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AIBU: Only jobs for 'experienced' baristas, so where do you start?

(28 Posts)
TeaQuiero Wed 05-Apr-17 14:41:23

Looking for flexible work. Huge city. No shortage of ads.

So, coffee. I'd like the flexibility, the ability to pick up additional shifts, the possibility for advancement, in some franchises, to owner/managerial/leadership, and they seem like fairly nice places to work.

But every ad wants "1 year minimum barista experience", some demand "highly experienced", some want 2 years.

This isn't just chains like Costa, Caffe Nero and Starbucks. This includes a newly opening high street independent (ok, fine they want to be 'upmarket'?) and a fairly run-down greasy spoon sort of place just off a grubby manufacturing estate (what the hell??) It includes an in-store coffee place in a supermarket.

I appreciate there are various issues around unemployment/over-employment/too many or too few applicants etc etc etc, but I see ad after ad and not one place would consider, some quite boldly saying so, someone new to the industry. How does anyone get started as a barista when even the simplest local sandwich shop insists on experience?

Veronicat Wed 05-Apr-17 14:48:15

Do you have a coffee machine with a steamer at home? Practice frothing the milk without making it screech or burn. Read up on correct temperatures and different makes of coffee.
I'll get flamed for this bit:
Then pick a cafe that you know has closed down and lie bend the truth a bit.
I've been a barista and unless it's a posh hipster place with magical equipment, it's dead easy. There's even YouTube videos on how to create patterns.

usernjdhkvdgkb Wed 05-Apr-17 14:57:50

I'm a trained Baristas, and to be honest it's pretty easy to pick up how to make a coffee but you can fiend years perfecting, their is actually a set/science behind it and not everyone can produce a perfect coffee, after 4 years working I could produce 4 patterns a leaf, heart, swan and swirl.

I don't agree with previous poster about practicing on a coffee machine at home you just can't get the pressures/heat to perfect the milk, believe me I have tried on many home coffee machines

I would watch videos, read up about the science and show the potential employer that you have researched and your keen

DirtyBlonde Wed 05-Apr-17 15:04:51

Everyone wants experience, but places - especially independents - are realistic enough to know they won't always get it.

If you have any cafe experience at all, it is worth applying. I'd be honest, cite relevant cafe experience (so it's clear you can do everything else), and stress how keen you are to learn the additional skills for coffee-making; and acknowledge that even if this vacancy is not suitable you would like to be considered for other posts in the future.

You've nothing to lose, and might strike lucky.

knackeredinyorkshire Wed 05-Apr-17 15:06:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

UserSchmooser Wed 05-Apr-17 15:11:22

read stuff o the internet > lie > profit

You're welcome

Toysaurus Wed 05-Apr-17 15:18:06

Don't lie about where you work. Somebody once lied on a CV at an interview for a Coffee shop saying they had worked for my business. They hadn't and she was caught out lying.

She didn't realise the person interviewing her was a good friend of mine.

Polarbearflavour Wed 05-Apr-17 15:18:33

Apparently chains like Pret can't find enough baristas! With respect to baristas, it's not rocket science to make coffee is it?

UserSchmooser Wed 05-Apr-17 15:22:44

Somebody once lied on a CV at an interview for a Coffee shop saying they had worked for my business. They hadn't and she was caught out lying.

So she went to the next coffee shop...

Cocklodger Wed 05-Apr-17 15:25:17

I work in a similar industry. (Pubs and restaraunts, I've managed both)
We prefer experience and to be honest it's the only way to not get 800 applicants. So we put down must have experience. In reality we prefer it, but we've had brilliant inexperienced staff members who pick everything up brilliantly and are very keen and enthusiastic. We've also had so called experienced bar workers who can't pull a pint, don't know which glass to use for what and walk around with a face like a slapped arse.
Perhaps tell them you do not have x y experience but you have x y skills you feel are transferable because of insert reason here and are very keen and passionate about the job. Tell them you've heard great things about their establishment and drop in a bit of knowledge. Their score on the door, their trip advisor rating, or that your sister went and really loved x and y sandwich or coffee that she had and is a regular customer... IME passion for the job, a bit of knowledge and respect for the establishment and the desire to learn is most important. You might get knocked back anyway but it's worth a shot

onemorecupofcoffeefortheroad Wed 05-Apr-17 15:30:39

My son did a barista training course then got a job working in the cafe in a child's soft play area making and serving coffees to the parents. No experience necessary.

