themself should be able to stand on their ability rather than marketing.

    The problem with my opinion here though is this only works at interview. I guess you need to market to get the interview in the first place. :-/

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    Re: Am I a Barista?

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Quote Originally Posted by 634C465B220 link=1305299687/13#13 date=1305451462
    I would suggest calling in to see Fiefy (45 Pirie St, Adelaide) one afternoon and ask if you can work for free for a couple of afternoons to get some machine time in. She has won multiple Barista and Latte Art state championships so you will see "Barista" at a different level to the Tafe course. It might even become a foot in the door and you can add it your resume to help beef it up too.

    If you are as keen as you sound then most good places would be happy to give you a crack in their quieter part of the day
    sounds like good advice to me....It definately wouldnt hurt to ask.

    I have been making coffee for 10 years, in that time I have made hundreds of thousands of coffees. Up until this year I didnt really have as much understanding as I thought I had.

    Sure I can balance a couple of jugs of milk under the steamers and 3 groups at a time for hours upon end.....definately what you will have to do if you get work in a high volume cafe......and you will have to do it fast without panicking.

    But ask me about the characteristics of coffee, roasting etc....well this is something that I have only just began to start learning(and alot from this forum) as most of my working life I have been to flat out pumping out coffee for the masses to stop and answer questions of that nature....which most of the time I winged it by just quoting what the coffee bag said.

    Learning about the complete package... the coffee itself,the machines ,the flavours ,aromas, techniques, etc etc thrown in with the ability to take the customer away from there busy day for just a minute with a joke or the like is what being a barista is all about for me

    This might be something you might want to think about, If you get a job in a high volume cafe where you are pedal to the floor all day, all of a sudden 10 years have got behind you(sounds like a line from a floyd song).

    Only this past couple of months have I had the opportunity to get expert training and really start to learn about this wonderful and interesting profession. My new boss calls me a good barista and I study her barista skills very carefully, If I could get to half of her skill level I would be a happy man......I will never stop trying to learn new things.

    I wish you good luck in your journey...wherever it may take you....all the best! :)



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