I truly believe that just few of you thinks about the struggles all the barista’s need to go through before you’re coffee is ready to go. It looks so simple, isn’t it? Unfortunately, it is not that easy as it looks.
Peak time in the morning at coffee shop in London centre can be crazy! When you enter a shop at this time all you can see is a huge queue and impatient clients. Everyone looks angrily for waiting for so long and FINALLY when you see the drink coming… it is not yours AGAIN. Then you realizing that they forgot your drink or made a wrong one. I assume, that it sounds like a horrible morning just waiting for your cup of coffee, but is anyone tries to imagine how the morning looks for barista?
Today I was talking with a customer while it was really busy at our store, I apologized that he has to wait a bit for his coffee. He said ‘Why are you sorry? Waiting is the easiest part’.
FIRST OF ALL, Barista’s needs to be at work way earlier to prepare everything for you.
Then you need to fill up the fridge, check the delivery that you have got,and check all the coffee machines. Do the ‘Grind and dose check’. To explain it more simply it is basically to set up the machine that coffee would be just at the right standard. Because otherwise, you won’t enjoy your coffee as much as you do if this thing is not done regularly.
And imagine, that while you are doing this people starts knocking on the door, pulling and pushing it, even if they see that they are locked, and it is written on the door that we are not open yet. So you trying to get everything done by the time you need to open the store, and when the clock shows exact time when you need to open the door, you have to.
So the customers who were waiting outside comes straight away and for a first few minutes while you opened, you already have orders, you have to be nice even if you are sleepy and need to drink coffee yourself or you would love to have even a little breakfast you just do not have time. So, at the first few minutes you already having pressure – do I bought newspapers? do I opened the dishwasher? Is the fridge filled up? OH! I did not put the pastries. So by the time that one customer is paying with the card, you have like 20 seconds, so you are running to put the pastries that the people could have it for breakfast.
Fine, let’s imagine the early morning is gone, then comes the peak time, when everyone is going crazy. We – Baristas, need to have a brilliant memory, we need to remember A LOT of drinks that people are having. If we would do one drink, then the other one with no pressure. THAT WOULD TAKE AGES for you to get your drink. Trust me. And of course, we need to remember drinks with all customer’s wishes – not too hot, not too full, decaf, skinny, semi-skinny, with hot milk, with cold milk, less coffee, more coffee…. It never stops.
So at the peak time everyone needs to be at the particular role while working, otherwise it will become a chaos. If you are on the coffe machine, you need to remember like minimum 10 drinks at the time with all the details, make the coffee, talk to the staff and communicate with a customers at the same time. For most of the people it looks like it is easier to be on the ‘Floor’ – clean tables, wash dishes… But in reality you need to do a lot of things at the same time – serve drinks, make sure there is no missing order, prepare food, wash dishes, clean tables, talk with customers. And if the milk runs out guess who has to bring it? Yes, it is you. And all this with a huge group of people waiting in the line.
In the evening it is a bit easier, but you need to prepare for the next day, prepare everything that you can to make it easier in the morning. You can start cleaning everything only when you are closed. So that takes more than an hour too. Clean toilets, tables, floor, bar, kitchen, coffee machines, outside, count all the money, do the next day’s order… It is even tiring for me to think about it.
Oh, and of course you need to know all the theory about coffee, all history, all the coffee extraction times, all theory. So it is now ‘just work’ it is education too.
And imagine that you need to open the store again tomorrow. When you can have time to rest? Or even eat at home with no pressure? Usually you cannot.
So basically, I just wanted to people to think about the other side of your coffee. It is not that easy as it looks. So this article is most for them, I assume, that thinks that working as a ‘barista’ is easy.
If you ever will go to a coffee shop, smile to barista and tell them that you appreciate their job!
(Maybe you will get a free coffee then? 🙂 )