The Barista

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The inspiration for my article comes from a group of baristas who are currently undertaking what I believe to be the first Barista Diploma course to be undertaken in Cumbria. Over the next two days, they will be put through their paces on a structured course, before undertaking a written and practical exam. If successful, they will have achieved the Speciality Coffee Association Intermediate Barista level. It’s a big commitment of money and time and let’s not forget the pressure of examination which we all thought was behind us! It made me think about the role of the barista and how we’re trying to shape its development in Cumbria.

The word barista is an Italian word and in Italy, a barista is a male or female ‘bartender’, who typically works behind a counter, serving hot drinks such as espresso, cold alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and snacks. As a term, it grew in popularity in the UK in the 1980s and today, many coffee bars proudly shout about their trained baristas. Now it is often used to describe someone working in hospitality who can make coffee. However, we believe a genuine barista should be about more than making a coffee.

The best baristas I have worked with had both a passion and an interest in coffee. They were captivating not necessarily for their ability to produce a cup of coffee but for an infectious passion for the product they were serving. They had a solid understanding of coffee which went beyond knowing how to make it taste nice. They knew some of the back story to the coffee and how this influenced the taste in the cup. While they willingly shared this knowledge, they were also able to judge their audience. Some people just want a coffee without any fuss or fanfare, others enjoy hearing more about the product. A good barista can read their customers, sharing just the right amount of information.

Good baristas can work quickly, efficiently and tidily. On too many occasions I’ve been in a coffee shop, waiting patiently for my coffee and the ‘barista’, through poor workspace management and too much emphasis on latte art, will be slow at producing drinks for customers. While I appreciate latte art is an essential component these days, I’d much rather be served a simple design consistently and efficiently.


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A good barista is someone who genuinely cares about the product they are serving and values the relationship with the people they are serving. They are surprisingly rare, so if you employ one, make sure you look after them and allow them to flourish and develop their skills. If you are regularly served by a good barista, please make sure you show your appreciation for their efforts.

This coffee is available to buy from our website

017687 76979 • www.carvetiicoffee

19 OCTOBER 2017 ISSUE 419 PAGE 30

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