Barista Job Description: Tips to Infuse Your Search + Template

Some cities might seem to overflow with barista-hopefuls. But coffee shop owners know that finding the right barista—someone with the right customer banter, espresso expertise, and reliable attitude—is something to percolate over. 

While you’re thinking about the best fit for your café—are you looking for latté art aficionados, or experienced coffee connoisseurs?—ease the hiring process with this job description for a barista.

Whether you’re about to open your doors or making your 100th hire, follow these steps to find the barista of your dreams. We cover tips for every step of the process, from job post to interview to hire. 

 

What does a barista do? Understand this crucial cafe role.

A good barista serves solid coffee, but a great barista is the front line of your business to your clientele. They know the history of espresso, the difference soil can make in bean mouthfeel, and that a top-notch cleaning schedule can make or break the behind-the-bar experience.

Barista duties may include: 

  • Building customer relationships
  • Taking orders
  • Preparing beverages—in taste, technique, AND appearance
  • Selling retail items like coffee beans, mugs, and cafe merch
  • Restocking low inventory
  • Cleaning & organizing behind the bar and around the cafe
  • Working closely with fellow teammates
  • Participating in ongoing trainings

The best all-around baristas will be obsessed with tea, coffee, and building relationships—but baristas like these are few and far between. The right barista for your business might know how to make a killer cup of coffee, but need training on a POS. They might have amazing menu ideas, but need support with cleanliness.

To craft a killer job description, think about the barista skills that are most important to your café and build the job posting out from there. You might also think about what skills your coffee shop can help a barista build, like knowledge-sharing or refining their coffee palate.

labor cost control

Hiring a barista: what to think about before you interview.

Now that you know what skills to look for in a barista candidate, it’s time to narrow your focus. What’s non-negotiable in your new hire? Is your ideal barista more knowledgeable or practical, social or focused? And what do you, as a business owner, provide that makes your café a great place to work? 

Barista turnover rates are high, and the best way to keep a steady team is to know what you’re looking for and how you can meet their needs. Here’s what to think about before hiring!

What barista job skills are essential?

Baristas need certain hard skills, like the ability to steam milk without burning it.But certain soft skills are also essential. The best person for your team might have:

  • Great espresso milk-steaming skills
  • In-depth knowledge about coffee, beans, and tea
  • Passion for connecting with customers
  • Flexibility and adaptability in a fast-changing industry
  • Excellent time management
  • A future desire to open their own cafe
  • Experience in coffee shops or other food service roles
  • A desire to mentor and support other teammates
  • A strong drive to learn
  • Excellent problem-solving skills
  • Great teamwork instincts

Look into the 3 C’s of hiring.

The 3 C’s of Hiring” is a term used by job recruiters to describe the right culture fit for a job. The 3 C’s refer to “Character, Chemistry, and Competence.” 

When looking for a barista, use this framework to identify what qualities you’re looking for in a job candidate. The Character aspect speaks to a person’s honesty, loyalty, and work ethic. Chemistry involves the ability to create a connection with your team, customer base, and business culture. And Competence is what they bring to the table in skills, talents, and capabilities related to the position. 

It’s a little easier to screen for the hard skills that contribute to competence. But how can you find out if a barista candidate has the right character and chemistry? Think about the culture of your café: Is it a social gathering place, a hub for true coffee connoisseurs, or somewhere in the middle? How can your new barista best contribute to this culture?

What makes the right culture add?

When hiring on the basis of your café’s culture, be wary of the idea  of “culture fit.” A new hire that fits the mold of your team could hold you back from…

  • A team of baristas who can connect with a variety of customers
  • Super-cool new ideas from unique points of view
  • A truly inclusive work environment
  • Hearing about the latest trends, from filtration systems to points of sale

Instead of thinking about fit, when posting your next barista job description, think about culture add. What gaps in your team’s skills, personality traits, or backgrounds could be filled by a new hire? How can you keep developing your team’s energy and knowledge? Create an A+ work/life balance to keep your team long-term.

According to Gen Z and Millennials, the main reasons they choose to work for a particular company include good work/life balance, a sense of meaning and purpose, a flexible structure, and a positive, welcoming work environment. 

That may mean work schedules that avoid “clopening”—closing and opening back to back or even within the same shift—or that rotate holidays. It could mean team meetings to taste-test and decide on new coffee offerings, or it may mean ongoing trainings to develop team skills. 

Consider how you can weave work/life balance into your hiring process and workplace. What can you offer candidates that make you as attractive to them as they are to you?

Are you diverse, equitable, and inclusive?

DEI should be ingrained in the foundation of your company and across all avenues. This includes recruiting and hiring, onboarding, training, and ongoing employment, all the way up to leadership. 

It could also mean reviewing your job postings to write out any biases and using inclusive language to reach a wider range of candidates. Get feedback from your current employees about any DEI challenges so you have a handle on your assets and areas for improvements and know where to adjust. 

Discover your next barista’s skills: questions to ask in an interview.

