How to Write a Barista Job Description (Duties, Responsibilities)
Making a good cup of coffee is more complex than it sounds. The typical coffeehouse menu is long and peppered with coffee terms (aka jargon) that require deciphering. Whether it’s drip, pour-over, red eye, or breve, baristas must know it all.
A barista is the friendly beverage maker behind the counter, whipping up specialty drinks, taking orders and payments, and doing it with a smile. They often toggle between the point of purchase and making drinks, keeping all the orders and special requests straight. Customers have opinions and, let’s face it, quirks when it comes to their coffee, and the barista is constantly customizing drinks to order, all the while keeping the equipment and tools clean and sanitized.
A typical barista job description will include the daily duties, but great baristas have a secret: they know how to balance customer service with speed and efficiency. Coffeehouses are almost always quick service affairs. Customers don’t have the patience to wait more than a few minutes for their order to come up—they haven’t had their coffee yet, after all. The pace is swift, and the orders need to be precise.
That said, baristas are integral to the coffeehouse “vibe” that brings people back again and again.
List of Duties for the Job
More than any other type of eating establishment, coffeehouses inspire daily return customers. Sometimes, baristas may be the only person a customer interacts with all day. Often, coffeehouses double as offices, with guests sitting at tables for hours on end. This is why it’s important for baristas to be friendly and nurture connections with customers. Baristas remember guests’ signature drinks, create music playlists, and are pivotal to building a sense of community that defines the coffee shop experience. Even coffee bars inside restaurants, supermarkets, and big box stores like Target welcome repeat customers. It’s the barista who is often greeting people and asking about their day.
Knowledge of hot-brewing techniques and equipment
Baristas must be familiar with or willing to learn about the abundance of tools, equipment, and coffee terms that have proliferated over the last decade. Dozens of drinks can be made from a single shot of espresso. Baristas should be knowledgeable about bean origins, cutting-edge brewing techniques, and new coffee equipment that sets independent coffee houses apart from the rest. At chain shops, the baristas should memorize the drink recipes inside and out and always know what customizations are doable. Various teas (hot and cold) and food items are found at most coffee shops, and baristas must be comfortable preparing and serving them.
Take orders and payment
Because of the fast pace and high turnover, baristas probably handle more transactions per hour than other eating establishments. Good candidates are comfortable with point-of-sale technology or willing to learn. The setup can work in many ways, depending on the business. Baristas may be taking drive-through orders, online orders, and counter orders all at once. Strong organizational skills are key to keeping the chaos under control.
Clean and stock
With such a high volume of customers and orders, cleaning and sanitizing is a large part of the job. Good candidates understand the importance of all health and safety regulations and are proactive about regular cleaning. This includes deep cleaning the machines, sanitizing ice bins, washing the shakers, and wiping down all surfaces. Even milk frothers should be wiped down and blown out after every steaming. Baristas will notice when supplies are running low and restock all ingredients and coffee accouterments, down to the napkins and stirrers.
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Barista Job Description Sample
To make it easier to create a Barista job description, here’s a sample you can use.
Job Title: Barista
Tip Income: Yes
Schedule: Full-Time (40 hours per week). Monday–Thursday
Role: You will create a positive customer experience through excellent service and expertly crafted beverages. Our baristas bring coffee expertise and a friendly demeanor to our energetic store environment, working as part of a team to create the high-quality drinks we are known for. Key attributes for the position include strong organizational skills, the ability to get along with others, and a commitment to customer service.
- Be a “people person” and greet customers
- Enjoy working as a team
- Answer questions about the beverage menu
- Familiarity with or willingness to learn about hot-brewing equipment used to make coffee, tea, and other drinks
- Take orders accurately, including preferences for non-dairy milk, coffee blends, and other customizations
- Prepare beverages according to instructions
- Serve customers food, like muffins, pastries, and bagels
- Receive and process payments
- Clean and maintain brewing equipment and report any malfunctions
- Comply with health regulations
Additional requirements: Able to walk or stand for long periods.
Tips for Writing Effective Job Descriptions
- Emphasize the company culture up front and what sets your coffee shop apart from countless others. The right candidate will be drawn to the values that make your brand.
- Make sure the job description is exciting and engaging. Include any unique benefits, whether health care or free coffee and pastries.
- Involve current team members in writing the job description by asking for input. This will help you fine-tune the skills necessary for the role and eliminate criteria that are not really needed.
For many coffee shops, it’s not just about excellent coffee but about connecting with people and inspiring loyalty. Beyond coffee-making skills, finding a barista with the right cultural fit will be crucial for success.
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