Balmforth & Co
Barista making latte

A beginner’s guide to becoming a barista

Posted on 07/11/2022 by RSL
Estimated reading time: 5 min read
Categories: HORECA

Looking for a career in the coffee industry to specialise in the barista side of it? Anyone with a passion to make great-tasting coffee can take benefit from our handy guide on the first steps to becoming the ultimate barista.

Perfect coffee grind size

For starters, you will need to learn the basics of coffee making. From understanding what fresh coffee beans should smell and look like, to the perfect grind size for your intended brew method and milk frothing.

Then there is the impressive, awe-inspiring talent of amazing latte art – this will take a lot of practice to perfect.

Aside from the physical aspects of creating a perfect coffee, you should endeavour to understand what coffee is, where it comes from, its history and its journey. This will be different for every coffee blend you work with, get to know your coffee, this way you can engage your customers and give them an informed story or fact about the latte or double espresso you are handing them.

The machines and methods

Coffee machines for cafes and coffee shops come in all different shapes and sizes. It’s important to work with a whole host of coffee-related machinery and equipment to really get a feel of what it takes to become a barista.

This will include understanding how to use, maintain, clean and troubleshoot them.

This could be a grinder, either on-demand or dosing. Where grinders are concerned, they are arguably the most essential part of the coffee-making process. This is where you will create the perfect grind size to suit your brewing method and it will be down to you to alter the grind to create the right consistency.

La Spaziale S50

Next up, traditional espresso coffee machines. These are the big, impressive-looking, all-singing, all-steaming pieces of kit. They are fancy kettles, with a steaming function for your milk. Of course, there is much more to them than a kettle, with adjustable settings to create the perfect conditions for brewing your coffee. These machines employ the ‘espresso’ brewing method, which basically means coffee is extracted under pressure.

You will probably learn to use ‘infusion’ brewing equipment, such as Chemex, V60 drippers and Kalita Wave. These coffee brewers are named infusion brewers as they have a constant stream of water running through the coffee, allowing optimum extraction.

Finally, ‘immersion’ equipment will be on your list of things to study. In this method, the coffee grounds are simply immersed in water and left to brew for a few minutes. Most often paired with a metal or paper filter in order to remove the grounds and particles from the final product. The French press and AeroPress are both immersion methods.

The techniques

In order to become a barista, there are many techniques you will need to grasp, and eventually, master.

We have briefly discussed grinding. Following this, you will learn how to ‘tamp’ the ground coffee. This is the part where you press a coffee tamper down onto the ground coffee in the portafilter, using just the right amount of even pressure, to create a uniformed, slightly compact ‘puck’ of ground coffee.

This wants to be done in a fashion that allows the water to run through at a specific speed to extract the coffee in a certain amount of time. Usually, you will be required to apply around 15g of pressure to the coffee to create the correct density.

Becoming a barista latte art

We have all looked on in admiration as an experienced barista has steamed milk to silky, shiny perfection and proceeded to pour it into an espresso shot, ending with a perfect Rosetta or rippled heart with ease. The reality is that this is a skill that needs to be practised.

Different drinks require slightly different milk foaming techniques, as do different milk types. So, familiarising yourself with the many varieties and styles will stand you in good stead.

The Personality

As with all customer-facing careers, a barista needs to be friendly and personable, yet resilient.

The ability to work under pressure, while people are waiting and watching is essential. Being able to move on from a mistake quickly and not let it drag down the rest of the day, becoming disheartened. There will be plenty of mistakes made, but this is how you will learn.

Eager and willing to interact with customers and colleagues. Take in knowledge from the people surrounding you and pass it on to others you serve. Engaging your customers will make their coffee shop experience extra special, encouraging repeat visits.

Along with the above points, a passion to learn and practise your craft will be what determines your success. The coffee world is a massive one and is only getting bigger. With a huge amount to learn and perfect, you need to be willing to dive in head first!

Training with us

Here at Refreshment Systems, we supply detailed training and a barista kit with every traditional espresso machine purchase, all from an SCA Accredited Barista.

becoming a barista coffee school

We will run through how to use, clean and maintain the machine and barista kit, answering any questions you may have. This can be done in our modern coffee school or on-site, one-on-one or in a group setting for your staff.

With continued support after your purchase with us, you will always have someone to call in times of need.

If you would like to find out more about our services and products or speak to a member of the team, contact us on 0800 169 3686 or click here to make an online enquiry.

Buy Coffee Machine | Rent Coffee Machine | Lease Coffee Machine | Standalone Coffee Vending Machine | Multiple location Coffee Vending Machines | Your Trusted Vending Supplier

Refreshment Systems Ltd is one of the most trusted vending machine suppliers in the UK. Whichever option you require either Buy Vending Machine | Rent vending machine | Lease Vending Machine | Stand alone Vending Machine | or Multiple location Machines. RSL is always by your side providing the best vending service nationwide.

If you want to hear more about our product and services, get in touch with Refreshment Systems on 0800 169 3686.

Or via our contact form.

Check out our social pages for more news and offers that the vending world and RSL are offering.

Our Facebook Page: @refreshmentsystemsltd

Our LinkedIn Page: Refreshment Systems Ltd

Our Twitter: @RefreshmentSys

Get in Touch

Call for quote

Prefer to talk?

Service Department 01274 750 008

General Enquiries 0800 169 3686

Order Ingredients 01226 720 482

You may also enjoy


Our customers are at the heart of everything that we do. If they are not achieving their goals then neither are we. Their satisfaction is very important to us and we believe that delivering what our customers want and need, means that we can form a long-lasting partnership.

Refreshment Systems are brilliant, I thought getting vending and coffee machines for our company would be complicated and time consuming, I was totally wrong, from the minute I called and spoke with Frazer I felt confident they could supply what we needed.

Cygnet Health

With the help of RSL, we now have a machine that meets demand, makes a delicious drink and is easy to use. We’re delighted with the service that we are now looking to add further machines to different areas on campus.

Leeds City College

We approached RSL after finding out that they could supply the Vitro coffee machines (which we wanted in our new offices). They were able to offer us the best solution to meet our needs. We are so happy with the service that we have received so far, that we are looking to use them in some of our other sites.

Virgin Money

Discover how we deliver the connected solution