What does it take to be a barista?

By Death Wish Coffee — / Death Wish Coffee Blog

How do you become a barista? 

Being a barista and dedicating your career to the coffee world is terrific for people who are social, trendy, and constantly caffeinated. But it entails more than just slinging lattes. It also requires the ability to deliver a high-end experience. Creativity along with drive and passion for coffee are essential for success.

Coffee is like wine or beer — there are infinite combinations and possibilities from bean to cup. You can have the best bean in the world, but unless the barista knows how to present it, the coffee is worthless.

Working in coffee is more of a challenge than most people think. The daily grind of a fast-paced environment, demanding customers, as well as interacting with other staff, can be highly stressful. However, turning coffee into a work of art and making someone happy with that strong cup of coffee can make it all worth it.

The bottom line: Baristas give you your daily cup of happiness. Show some respect, people. And if you’re looking for a few tips on how to become a barista, read on.


  • Passion
  • Drive
  • Creativity
  • Knowledge

It’s not always easy to stay motivated, so having a daily purpose is important. Heating up the creativity with new patterns, preparing that perfect shot of espresso, or trying a new cold brew technique can keep you focused and inspired. And if you’re looking for a little extra motivation, you could taste test, too, of course.

When it comes down to it, coffee is a science. Like any skill, it’s not enough to just love coffee and know some industry lingo – although that’s an important start. Becoming educated in harvesting, roasting, and brewing will provide a much greater appreciation of this popular beverage.

Surrounding yourself with other baristas and coffee lovers (we don't bite) can help you feel like part of an exclusive community. Attending coffee tastings, cuppings, and barista competitions can enhance your experience and explore industry opportunities. It’s not enough to just have an outgoing personality and some brew knowledge, knowing the accessories and equipment will help you get your grind on.

Whether you aspire to be a national champion, an award-winning latte artist, or just a great barista, there is always more to learn. Baristas are more than just people who make specialty coffee drinks. They are scientists, experimenting to find a bean’s best taste and flavor profile. They are artists, attempting to create that masterpiece of a cappuccino. The ‘baristabilities’ are endless.

Related: 10 things no one tells you about your barista
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