How to Identify a Kick-ass Barista

Bow tie and/or braces
Ironic use of radical 90’s vocab

Sounds like a kick-ass barista right? Maybe by some people’s standards but really, who cares whether your barista’s moustache-wax is on point as long as their flat whites are!

If you’re more concerned about the quality of your coffee than the quality of the barista’s ink; here’s my handy guide for working out if your barista really knows their stuff.

1) Their processes are slick: Spend a bit of time watching them – if there’s a method to their work, a rhythm when they’re banging out those coffees; chances are they know what they’re doing. No-one wants a chaotic coffee – consistency is key.

2) Their working area is clean and tidy: Let’s face it; making a coffee is messy. There are coffee grounds flying about as well as milk and hot water. Check: do they clean the porter filters after each use? Is the steam arm sparkling or covered in crusty old milk? Do they re-use the milk jugs without rinsing, or worse: re-heat the milk?! All these things affect the taste (and hygiene) of your coffee – good baristas are on top of it.

3) They can recommend your next coffee: A great barista cares about coffee and about their customer. They can use their knowledge and passion to tell you about your next favourite drink. I love to go into a coffee bar and just ask for whatever they want to make me – it really shows their calibre.

4) The best mate factor: A fantastic barista is not just skilled in customer service; they really know their regulars. We get countless emails to our head office praising our café teams and how they make people feel welcome, at ease and at home. They might have a full café and long to-do list but they know that the customer is King (or Queen). Taking the time to get to know customers is what turns first-time visitors into regulars. If your barista knows your name and your coffee order they’re an absolute keeper!

Originally written for Paddy & Scott’s & printed in Bury Free Press.