Barista Job Description | Skills, Duties and Responsibilities

Are you thinking about becoming a barista? If so, it’s important that you know what the job is all about. You’ll need to understand the main barista duties and responsibilities.

In this comprehensive guide, you’ll find out everything you need to know about what being a barista entails. You’ll also see a sample barista job description, so you can get an idea of what an employer will be looking for. 

Keep reading to find out more.

If you’re an employer, see our article on how to write a barista job description.

The main barista duties and responsibilities

If you’re looking to become a barista, you’ll need to have an idea of the sort of tasks you’ll be expected to perform if you are successful at interview.

Here’s a list of the typical duties that a barista will be expected to undertake.

Take orders 

As a barista, one of your key jobs is to serve customers and to take their orders.

You’ll need to have good listening skills, as once you’ve greeted customers you’ll need to make sure you take down their order accurately. If you’re not making the order yourself, you’ll need to communicate the order clearly to a colleague.

Coffee Shop

As well as taking orders you’ll need to help customers with queries and to make recommendations. If a customer asks about the different types of coffee available, you’ll need to help them to choose the right blend for them.

A good barista will also make recommendations to upsell, for example by suggesting extras or food to complement an order.

Prepare drinks

Making drinks accurately and in line with a customer’s order is one of the key barista duties. You’ll have to ensure you both adhere to your coffee shop’s recipe, and also make the drink in line with your customer’s specific requirements. A great coffee starts with a great espresso, and if preparing a coffee based drink you’ll need to follow some essential steps in order to create the perfect espresso.

Brewing Espresso

Once you’ve prepared the drink, it’s also important that you match the right drink with the right customer, particularly if you are busy and serving several people at the same time.

Open and close the store

Depending on the shift pattern, a barista will often be required to open or close the café.

This is not simply a case of opening up in the morning or locking up in the evening. You will need to prepare the shop for a day’s trading, stock up the counter and make sure tables and chairs are ready for customers. Other opening responsibilities might include:

  • Turning on equipment and warming up your coffee machine
  • Brewing coffee
  • Preparing food such as making sandwiches or baking pastries
  • Arranging tables and chairs
  • Checking the dates on any food and syrup have not expired
  • Preparing fresh sanitizer solution.

At the end of the day you may have cleaning responsibilities and you will have to ensure that the food and drink is correctly stored. Closing tasks can include:

  • Disassembling and washing the coffee machine and other equipment
  • Wiping counters and cabinets
  • Ensuring any food/drink is refrigerated
  • Cleaning sinks
  • Cleaning cutlery and dishes
  • Emptying the cash drawer and cashing up
  • Record any wasted products in a log
  • Turn off any equipment and lights
  • Clean tables and stack chairs on tables
  • Sweep and mop the floors.

Grind coffee beans

As well as preparing coffee, a barista may well have to grind and blend beans to ensure there’s always a ready stock of coffee available.

You may have to adjust the coffee grind during the day, depending on factors such as the weather, temperature and humidity levels.

If your coffee shop sells fresh ground coffee, you may also need to provide customers with advice about the different blends. You may have to grind, weigh and bag the coffee and give your customers advice on how to prepare the coffee at home.

Coffee Grind

Clean work areas, coffee machines, equipment, and tables

Ensuring that the coffee shop is kept clean, hygienic and presentable is one of a barista’s key responsibilities. This is particularly important during periods where you are busy.

Cleaning jobs will include:

  • cleaning all coffee equipment and machines
  • cleaning up seating areas and tables to prepare them for new customers
  • cleaning spillages and breakages
  • sanitizing plates, cups, glasses and utensils to ensure there is always a ready supply of clean cutlery and cups
  • cleaning work areas to ensure food and drink preparation areas are always hygienic
  • ‘deep cleaning’ as appropriate – floors, fridges, cupboards and other fixtures and fittings.
  • disposing of garbage.

Comply with health and safety laws and guidelines

Food safety is a big part of a barista’s job. Every year, around 17% of Americans suffer from illnesses caused by food, leading to 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths.

As a barista, you will have to ensure that you adhere to any health and safety regulations and policies that are in place.

For example, you may need to obtain food hygiene qualifications, undertake first aid training, or attend a health and safety course.

Your responsibilities may also extend to checking the temperature of fridges, freezers and heating equipment to ensure they are working correctly. You’ll need to report any problems to your management team.


Provide feedback to management

Baristas deal with hundreds of customers every day. This means you will be best placed to provide feedback to management about any aspect of your products or service.

You’ll provide suggestions for improving procedures or reducing waste. You’ll also be able to suggest menu improvements and provide both positive and negative customer comments to your management team.

Restock the displays

Ensuring the displays are fully stocked makes a café look appealing to customers. So, a barista will need to ensure that all counters are fully stocked, and that there is always plenty of food and drink available for customers to buy.

You may also need to update signage; for example, to show daily specials or other offers.

Keep track of stock and placing orders

A barista will need to keep a close eye on stock levels. Depending on the system in place in the coffee shop, you may also be responsible for ordering stock. Or, you may be required to keep a running list of supplies that are needed in order that a senior barista or manager can place an order.  


When a delivery arrives, you may also be responsible for taking the delivery, checking that the delivery is correct, and safely storing the items.

Prepare food and snacks

As well as preparing a wide range of drinks, a barista will also have to prepare food. This may be as simple as serving a slice of cake or a muffin, or you may have to prepare paninis, toasted sandwiches or soup. Other possible food duties may include:

  • Preparing sandwiches and salads, packaging and labelling them
  • Baking pastries
  • Slicing fruit, vegetables or meats.

