Do you still think that the barista is the person who makes the coffee? This profession requires the skills of a designer, actor, psychologist, and even a person’s showman. The barista’s job is not just to make coffee, but to entertain the visitor, strike up a conversation with him, and discreetly educate newcomers on the quirks of coffee etiquette. Therefore, the barista bartender is more likely not a job, but a person’s calling.
The term “barista” appeared in the Russian language quite recently and has not even made it into modern dictionaries yet. However, it has already held a solid place in the lexicon of every self-respecting coffee lover. In general, barista is an Italian word that literally means “the person who works at the bar”. The barista differs from his colleagues in that he is the specialist in making coffee (mainly espresso) in a coffee machine.
Apparently, what could be easier than pouring ground coffee into a special depression, tamping it down, pressing a button and waiting for the result? However, in reality, the job of a barista is much more difficult. You need to be able to control the water temperature and pressure in the coffee machine, know exactly how much ground coffee is needed per cup, and how hard it needs to be tamped. In addition, the master barista must be able to prepare other varieties of espresso in addition to espresso. He has the art of latte art and knows how to properly serve drinks to diners.
A habit for the best
Initially, the barista was a master at making espresso. This is not surprising, because in Italy, where this profession appeared, it is this type of drink that is most popular. For a long time, coffee sommeliers remained a part of the local flavor, but in the 1980s this profession was brought to the United States by the owner of the now famous Starbucks company Howard Schultz. He was so impressed by the skill with which a barista barista can carry out his work that he began to record this process in photos and videos, and upon arriving in his homeland, he implemented it in his own coffee shops. Today, these specialists can prepare around 40 types of coffee. Also, baristas are still training here. For example, there is a known case in which 1,700 Starbucks cafes in the United States were closed for one day to teach specialists how to make a perfect espresso in 19 seconds.
Today, the barista bartender is a common profession in many countries. But not without specific features. For example, in Russia, the barista bartender deals exclusively with coffee. But in Italy, and in Europe as a whole, such an employee simultaneously performs the functions of waiter, waiter, cleaner, dishwasher and, in general, may be the owner of a cafe. Also, in Russia, the average age of such a specialist ranges from 18 to 24 years. Mainly women choose this profession. But in Italy and Europe, a master barista is almost always a man. At the same time, a person can receive such a title only after the age of 30-35, having accumulated solid experience and honed skills. In Italy, the barista’s bartender is a calling, not a way to get a temporary job.
Each specialist in this area strives to reach the highest level – to become a coffee master. This is not just a barista, he has a delicate taste and a deep knowledge of the product that he offers to the visitors of his establishment. The coffee master in particular tastes the espresso so that only a high-quality drink is served to the guests. Among other things, such a specialist must be in remarkable health: no kidding: during the day, during tasting, he drinks up to 300 shots of coffee (small 50 ml cups).
Become the best of the best
You can’t just get up in front of the coffee machine and immediately be considered a master barista. Such a specialist must first receive training. Barista courses are usually opened by all kinds of associations of bartenders and coffee specialists, as well as by educational institutions that have the appropriate accreditation – schools, educational centers and professionals, etc. In some institutions (especially when it comes to large retail chains or coffee shops) you have your own barista school, where the recruit is taught not only professional secrets, but also special secrets and tricks for making a particular brand of drink.
A barista school can also be helpful for bartenders already working in the field. New things are constantly emerging in this industry, so even savvy coffee growers sometimes need more training. For example, anyone can enroll in a short-term barista course that teaches the art of latte art. In them you can master the technique of creating beautiful patterns in milk foam, which have recently become very fashionable.
However, what good is reaching the heights of excellence if you can’t prove your superiority in the competition? The work of a barista is related to the opportunity to participate in competitions designed to identify the best specialists. This not only forces them to excel in the profession, but also increases the prestige of the institutions in which they work.
The main barista championship is the World Barista Championship sponsored by SCAE (Specialty Coffee Association of Europe) and SCAA (Specialty Coffee Association of America). Regional stages are held in each country so that the strongest bartender can qualify for the international barista championship. All applicants are evaluated in real time, choosing the best one not only based on the tasting results, but also based on the contestants’ ability to beautifully organize the drink and keep the workplace in order, as well as having Consider your technical skills when working with a coffee machine.
In addition to this competition, there are many other regional competitions. Evaluating their strengths, each master can choose a highly specialized barista championship dedicated to the preparation of a certain type of coffee – latte, alcoholic, turkey, cappuccino, etc. This serves as a good advertisement for brands and helps participants to exchange experiences and improve their skills.