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Thursday, 07 December 2017 21:31

Barista Routine : Keeping Coffee In a Good Spirit!

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By Natalia Obruch,
5th place at World Coffee in Good Spirits of 2017, works at O:Restaurant & Bistro

For the last 9 years of my life I've been mostly working with coffee - in a large coffee chain, in a small coffee shop, as a barista, as a barista trainer, opening some new spots, building up a coffee bar from the beginning and setting up the menu or coming to make an existing place work better. I traveled a lot in Europe and lived in 3 different cities in Russia. And well, all I can say is that the coffee scene has grown huge! 
For sure it didn't happen in a second - it took weeks, months and years to make it grow this much. And even though there's a lot of work that has already been done, there's still some more of it that needs not to be ignored and started as fast as you can. 
I'll share some of my own thoughts and a little of experience on how to make your daily barista routine better.
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Becoming a barista and generally starting to work with people (and for people) taught me to be more loyal, polite and understanding, taught me to listen and - yes, that's a different thing! - hear other people , I still feel a little shy in a real life situations but when it comes to work - oh, it's my stage and I must feel like a rock-star ! Or to make it more clear: this work made me more confident of what I am through giving help to customers, making their days, mornings and evenings better with just a simple smile on my face... and a cup of coffee! 
So that's what I'm trying to say: keeping your customer service high not only makes your coffee shop work better, not only brings you more customers - it makes you a better person as well!
It is so sad to come to a nicely designed coffee shop with a great choice of coffees and a well-built menu (drinks, desserts and snacks) and to see a Grumpy Cat Barista behind the bar. It feels weird to wait for a take away drink for up to 10-15 minutes. And that is a shame not to get an answer to any simple question from the one whom you consider a professional. 
So, fellow barista, starting now promise me you will do the following things: 
1.SMILE. Make sure you smile as much as you can - to yourself in front of a mirror in the morning, to your colleagues, to your customers, to your family and friends. Believe me, the result won't take long! 
2.ORGANIZE. Look at your bar, take a closer look at the specific areas where you spend most of your time preparing the drinks: do you have everything you need there? Do you have all the inventory on hand? Could you easily write down a list of stuff you need to prepare and serve a customer with a simple shot of espresso or a cappuccino? Make sure you do the cleaning right away - no one knows what's going to happen in the next 5 minutes, you might need all of your inventory and dishes to serve a 100 group of people. Do not forget also , to organize your time as you prepare the drinks in the right order, watch the take away ones and of course, pay attention at the time it takes to serve a drink to a table - a ‘’dead’’ cappuccino or espresso is not a thing anyone would love to taste. 
3.LISTEN. It's a hard yet one of the most important things to do! Pay attention to anything that happens in a conversation between you & your customer, colleague, employer etc; and be even more ready to listen when you got a whole queue waiting to give you their order - be careful, be patient, be polite. Your full concentration will end up with less stress, less mistakes, and a whole bunch of happy people all around you.
4.HEAR. There's a huge difference between listening and hearing things. Of course, if you do not listen - you won't hear! But if you listen and do not hear - that's no good at all. So, please, do both of them. You're here behind the bar to bring people happiness, at least try to understand their needs and if you can do that - please, help them make their dreams come true! I mean, of course, you're not a super hero but people kind of think you are. And that's a nice compliment! But, honestly, you got some super-powers for sure, don't you?..
5.LEARN. That's a part of your job as a barista - you must learn! Each day, each week, each month, each year - something is happening in this world all the time. Read, explore, travel if you can, taste as much as you can. The more you get to know - the more you can tell others, the more open your mind - the more creative you become, the better and the higher your professional skills grow!  Thank God we got internet! You got a million of choice on how to learn something new - don't waste your time! 
6.TEACH. It's more than possible to teach people through just answering their questions, or simply telling them politely (!) to try drinking their regular large take away latte without adding sugar. But please, don't go too far with this - you could just suggest, don't expect everyone to immediately change their minds. Do the smallest steps ever to get people trust you. You'll see them getting used to this, you'll see them coming back to you for more information later, that won't be fast but that's worth the wait! 
7.WATCH. Well, did we already talk about superpowers?.. You need to do multiple things at a time and watch for every single detail that happens around you. It's important! Watching what happens around must be connected with listening, hearing, organizing... And don't forget to smile! 
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8.SPEAK. I already mentioned a Grumpy Cat barista before, but come on! Imagine yourself coming to an unknown place and seeing a barista with such a face and also keeping silent. You need to speak a lot when you're behind the bar, but not too much as well... Sounds complicated, but - just watch, listen, hear first and you will get the point! 
9.REST. You can't be productive if you do not rest. I know a lot of baristi who work weeks in a row with no days off. Please, don't do that. That's a point to realize that even super heroes need to refresh their minds, take naps, get some real life between those BIG THINGS happening all the time. You'll be more concentrated, you'll be happier, you'll just feel better if you get enough sleep and free time besides work. 
10.RELAX. Just be yourself! 
I'd say that being myself at work and enjoying that must be the hardest thing for me, but you might find something else more difficult for you.
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