Handle cash

As part of serving customers, a barista may handle lots of cash and electronic payments. You will have to have good mental arithmetic to ensure you give the correct change, and you may have to ‘cash up’ during the day or at the end of your shift. You will also have to use a POS system.


Supervise staff

Depending on the organisation, a barista may also have to supervise other staff and organise the rotas to make sure there are enough staff working at busy times.

You may also be responsible for looking after new staff and training them in basic skills and techniques.

If you do supervise staff, you’ll also be responsible for motivating your team. You’ll also have to deal with and delegate any staff issues that occur.

The key skills a barista should have

To be a successful barista, you will need a good combination of both hard and soft skills. In this section, we’ll look at the skills you should possess.

Listening and communication

As a barista, you will need to listen carefully to your customers and work to a high standard of accuracy when making drinks that may incorporate several specific requests (decaf, soy milk, ‘extra hot’ and so on). 

A good barista will be able to communicate clearly with colleagues and management. You should be able to share customer feedback with your managers, and to recommend new food and drink items for your menu.

A good attention to detail

As a barista, you’ll have to make dozens of drink combinations.  Ensuring that drinks are made with precision is key, as your customers will have very specific requirements and standards. The same is true for making high-quality food.

You’ll also be taking cash and payments, so you’ll need good mental arithmetic and have an eye for detail when dealing with money.

Good customer service

A barista is a customer-facing role. Interacting with your customers is a key part of the job, and to be a success you’ll need to be helpful and courteous with a ‘can-do’ approach.

Coffee shop

Even if you’re busy and have lots of customers to serve, you need to retain a friendly attitude and treat every individual with politeness.

Your customers will often come in day after day to order the same beverages, so providing the same service and the same high standard of product is critical.

The service that you provide will determine whether a customer comes back to your shop in the future. Even if your food and drink are excellent, bad customer service can lead to complaints and poor reviews.

Professionalism and good appearance

A barista will often be the first impression a customer has of your coffee shop. So, it’s important that you look professional and have a clean and tidy appearance. 

You’ll need to present yourself well, keep your hair and nails tidy, and take pride in looking like a professional.

The ability to carry out multiple tasks at once

One of the joys of being a barista is that no two days are the same. Your work will be varied and interesting, and you’ll often find that you have to juggle multiple jobs at the same time.

At any given moment, you might be taking several orders and making several drinks at once. Being a good multitasker and having the ability to carry out a range of duties in a high-pressure environment is critical.

The ability to work as part of a team

Whatever the size of your workplace, you’ll need to integrate well with the team.  During busy periods it will be important to stay calm and communicate with your colleagues in order to help your café run smoothly.

Coffee shop

Working closely with colleagues is therefore crucial, and as a barista you’ll need to have good teamwork skills.

Technical skills

If you are applying for a barista job that requires some experience, you will need to have some expertise. This may not just be in making drinks, but also in speciality coffees, health and safety, and latte art.

If you are just beginning your barista career, you may not have a lot of coffee-making experience. However, technical skills are something you can pick up on the job. 

Latte art

The ability to take responsibility

Even junior baristas will have to take on some responsibility, even if that’s just turning up on time and dressing in a professional way.

If you can demonstrate that you’re dependable, punctual and reliable, then this will show that you are prepared to take on additional responsibilities.

In addition, volunteering for extra tasks creates a positive impression with your employer.


Depending on the opening hours of your café, you may need to be flexible and work a range of shifts.

A busy coffee shop could be open from the early morning to late in the evening. You may have to work different shifts, including weekends. 

A good barista is flexible, and if you’re prepared to change your shift or to work additional hours at short notice – perhaps to cover for sickness or absence – you’ll be an asset to your business.

Willingness to learn and improve

A good barista will always be looking to further their skills and to take on additional jobs and responsibilities. For example:

  • Undertaking training to acquire new skills
  • Learning how to use new equipment
  • Learning how to make new drinks and food, for example seasonal drinks or dishes.

Sample barista job description 

Now you have seen exactly what the main duties and responsibilities of the job are, you can start to prepare your resume and think about how you’ll respond to job opportunities

Below, you’ll find an example of a barista job description. This will help you to see the types of skills and experience that an employer will be looking for, and you can start to adapt your resume accordingly.

Got an interview? Here are 5 things you should do before your barista interview.

Wanted: Barista

Busy, large coffee shop needs a flexible, trustworthy and customer-focused barista to join their growing team. If you enjoy serving customers and working in a fast-paced environment, and you have a high level of professionalism, you’ll have a great opportunity to develop your career. The successful candidate will be responsible for providing a great service to customers, ensuring the coffee shop is clean, tidy and well-stocked, and making a wide range of both food and drinks.

Responsibilities include:

  • Taking orders from customers and dealing with queries
  • Ensuring the display is always well stocked
  • Preparing food and drinks carefully and to our high standards
  • Managing stock levels and identifying ordering requirements
  • Cleaning equipment, worksurfaces, and public areas
  • Cash handling and ensuring all sales are processed accurately through POS system

Skills, experience and education required:

  • Experience of working with customers, taking orders and dealing with queries
  • Reliable and trustworthy
  • Professional in terms of appearance and approach
  • Familiarity with handling cash or using POS systems
  • Flexibility to work early morning, evening and weekend shifts
  • Good attention to detail
  • Ability to work as part of a larger team
  • Good communication skills
  • High school diploma preferred
  • A positive attitude with the ambition to progress