The Barista (noun) /ber – ista/ that person behind the coffee machine.
Recently we were asked, “If the coffee beans are good, the coffee machine is the same, and the method is the standard practice – why is the barista so important in that last piece of making a coffee?” With COVID-19 shaking the hospitality industry and putting many baristas out of work we began thinking more about the importance of baristas.
Being a coffee roastery, we love baristas! We know their crucial importance in delivering good coffee and we respect and admire a well-poured swan or perfectly extracted espresso. However, hospitality is a fast-paced industry and sometimes their dedication can be overlooked.
We would like to dedicate this page to appreciate all of the awesome baristas out there.
There are so many steps that go into being an awesome barista. You have to have the skill, love customer service, be able to multi-task and hold respect for the product you’re working with.
Here’s our top 3 things we love about baristas:
1. Bean to cup journey
Their love for the product they’re working with.
The bean to cup journey is a very long process with many minds, hands and hearts involved. You can’t even sum up the process in a sentence (read more about the journey here). Farmers, coffee suppliers, coffee roasters, and – of course – baristas, dedicate their lives to the coffee world. There’s an overwhelming amount of passion, dedication, and creativity in the industry. Specialty coffee is a science and an art with numerous factors to consider and explore.
Being an awesome barista means you’re aware of this long process and understand it’s your duty to finish this last step to perfection.
The bean to cup journey is a big rabbit hole to fall in. But, it’s an exciting one. Baristas hold an admirable amount of information on the process, it’s impressive how far it can go. Just be warned newbies, there’s a never-ending amount of information out there!
2. A particular set of skills
Good baristas have an impressive toolbox of skills.
Good coffee beans and a coffee machine make up only a part of that delicious cup of joe. Steaming smooth creamy milk takes a lot of practice to master. With about 85% of coffee drunk in Australia being with milk – baristas have to know their stuff when it comes to operating the steam wand effectively.
Latte art is another important skill that baristas have. As they say, “we eat (& drink) with our eyes.” Seeing a beautifully presented coffee shows how experienced and well skilled the barista is and that they have put many (wo)man-hours into perfecting their techniques to bring you a fantastic looking coffee made with care and attention to detail.
Baristas also must continuously refine these skills and develop their knowledge to keep up-to-date with new trends. You’re constantly learning as a barista.
3. Cup of connection
On top of delivering a superb product – baristas give a good dose (+/- 2g) of connection with customers.
Coffee is even more than a delicious drink but it also represents forming connections with others. Going to your favourite local cafe, having a chat with the workers, receiving the warm brew – you always feel lighter and happier after the process (even before you take your first sip!)
Going out for a coffee is an act that strengthens your bond with the community. Without the barista, the connection would be lost!
Without these important factors you may as well be served by a robot!
Robots can make silly mistakes.
Robots don’t know the amazing work that goes into producing the coffee beans. They can’t even talk! Without that human barista the experience isn’t quite the same.
There has been a lot of automation within the coffee industry with most of it going a long way to help give more consistency and make things easier for baristas working in high volume cafes to keep the quality on point and wait times down. But even with all the technical advances no one wants to be served by a robot!
So, “If the coffee beans are good, the coffee machine is the same, and the method is the standard practice – why is the barista so important in that last piece of making a coffee?”
To sum it up – their knowledge, passion, care and connection. We love baristas and we hope to see you all soon behind that coffee machine. We miss you!
If you have a question, send them through! We’re always happy to help.
Happy coffee making,
The Leaf Bean Machine team