10 Barista Tips And Tricks For New And Home Baristas

Before applying for a job as a barista, take a look at these barista tips and tricks.

Barista Tips And Tricks
Barista using a syphon coffee maker

A barista is the face of your coffee shop. When they pour a cup of coffee or create a piece of latte art, they are connecting with your customers. Whether you are a coffee shop owner or a barista, you can always use a few barista tips and tricks to make your coffee drinks more impressive.

Barista Tips And Tricks To Improve Your Barista Skills

Are you looking for tips and tricks to make you a better barista? A high-quality cup of coffee doesn’t happen by accident. Consider these coffee-making tips on your next order.

1. Warm The Cups

Warming the cups before making a hot espresso drink helps make the coffee more appealing. Not only does it keep the drink warmer longer, but it also makes the drinking experience a more positive one. You can fill the cup with hot water before serving or use the steam wand to heat it.

Hot cups are particularly important when making espresso. This drink will cool quickly without a hot cup to start it off. For more, check out out guide on how to be a good barista.

2. Learn To Make Microfoam

Microfoam is a special type of frothed milk foam made by frothing extremely cold milk with the tip of the steam wand placed close to the surface of the milk, but still beneath it. After making the foam, the barista will then plunge the steam wand into the milk to heat it further. Microfoam not only has a smooth feel that the customer will enjoy, but it also makes better latte art.

To froth milk, you need to start with cold milk and a cold pitcher. Then, fill it no more than 1/3 of the way with the cold milk, because ht frothing process will increase the volume. Drain any water from the steam wand before you start. 

3. Grind Properly

Woman busy making coffee using coffee grinder
Professional grinder is required to grind coffee beans to create a tasty cup of coffee

Grinding coffee beans into uniform, fine particles requires a professional grinder, but this is critical to creating a tasty cup of coffee and getting the most flavor from each cup.

To grind well, use a professional-grade grinder. Use a medium-to-high setting, and pulse the grinder for three to five seconds at a time. Continue pulsing until you have fine ground.

4. Learn To Tamp

Baristas can help by proper tamping using a firm wrist and arm. By tamping the ground coffee into the portafilter, creating a uniform density and surface, baristas can brew coffee with more flavor.

Start with light pressure until a puck has formed with an even surface, then dig in with some elbow grease to push it into a firm, solid puck. Use a twisting motion as you pull out from the tamp to continue forming the puck.

5. Go Slow With The Latte Art

Latte art is a skill that takes time to learn. When you start your job as a barista, find a latte art design that works for you, and perfect it, then, start expanding your skill. A heart is a popular choice for a first latte art piece, so consider starting there.

Latte art is impressive, but no one expects perfection the first time someone tries. Practice makes perfect, so give yourself the chance to learn.

6. Wait To Change The Grind

If you feel like something is off about your grind, wait to change it until you have made at least one coffee, preferably two. This will give you enough information about what is or is not working about the grind, and allow you to correct it when you grind again.

By making a cup of coffee first, you will be able to pinpoint the problem and correct it accurately, rather than just guessing. 

7. Keep Your Tools Close

The tools used to make your coffee need to stick close to your machines. This includes the tamper, cups, scales, grinder, pitcher, towel, and anything else you regularly use. 

By keeping your tools close to the area where you work, you can make your coffee more efficient. Set up a coffee station that puts all of these supplies within arm’s reach or less than a step or two from the main coffee machine.

8. Give Attention To Cleanliness

Interior of a coffee shop
Cleaning the area daily is vital and also maintaining cleanliness of your coffee-making equipment

Keeping your coffee-making equipment clean every day, and often multiple times a day is vital. Even if you just make one or two shots, clean the area daily. Over time the mess will add up, and you’ll have even more work in the end. 

Cleaning your espresso machine, for instance, needs to happen every day, and if you are a busy barista, it should happen multiple times a day. After the morning rush and before the after-work rush, give the machine a good cleaning.

9. Organize Those Towels

Towels are an important tool in the professional barista’s back pocket, and you need to keep them organized. Have a specific towel for each particular task, like a dry towel to wipe the portafilter and a damp towel for wiping the steam wand. Never mix these up, or you will end up wiping a clean machine with a dirty towel.

One tip to help you keep the towels separate is to use a different color or texture for each task. This way you can quickly see which one to use when you face a busy morning with your customers.

10. Keep The Hopper Full

The hopper on your grinder should stay full at all times. Many new baristas feel surprised when the coffee speeds up or slows down when the hopper starts to empty. This occurs because the burrs in the grinder do not have an even distribution of weight.

With consistent weight distribution, you will have a better grind consistency. This, in turn, means better flavor consistency.

A Final Word On Barista Tips And Tricks

Being a barista means always learning new skills, new recipes and new techniques. Even professional baristas can improve their abilities as they brew a shot of espresso or craft a macchiato. 

Yet every barista has to start somewhere, and even home baristas can benefit from a little more learning. With these barista tips and tricks, you will be well on your way to creating tasty drinks and beautiful art.

FAQs About Barista Tips And Tricks

How do baristas get started?

Many baristas get started at home, learning to make coffee drinks on home equipment. Those who want to make a career out of it can learn online and practice at home until they have several drinks they can make. This, combined with a winning personality and friendly smile, can help a new barista get started. 

In addition, many baristas start at a chain store where they can learn basic coffee making and perfect their art. After a stint at Starbucks, they are often ready to work in a boutique coffee shop.

What should a barista know on the first day?

On the first day of work, a barista should know:
-Different types of coffee
-Different types of milk and how they affect the drink
-How to clean equipment as they work
-How to use basic coffee-making equipment


  • Nicole H.

    Nicole Harms has been writing professionally since 2006. She specializes in education content and real estate writing but enjoys a wide gamut of topics. Her goal is to connect with the reader in an engaging, but informative way. Her work has been featured on USA Today, and she ghostwrites for many high-profile companies. As a former teacher, she is passionate about both research and grammar, giving her clients the quality they demand in today's online marketing world.