5 Things Only the Best Baristas Know How to Do

At a coffee shop, the customer experience begins and ends with baristas. Not only should they place value on serving delicious coffee, but they should also be able to do so in a way that offers customers an unparalleled experience. 

Whether you’re a coffee shop owner, manager, or a barista yourself, you know a coffee shop needs excellent baristas to be successful. With little training, most baristas can make a decent cup of coffee. But great baristas are able to contribute so much more. Here’s our list of what only the best baristas know how to do. 

Offer an Over the Top Customer Experience

The best baristas know that excellent customer service is a top priority. Unexpected and uncommon acts of genuine kindness create lifetime customers. We train baristas to remember customers’ names and orders and engage in conversations no matter how busy they are. Great baristas identify opportunities to give customers a personalized, thoughtful, and over-the-top experience they won’t get anywhere else. 

Keep in mind, it doesn’t always need to be complicated. Excellent customer service is built from  small gestures, too, like smiling and making eye contact. The bottom line is that the best baristas will always go the extra mile to make their customers feel welcome and celebrated. 

Barista looks at customer

Work Efficiently

A barista’s job requires a great deal of multi-tasking. Baristas are responsible for customer service, making drinks, cleaning, restocking inventory, and more. It is important they are able to work efficiently even during the busiest times. The best baristas are able to get drink orders out correctly, quickly, and at the optimum temperature. 

In our barista training classes, we teach our students a system for making drinks efficiently: 

Make drinks in the order of largest to smallest, coldest to hottest on each order. 

Prepare drinks in this order to ensure everything on the ticket comes out at the same time and at optimal temperature and freshness: 

  1. French press and single cup pour-over coffee
  2. Hot tea
  3. Cold brew iced coffee and cold drinks
  4. Chocolate milk, hot chocolate, or chai latte
  5. Batch brew drip coffee
  6. Latte or mocha
  7. Americano
  8. Cappuccino
  9. Macchiato
  10. Espresso

In addition, experienced baristas have been trained with efficiency procedures of espresso based drinks, batch brew drip coffee, and single cup brewers. 

Barista Uses Equipment

Keep Track of Inventory

Attentive baristas watch inventory and are conscious of coffee, milk, syrup, cleaning chemicals, and the other essential goods they use throughout their shift. Even if a barista’s job isn’t to manage the coffee shop, the best baristas take a proactive approach to making sure business runs smoothly. Our advice: if you spend your downtime restocking and reorganizing, you’re more familiar with what the coffee shop needs to order. When you notice inventory is low and will not last three to five days, alert the manager. 


Sitting around is for customers, not employees. If you can lean, you can clean. Every 15 minutes, baristas should wipe counters, clean dirty tables and chairs, neatly align tables and chairs, bus tables, clean and restock the condiment area, clean and restock bathrooms, and empty all trash cans that are 75% full.

In addition to keeping customer areas pristine, the best baristas also know how to correctly clean all coffee, espresso, and kitchen equipment. We recommend coffee shop managers include daily opening duties, down-time tasks, and end of day duties for baristas. Cleaning and equipment maintenance is a critical part of a coffee shop’s operational process, for both the quality of the beverages and the longevity of the equipment. 

Be Consistent

Can you imagine going to the same coffee shop every day, not knowing how you’d be treated, what the coffee would taste like, or what kind of experience is waiting for you on the other side of the door?

Consistency is key to every coffee shop’s success. Customers want to know their favorite drink will taste the same each time they order it (no matter which barista makes it). That’s why comprehensive and ongoing barista training is crucial–both for ensuring excellent customer service and making great coffee. 

The best baristas always deliver a consistently exceptional product and experience. They never change recipes, parameters, or coffee-making procedures because it seems better, easier, or more efficient. 

(Of course, if you have an idea for how to make something better, tell your manager.) 

Barista pours milk

Want to become one of the best baristas in the coffee business? 

Becoming a great barista doesn’t happen overnight. It requires a passion for coffee and a commitment to ongoing learning. We invite both aspiring and experienced baristas to attend our 2-Day Barista Training Class (or managers, bring your staff). The class combines our Espresso and Milk Skills and Quality Coffee Brewing classes for a hands-on, comprehensive workshop. We also offer a Latte Art Class for baristas and home enthusiasts who want to take their milk skills to an advanced level and pour latte art like a pro. 

We also offer in-depth hands-on barista training in our 3-Day Coffee Business Master Class, which we recommend to anyone who wants to open a coffee shop. Aren’t sure which class is right for you? Contact us, and we’ll walk you through it.

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The Best Coffee Training Available

We’ve helped hundreds of students successfully launch their own coffee shop businesses. Join us in our 5-Star Rated Coffee Classes, whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur looking to open a coffee shop, a manager, a barista or home enthusiast looking to sharpen your skills.