Barista = Professionalism, knowledge, ability, competence
Talking about the importance of barista training in a city like Trieste is a duty, not only towards the history of this city but also to what the black elixir represents to its culture. Equally important is to start this discussion from its main protagonists: the baristas themselves, who need to be seen to be well-prepared and skilled.
And on this issue we are significantly and unforgivably behind. Not only the inventors of the espresso we are also its main offenders. We are guilty of having forgotten the way to prepare coffee correctly. It is important that we emerge from these Dark Ages and begin a Renaissance of coffee in a country whose people “live and breathe” coffee in their own unique and wondrously poetic way.
The barista is the main player in this screenplay, the narrative between supply and demand. I.e. between the roasters and the consumers. The barista’s expertise creates the union between the sector’s economics, social culture and history. Within this context, we should also include the ICA (Italian Coffee Association) training courses for Cafés. They are essential for the correct understanding and maintenance of the process and equipment in order to create efficient daily work routines and an improved product and service; from the quality of an extracted espresso to the correct techniques for producing the correct milk texture.
Professionalism, knowledge, ability, competence: these are the 4 essential characteristics of a barista.
This is your business card, the first thing that the customer notices when entering your bar. Be ready, tidy and not absent-minded. Welcome them as if you are receiving them in your home. For many people the bar is an extension of their own home, a place where they can have a quick chat or just quietly sip a cup of coffee. Remember, often the barista is the first person a client interacts with in the morning and so wishing them a good morning with a big smile is important and something they won’t easily forget.
It’s not just about a barista’s appearance. That’s certainly important but it is not enough to be clean, tidy and smiling - this is but the first step on the road to success. If you add your competence, knowledge and expertise, you will guarantee a faithful and satisfied customer. Spoil your guests showing them you know what you are doing; it’s very reassuring.
This is that little bit extra that amazes and catches people’s attention. Find a way to suggest new and creative things, even simple things (but avoid being trite). It is not absolutely necessary to be a performer, in fact, too many skills can sometimes be intimidating and distracting. Often a well-prepared cappuccino, simply but beautifully decorated, is the best welcome that you can give your customer.
Your customer will not always have a clear idea about what they want. Sure, there are many who enter a bar and demand to be served quickly, but there are also others who want to be stimulated, inspired and guided in their decision making and choice. Here your competence and skill comes into play: perhaps try and sell them what you would like them to have, making them think they chose it themselves! Set even the most uncertain customer at ease and you will see how they will become even more faithful than those who order “the usual” with a nod of their head.
We are here to enable the flowering of a new figure and to reconstruct the beauty of this profession together. We are on a path that includes everybody, where there are no limits, but has a clear point of departure: and that is the Bloom Coffee School, the new training space for coffee, from Imperator.