How to Become a World Class Barista?
I had the pleasure of chatting with The Barn Berlin’s roaster Jessica Greene. She has worked for 4.5 years at The Barn, which is regarded as one of the most advanced roasteries in the world.
The Barn represents the cutting edge in coffee business. Jessica shared her opinions and observations on what it takes to develop into a world class barista.
1. Be passionate & dedicated
Anyone can become a good barista if they really want to. To become a good or even world class barista requires a lot of hard work and interest. Start with the basics; how to brew a good espresso and steam that perfect milk. It helps to consider your development as a process and take one aspect at a time. Try to master latte art first and then move to manual brewing and so on.
Baristas at the Barn and are so good because they want to focus on the coffee and keep it as good as possible. They are giving 100% of dedication to the coffee and exploring new ways of making it. Find something you are really interested in and try to be best at it. Let the others to focus on the things they are good at.
2. Get engaged
Jessica got hooked in coffee right away when she started working at the Barn. She says that coffee is such an interesting and complex thing that there is always something new to learn about it. Once you really start with coffee, there is no end to it and it is really rewarding to work with.
I remember browsing the internet for information about something related to coffee and noticing after few hours that I was supposed to go to bed two hours ago. To be honest, that still happens to me every once in a while.
Jessica loves the coffee community in Berlin which really spars everyone to become better and know more about coffee. A great way of getting to know more about coffee is to go to a café and start asking the barista for something specific. I found this really helpful, and usually the barista really loves to help and talk about coffee. Just remember that they might get carried away and tell you way more information that you were hoping for.
3. Do your training
At the Barn roastery (located Schönhauser Allee 8, 10119 Berlin) they really want to connect the baristas to roasting. The baristas are welcome to follow the roasting process, and the roasters educate them about roasting which the baristas can then tell to the customers. The baristas are also allowed to do sample roasts which really connects them to the coffee that they are serving.
Every new employee at the Barn has to go through the same training even thought they would have a lot experience from the coffee industry. The new baristas start with a service training which is followed by coffee training.
After training, the new baristas shadow shifts to observe the actual baristas working and help them by for example grinding espresso doses. After the barista feels comfortable, he or she can take an exam and move to the next level in the training. These exams are continued along the barista’s career so that they can find out where they are good at and if they have room for improvement. In my own opinion this kind of training should be arranged in every work place, no matter if it is a café, restaurant or a shop to sell paper clips.
At the Barn baristas are also more than welcome to come in on their own time to train. And most of them do, and Jessica has quite often to kick them out so that they don’t spend all of their time in there. Jessica actually told me that she spent most of her nights at the Barn when she started, just training different things about coffee. And all that without salary. Talk about dedication!
4. And then, repeat, repeat & repeat
Once you master all the stuff, it’s time to get that into your spine. It means repetition after repetition. Only that way you are able to work efficiently and where ever you need to. Also, you are able to be better in customer service once you don’t have to concentrate on the coffee making.
This text is not meant to put you off, but to inspire. Just remember that it requires a lot of hard work and dedication but it will be rewarding.
In a nutshell:
- Everyone can become a world class barista
- It requires dedication and hard work
- Start with the basics, one topic at a time
- Be curious, talk to people, find out about things
- Hard work pays off!
Read also my blog Berlin Coffee Guide 2017 here!