First of all we need to understand who the professional bartender is and why he differs from the common “button presser.”
The “button presser”
He’s the one who was told “do as I do, put some coffee, press it with this or that, slam and push, slam and push, but if you don’t have time do it just one time then go direct to the machine, grab the cups and press this: all clear? Then when we have time I’ll teach you how to make cappuccino, but you have to earn it…”.
The Professional Bartender
He is able to prepare properly the beverages, he knows the coffee chain and knows how to interact with the client in the right way.
Therefore, as all professions ( professions, not jobs !) it needs 2 things mainly:
Training and Experience of a Professional Barista
Training can be found in dozens of courses, private or not, advertised around, in the social media or through word of mouth. You can also try asking roasting companies or suppliers of equipment.
Of course there are different kind of trainings in terms of quality. The free ones often don’t prepare enough to pursue a career as a bartender, but they still help you to understand how fascinating the world you’re about to enter is.
SCA Training Courses
A professionalizing training course by SCA (Specialty Coffee Association) instead, with an investment of a few hundred euros, allows you to have a solid foundation on which to build a career by also issuing you a SCA Certificate recognized at International Level.
Do you want to become a professional bartender? I’ll give you an advice…
My suggestion is to start with a Tasting Course so that you can recognize the sensory basics of a coffee and learn to use the right words to describe it. After that switch to the basic bartender’s technique: espresso and cappuccino, addressing also fundamental issues such as coffee grinding, cleaning the workstation and use appropriate equipment to become a bartender capable of offering an excellent and professional product.
How to accumulate Barista Experience?
So far I’ve told you the basics. The next step is to get fast on the execution. Here experience takes over. My advice is to look for coffee shops that allow you to gain experience, to put into practice the knowledge acquired and improve the technique: the famous apprenticeship, probationary period or internship. We must go back to value these forms of work. We need to be clear by assuming and planning a serious path of growth, perhaps taking advantage of the quietest periods of our work.
Some Practical Tips
– At first it’s more important the experience than the economic aspect;
– Look for a meritocratic relationship, with goals and timing;
– The bartender doesn’t make just coffee and cappuccinos, he sweeps up and mops and fill the fridges;
– Be polite and smile.
What’s the next step?
You have a number of options to choose based on what you feel closest to your world and more suitable to your skills. Therefore you could:
– Continue with the SCA Training Path to become an all-round professional bartender ;
– Specialize in milk art;
– Specialize in alternative systems to espresso such as Brewing or Filter Coffee;
– Specialize in the preparation of coffee-based cocktails;
– Take the path of Competition (competitor or judge);
– Consider a career as Operation Manager or Bar Manager.
I beg your pardon? Is the Bartender’s Market saturated?
Then you should know that just in the last week I’ve received 3 requests such as “do you have a trained bartender to send me?”
Then, roll up your sleeves and have a good study and good work!