When you’re hiring for a barista, you’re likely looking at a 30-45 minute call or sit-down with your potential hire. That’s not a lot of time to figure out who they are, especially when they’re trying to figure you out, too!

Before you interview, create a list of questions to ask. Then break these questions down into buckets to sort out which questions feel the most important to you, or most relevant to the candidate. Here are some of our suggestions.

Personal information and background.

  • Tell us a bit about yourself! 
  • Do you have barista experience, or other experience relevant to this role?
  • What’s a project or achievement  you’re proud of?
  • What’s a hobby or passion that really inspires you outside of work?

Coffee skills.

  • Tell me about your favorite coffee. What makes you love it? 
  • What coffee techniques do you have experience with?
  • Give me your step-by-step for brewing the perfect cappuccino.
  • Have you ever competed as a barista? Do you want to?
  • Do you follow new developments in the coffee space? How?
  • What’s the strongest skill you bring to making a great cup of coffee?

Current or previous position.

  • Tell us about your work background and how it applies to this position. What barista qualifications do you have?
  • Tell me about a time when you faced a big work challenge. How did you overcome it?
  • What type of work environment do you thrive in?
  • How would your previous teammates describe you? Your last manager?
  • How do you prioritize tasks and manage your time during busy shifts?
  • What special skills have you built at previous positions that make you stand out from other baristas?
  • Tell me about a time you made a customer smile.
  • How do you deal with conflict? When a customer makes demands, how do you respond?

Your business and the open position.

  • What drew you to working with our business?
  • What areas of expertise or skills make you the right candidate for this position?
  • What skills or expertise are you hoping to develop, and how would you achieve that in this position?
  • Do you see an opportunity for growing our business that you can help realize? How would you approach that?

Future goals and aspirations.

  • Tell me about your coffee-related ambitions. What do you look forward to learning about in this role?
  • What are your long-term professional and personal goals? How does this barista position fit in with those?
  • What are you hoping to get out of this job?
  • Tell me about your ideal job in the coffee space. What does that look like?

Our barista job description template, just for you.

Ready to hire your next barista? We came up with a sample job description to encourage your ideas on how best to present barista job responsibilities and attract great candidates.

Feel free to copy and paste our description below, or use it as inspiration for your own. Just remember to customize it to fit the needs of your job opening and establishment! 

We’re looking for our next barista!

Our third-wave coffee shop is looking for a new addition to our team of knowledgeable and passionate baristas. As Barista, you will be responsible for brewing and serving a beautiful cup of coffee, keeping your workstation sparkling, and making our customers feel at home.

Our baristas really know their stuff so they can provide detailed knowledge about every cup they brew to the curious customer. If you’re looking for a fast-paced job with ample opportunity for growth in the coffee space, you might be just the barista we’re looking for.

What you’ll do: Duties & responsibilities.

  • Prepare coffee and tea drinks that smell enticing, taste fantastic, and look incredible. 
  • Greet customers warmly and provide excellent service.
  • Knowledgeably answer customer questions about each bean and drink composition.
  • Keep work stations tidy in keeping with our storefront aesthetic.
  • Deep clean espresso machines and other apparti (as a team).
  • Participate in regular training to broaden your coffee knowledge and appreciation.

Who you are.

  • Passionate about coffee: you know quality when you see it.
  • Detail-oriented: leave no latté without art.
  • Tidy: you take initiative to wipe your station down.
  • Experienced: this isn’t your first coffee rodeo.
  • A team player: you prioritize co-operation to get you through busy periods.
  • Excited to learn: coffee is more than just a drink to you—it’s a fascination.
  • Adaptable: no customer problem goes unsolved.

Who we are: What to expect.

  • Our third-wave coffee philosophy values quality over quantity. We aim to give customers a cup of coffee like they’ve never had before—and they’re sure to want again.
  • We source our beans from fair-trade sources. It’s more than a label to us—it’s sustainability.
  • We strive to form part of the core social life of our neighborhood. We want our customers to come to connect—with the coffee, and with each other.
  • Our team meetings are structured to solve problems collectively. We also regularly host coffee tastings and trainings for our coffee-fanatic team.
  • We offer health benefits and flexible schedules—because life is about more than just coffee.

How to apply, and what happens next.

Let potential applicants know how to apply, including materials and any additional certifications you’re looking for.

Download: Barista Job Description Template

Post, interview, hire: bring on your next barista with Homebase.

You’re ready to post your barista job description—but where? How do you juggle all these different job boards, or screen candidates? 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed with juggling all the different parts of the hiring process, software like Homebase can make the difference in getting your new barista in the schedule as soon as possible. Our Plus plan takes the hiring burden off your shoulders by letting you:

  • Create custom career pages on your website
  • Instantly post to job boards like Indeed and Ziprecruiter—and manage your applications all in one place
  • Access over 130+ ready-made job description templates
  • Screen candidates with pre-loaded questions
  • Set up your candidate interviews

Ready to get started? We’re ready to help.

And if you’re not hiring all the time, but setting up schedules is still getting you down? You can sign up totally free to test out our scheduling and time tracking tools so you—and your team—are never left hanging.

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