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 ;-)
- 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?