☕ Coffee Journey - Barista

Welcome back to Blogging from A - Z / Ultimate Blog Challenge, where this year I'm going to be talking about all things (Starbucks) Coffee. B is for Barista.

Let's jump right in. Simply put, the Barista is the person who makes your beverage. 

It's also the job title that most Starbucks partners (employees) carry. For some it's their main job that they do full time, for some it's a part-time gig, and for some it's the entry level position that allows them to progress over time.

Baristas are in charge of advising and serving guests, selling and preparing various beverages, presenting coffee tastings and samplings, operating the cash register as well as replenishing and cleaning-up.

For a Barista who constantly performs above average and displays a sense of responsibility, a promotion to Shift Supervisor may be in the cards. 

As the name states, this person is in charge of what's going on during their shift. They oversee the opening (or closing) of the store, assign tasks, coordinate breaks for the Baristas, and they initiate and accept orders for goods. Shift Supervisors train new Baristas, and they take care of the accounting of the cash registers and the safe. 

From there, you may go to (Assistant) Store Manager and beyond. 

It's rare though. I'm trying to think of people who went from Barista to Store Manager in "my" market during my five+ years' tenure. 

Maybe one or two?

See, it's harder than it looks. I really admire the fabulous jobs the Baristas do.

Let's start with learning the recipes. In the olden days you had your handbook explaining how many shots of espresso and syrup go into a venti caramel macchiato. Today you may refer to your online flashcards ;-)

Speaking of recipes, the person who works at the cash register needs to be on their toes, too. 

You can help them by placing your order in the following sequence:

  • For here or to go? They need to know whether to grab a paper cup or a ceramic mug.
  • Iced or warm? Again, it's a different kind of container. Iced beverages come in transparent cups and its lids have an opening for straws, whereas the original white cup's lid for warm beverages has this beak opening so you can slurp your coffee while you walk. 
  • What size? The correct terms are tall, grande, venti (12, 16 or 20oz, resp. 354, 473 or 591ml) For iced beverages there's also the trenta size 31oz or 917ml. More about sizes in my post dedicated to the letter X, or in that case XXL ;-)
  • Decaf? 
  • Shots? How many espresso shots do you want? Depending on the size of your beverage you'll get one, two or three, unless you specify otherwise.
  • Syrup? Do you want a flavored drink like a vanilla latte? Now is your chance to tell them. You can choose from caramel, hazelnut and many more seasonal syrups (think chai, peppermint, toffee nut, cinnamon dolce,...)
  • Milk? Do you want non-fat, 2% or whole milk? If you can't or don't want cow milk, tell them your choice: almond, oat, coconut or soy milk
  • Custom stands for individual modifications: extra foam, no whip, kids' temperature (130°F instead of 180)
  • Drink: finally you'll get to say what kind of beverage you want: cappuccino, latte, macchiato, americano...

Tom Hanks' character Joe Fox (You've got Mail) sums it up nicely:

Sometimes customers have a hard time remembering the actual name of a beverage and will ask for something that sounds similar. 

Like a Tai Chi Latte (they mean "Chai Tea Latte").

And it doesn't stop at hand-crafted beverages. There's the whole bean varieties, too ;-) That'll be for another day though. 

Here's a giggle before we wrap it up today: 

"Do you guys have the Kama Sutra Coffee?"

What they mean is whole beans from Sumatra, Indonesia.

What do you think? Would you enjoy working as a Barista? Do you have a favorite beverage?


  1. An interesting and demanding job profile! With its hilarious moments but I am sure the Baristas are trained to maintain a blank face! By the way, here (in india) we have a coffee chain called Barista .

  2. I make it easy when I go in and order coffee - I like my coffee simple... BLACK. No need for sugar, for milk, or for cream.

    Once in a while, when I really want desert, I will order a Venti White Chocolate Mocha with Raspberry syrup and an extra shot. And now I have learned, thanks to you, that my order sequence is COMPLETELY off! Thanks for the lesson.

  3. I love Starbucks' banoffee pie + latte!

    Interesting job descriptions.☺️

  4. What a terrific blog post and insights into being a Starbucks Barista! I loved your humour and your video clip and images you included. Thanks for sharing this fun post! Diana

  5. I didn't the meaning of Barista. Thanks for that bit of info.
    It's truly a challenging job, satisfying all the requirements of customers.

  6. Professionalism for Baristas!


  7. I wish they'd have more than just vanilla syrup in sugar-free. Honestly, it's nasty as vanilla iced coffee. For 99 cents McDonald's sugar free is much better. The stores sell chocolate sugar-free syrup, so I don't know why Starbucks doesn't. Surely, a lot of people want chocolate!
    Yes, mopping. I worked for a short while for a drug store chain and the closing employees (two) were in charge of vacuuming, mopping, and cleaning the bathrooms! And expected to take care of customers AND empty the trash inside and out!

  8. We were at a busy Starbucks during our last vacation and the Barista was so nice and helpful. It made such a difference.

  9. Hey there...it's been a year and I've not been keeping up. I miss my Starbucks Camp. I'm glad you are writing about it. It brings back many good memories. I had many favorite baristas that I helped troubleshoot the stupid bixolons. LOL.

  10. It sounds so complicated. I would never make it as a barista. I like the name though.

  11. I've always wondered where the term barista came from. I would not even begin to know how to order anything at Starbucks. (But I don't coffee or tea or hot drinks or caffeinated drinks, so I don't really need to :)

  12. I'd never make it as a barista. I get stressed just standing in line in hearing all the complicated orders ahead of me.

  13. I don't frequent Starbucks these days but I do believe a barista has a hard time with what is expected of them in the way of knowing all the drinks, etc. At my current temp job, I'm processing terminated files of employees for a major grocery chain (not Wal-Mart). A lot of the stores have a Starbucks in them. As part of the files comes the training guides for Starbucks for the barista. I have enjoyed looking through them to see how each drink is made. I think it would be fun to be a barista but I don't think I have the physical skills to be able to stand on my feet for the entire shift, etc. I do have a favorite drink called a Mr. Penguin from a local coffee shop where I live in Phoenix (it will be featured in my D post for the challenge :)

    Good luck with the rest of the challenge!


  14. LOL the Kama Sutra coffee! Yes, the Starbucks barista has a tough job at times. The good ones (most of them) make it look so easy. Bravo, baristas!


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