Does the word Barista still hold any weight?

(15 /10 /2015)

As you may have guessed from previous blogs, I LOVE MY COFFEE!! And I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a bit of a snob about it too.  Good beans and the perfect blend are a must, the temperature needs to be just right and the barista needs to know what they’re doing.  Not much worse than a bitter, burnt coffee first thing in the morning…especially when you’re paying for it!

So, I pick my coffee shops and I know which ones to avoid.  But something I’ve noticed recently is that pretty much anyone these days is making coffee.  For example, the local artists’ supplies shop now has a coffee machine and I know for a fact that trained baristas are not is residence.  In fact, you can get a so-called “barista-made coffee” at the library, the servo and even the gym after a workout!

So my question is this – are these amateurs who perhaps haven’t had any training giving true baristas a bad name?  And what makes a great barista as opposed to someone armed with a coffee machine?  I mean, I have an awesome coffee machine at home and I don’t make a bad cup of coffee but I certainly ain’t no barista!  It seems though, that I could call myself a barista after a one day course – five hours in fact for $150 and I can obtain a Certificate in coffee making.  Even though I might have that piece of paper and the technical skills to operate a coffee machine, I do not believe that makes me a barista.

A true barista is an artist.  They want to know the ins and outs of blending, of what makes the perfect espresso and the nuances of the various machines they might be working with.  They remember their customers and exactly how they want their coffee with absolute clarity and can carry off a scintillating conversation while working their magic.  They’re always striving to get better at their craft, learn new techniques and understand the history of the beans they’re blending.  True baristas understand that the art of coffee is an apprenticeship and not just a one-day certificate course.  Do those coffee-makers at the art shop, the library, the servo or the gym think like this?  And are these people giving true baristas a bad name?

Tell me what you think – do you employ coffee artisans or people who can competently use a coffee machine?  Who does the better job?  And is one is better for your business that the other?  I’m very keen to hear your thoughts but in the meantime, I’m happy to make you a coffee but if you want the perfect espresso, you know where to go!

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