Being a barista is a tough job and you never fully understand the stress and complexity of the job until either; A. You become one, or B. You know someone who rants to you about being a barista.
I thought, for this fun article, I would give you a rough day-to-day schedule of what it is like being a barista! It all begins with coming in approximately 15-20 minutes before your shift even starts. That way, if there is a line up (Which usually there is) you can have an appropriate amount of time to get your drink before you start work.
Once receiving your drink you realize that you’ve only have 5 minutes until you need to be on the floor so you end up chugging your venti iced whatever you asked for. With ripping through the basket of aprons you barely clock in on time and you walk onto the floor, wishing you had only five more minutes so you could finish your drink.
The first fifteen minutes are your make or break time. It depicts where you are working, and it sets the mood of the whole shift. You shuffle around your other partners as others are excited to see you, but need to do something because someone is waiting for their drink and it’s been lined up out the door since they came in and haven’t been able to stock anything!
With you being on the relief end, you start by taking the ones that need off first. Typically, you’d cover the person on the bar (The one slaving over the espresso machines)… but this time your shift supervisor wants you to cash so that the person can go and cover for the bar. You give a sigh of relief because you see that there’s a huge line up and you’d rather not be making drinks.
After a couple hours, and with all breaks needing to be done, you are beginning to become bored of asking for people’s names and what they want so you go to your supervisor and ask to do a switch out. This essentially means that you have an opportunity to switch to a different station. Great! Sometimes, and this isn’t always the case, you get to the bar after taking over for someone and it’s a complete mess. Milk spilt all over the place, syrups empty and the garbage is overflowing. It sort of looks like an apocalypse has come through and you’re stuck with cleaning up after them. You moan, but end up doing the cleaning in-between making drinks.
This is the part where you can show off your techniques, and give the people waiting for their drinks a show while you prepare three classic chai drinks all in one go. You -with a smile- hand them out and begin to call out a name when you make a distorted face as you try to pronounce the name on the cup. In most cases you end up calling out a name that doesn’t even make sense and then you glance over at the cashier who wrote the name and question their literacy.
Your break has finally come. You can hardly wait, and as soon as you clock out, you look at the line and guess what! It’s lined up out the door. You’ll have to make a decision whether or not it is worth the wait for you to stand there to try and get a drink.
After standing in line, you have ten minutes left from your half hour break and you frantically scarf down your food and chug your drink -again- as you stumble back onto the floor to punch in. Gripping your stomach from eating that fast, you try to get the person in cash to move to bar so that you don’t have to move. They refuse and you’re forced to go to the bar again. This time, you’re moving slower than before and with no care.
You start becoming exhausted of the constant line ups and all you want in FIVE MINUTES to clean up your workstation so it doesn’t look disgusting. But no, they keep on coming and you’re short staffed today, so you sigh and hand out the drinks that were once full of care and love, but now are full of impatience.
You look at the time. Only fifteen minutes left of your shift! You realize that you need to start preparing for the next person to come take you off, and you can finally clean up. After they have arrived, you greet them and then quickly go to a cloth. You begin to feel relieved as you clean up your mess and head to clock out. You do good today, you punch out and you then wait in the queue again for a drink…
And there you have it. That’s a normal day as a barista. Typically a lot more would happen, but in general that would be basic.
Do you have something you enjoy about your job? Let me know in the comments!