10 Tips On How To Be A Good Barista

Are you wondering how to be a good barista? My mom has spent 30 years running her coffee shop, and this is what she has to say.

Smiling barista appraisingly looks at a glass of filter coffee - How to be a good barista
A great barista takes more skills

“Being a mere novice in the barista scene actually does more good than harm,” is something my mom told me. Running a coffee shop for nearly 30 years, my mom is a real boss who knows exactly what’s going on behind the coffee counter. 

If you think you can make excellent coffee – that’s a great way to take on the journey of a good barista. However, a great barista takes more skills to tackle than playing around with a few recipes. 

How To Be A Good Barista? 10 Skills You Must Learn and Possess

1. Customer Service And Communication Skills

Think about your working space. You are the frontline employee – the first person customers encounter after walking through the door. Focus on your communication skills such as smiling, controlling your tone, and giving customers the best offers and advice.

2. Attention To Detail

Customers are unhappy if they get something different than their initial order. And this is much more likely to happen if you work in a crowded, highly-visited café in town where dozens of customers show up during a busy morning rush at once.

Take some time to give your memory a workout and practice the ability to juggle multiple orders at once without messing up between a cold brew and an espresso or latte.

3. Basic Maintenance And Troubleshooting Skills

Coffee grinders, pod machines, French press makers, espresso makers, and many other machines need expertise in troubleshooting and maintenance skills.

A barista checking his coffee maker
Be familiar with the coffee machine you have on your countertop

When a grinder suddenly stops working, you don’t want to find yourself at sixes and sevens during a busy lunchtime. Learn to read the manual, be familiar with any machine you have on the countertop, and prepare to fix some small and easy problems so you can have it ready in no time. 

4. Sales Skills

Am I holding you back in doubt? Well, then that’s a good thing because mastering sales skills will soon give you a salary raise. Plus, boosting monthly revenue during your shift will help you get ahead of the team.

5. Master Your Brewing Skills

What are the most common brewing methods your brand prefers? Can you master them? Knowing how to brew coffee in different ways using different machines and playing around with various coffee beans is the first thing to learn to be a top barista.

The coffee industry is an ever-changing world. And each customer has a favorite way to enjoy their coffee fix. 

Embrace the chance to learn and tackle the most basic brewing methods. Maybe today you’re making a pour-over with a Hario V60, but tomorrow you’re required to deal with a French press of dripped coffee at an entirely different café.

6. Know Your Coffee Flavor Profiles

We all know there are four different types of coffee out there. Make sure you know how to make a complete list of their tasting profiles. 

How are they responding when the water temperature fluctuates? What would you do if the customer asked for a rich or strong coffee? Take time to learn and improve your coffee knowledge.

7. Nail The How-To Of The Roasting And Processing Procedure

Learn how to identify washed coffee and honey coffee, single-origin and blend, dark roast, and light roast. Which one will come out degraded and bitter? Which one must go with a lower brew temperature? 

A person roasting coffee beans.
Master the different profiles of coffee bean roasting

8. Keep Grinding Every Day

Grinding is the best way to get intimate with your coffee. Grinding helps you understand the importance of grind size for different brew methods and extraction—for example, finer ground results in a faster extraction rate and slower water flow and vice versa.

If you liked this post, you may also enjoy our guide on how to make coffee in a coffee pot.

9. Get Trained With Your Espresso

Making espresso is hard. Pulling the right shot is harder than getting a pour-over or a drip of coffee done. It takes time to pour the correct water volume, stop the shot, check your timer, grind, dose, and tamp. 

Different machines will also require you to get intimate with their pre-infusion, pressure profiling, and flow profiling.

10. Learn The Art Of Latte And Milk Steaming

Milk is another crucial factor that demands constant practice. You’ll know how to produce a perfect texture without scalding the milk, wand position, and pouring speed at the end of the day.

Not all customers are into dairy milk, so make sure you know how to identify different types of plant-based milk, their taste profiles, and how they react to different recipes.

A man making art latte
Milk is another crucial factor that demands constant practice

Is It Difficult To Be A Barista?

Cooking is not a piece of cake, and neither does making coffee. Being a home barista is way easier than being a great barista for a big coffee shop.

There’s no point rushing, so the most important thing here is to enjoy your journey and embrace any chance passing by. Curiosity drives you forward. So ask a lot of questions and take time to master each skill.


  • Oanh Nguyen

    Born and raised by a traditional mama-barista, Oanh is a typical Viet coffee aficionado who would spend her entire precious Sunday showing you how to categorize coffee beans just by the looks and smells. She enjoys writing about everything drinks-related while sipping her favorite rosebud tea. Find Oanh on LinkedIn.