How to be a Barista

Forty Hands Coffee

The coffee scene has propelled over the last few years, and gone are the days that being a barista is but a part-time stint; it is, in fact, a full-fledged career for many. We sat down with Harry Grover, owner of Forty Hands, to ask him some of the criteria that he looks for when he is hiring a barista.

“Most of the staff that we have hired did not have much experience prior to joining us. It is a profession that you don’t really have to have any background. You just need to find the right people who are truly passionate about what they are doing,” Grover says.

At Forty Hands, a new staff needs to work the floor – wash cups, serve tables, do anything and everything – for a few months before they even get a chance to go near the espresso machine. Grover explains his rationale behind this: “I want to see people’s dedication. In order to be a good barista, you need to have the right attitude and work ethics. I am more inclined to hire someone who has worked at KFC for a long period of time than to hire someone who has experience at another café for only 3 months. If they can commit to doing all the crap jobs, then we are more than willing to teach them everything that we know.”

To sum up the chat with Grover, here are some of the things that you should know and possesses in order to be a good barista.

Be an all-rounder

You must not be afraid to do the dirty work like cleaning tables, washing cups, serving customers and taking orders. If you dream of opening your own café in the future, it will be very useful to familiarise yourself with the different roles in the café.


Dedication, dedication, and dedication. The key is to be passionate about coffee, to constantly gain more knowledge and to always improve yourself.


Being committed to the job is essential. No café is going to hire you if you are always taking medical leave or going on holidays.

Physically fit

Also, it is vital to be physically fit and healthy because it can get very taxing to move around the cafe. Being a barista is tough work; you need to be able to endure working long hours.

No rockstar attitude

One common misunderstanding that has led to wrong expectations  many think that being a barista is cool. People want to be a barista not because they are interested in coffee, but because they want to have a cool job. When you work in a café, especially so as a barista, you need be a team player and you have to dig out all your humanity to learn the ropes. No pain, no gain. And no rockstar attitude, else you will never rise to recognition.