Whilst working there he got to know the local coffee shops and frequented very regularly one he particularly liked and spent some time hanging out there, drinking coffee and getting to know the baristas - they liked him and offered him a job.

Hillarious Wed 05-Apr-17 15:35:17

Rumours circulated at school that the self-proclaimed yummy mummy at school left her husband for a barrister. Turns out it was actually a barista she was shacked up with. Not relevant to your question, but an easy mistake to have made.

Good luck with the job applications - be enthusiastic and smile!

wettunwindee Wed 05-Apr-17 15:37:10

The problem with training as a barista is that in a few years, no one will care about coffee and there'll be hundreds of bearded baristas looking for jobs. Get ahead of the trend or find an area that has transferable skills,.

I17neednumbers Wed 05-Apr-17 15:40:26

onemorecup did your ds arrange the barista course privately or was it through job centre like a previous poster?

OP I think I read that pret are going to offer 2 week paid 'internships' so might be worth looking out for them.

Would be interesting to know how much youth unemployment is due to the 'experience' requirements. If every 'hospitality' job is asking for experience how do people ever start?

JustABitOfUncertainty Wed 05-Apr-17 15:50:12

Cocklodger has given you perfect advice. Do not be deterred by the 'experience necessary' sentence, find an angle. Good luck!

TeaQuiero Wed 05-Apr-17 15:54:45

wetunwindee, my past was in mortgage/pension services in a role now greatly diminished since the credit crunch and likely to become entirely automated in the next few years due to its repetitive nature.

Personally I think coffee is here to stay as a luxury people will always consider a must-have, and the personal service is resistant to automation (people will pay more to be served by a smiling human than a hole in the wall.) See also: hair and beauty. You might look down on it, but people will always buy it and it isn't programmable.

Hillarious, love it XD Hipster barrister.

I'll look into the courses, that's a good idea. Haven't come across much yet but there'll be something...

wettunwindee Wed 05-Apr-17 16:02:21

I wasn't trying to put you down Tea, just pointing out what I consider to be obvious. Service industries are here to stay and coffee has been around for a very long time. Treating it as something which needs expertise to grind, press water though and mix with milk is a fad though.

mikesh909 Wed 05-Apr-17 16:23:25

Disagree entirely with previous poster who thinks coffee as something needing expertise is a fad. IMHO the OP has it right as an affordable luxury, which it only is when made with expertise. A mug of nescafe hardly qualifies. Of course, what with it being a luxury, not everyone wants to or has to appreciate it. And there will of course continue to exist plenty of places serving up badly made coffee for those people!

Anyway, re. the OP's question. My brother did this. Was achieved through spending time in coffee places, getting to know the barristas, reading up on the science of coffee, watching videos, taking on shifts here and there. Starting off waitering and cleaning up, taking payments and so on, learning coffee skills in quiet moments. Now he manages a roaster and its cafes. He would say that the coffee skills can be learned but the right personality for the job is something you either have or don't. Can you work under pressure and remain calm and upbeat? Have you any customer facing experience? How can you demonstrate attention to detail? These are the things that would be valued. Emphasise them, along with your willingness to learn.

UserSchmooser Wed 05-Apr-17 16:26:48


Do you have a beard?

mikesh909 Wed 05-Apr-17 16:33:01

Not me myself but I do live in a very beardy part of the country so perhaps I am more exposed to their owners tendencies than most!

UserSchmooser Wed 05-Apr-17 16:34:58

Holborn or Hackney? smile

mikesh909 Wed 05-Apr-17 16:54:19

It's actually a beard-friendly seaside town smile

UserSchmooser Wed 05-Apr-17 17:14:29

Ah, Brighton grin

Trollspoopglitter Wed 05-Apr-17 17:21:38

And so on.. Google will pull up ones near you if you search

usernjdhkvdgkb Wed 05-Apr-17 17:30:36

Polar Bear is right it's not rocket science but there is a knack to it, to be honest I have had coffees from the likes of costa, pret etc and they have been shit, coffee burnt, milk all wrong!

If you have any customer service, retail, hospitality experience then focus on that a decent coffee shop will get you trained in no time what they are looking for is someone who can work the machine to get the coffee out fast/hot and not keep people waiting. But it all comes down to experience and practice a good barista can plan ahead and can be working or 3 or 4 orders at the sane time

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