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How to become a barista in the UK

A barista working in a coffee shop
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Are you looking for a barista job in the UK? You may be wondering how to land the perfect role in this competitive industry. The good news is that if you follow the right tips and tricks, you can stand out from other applicants and become a barista in the UK.

What is a barista?

A barista is an individual who produces and serves espresso-based beverages. This term is also often applied to employees in coffee shops who make espresso and common coffee-based drinks. Even though a barista describes anyone experienced in making espresso, it can also refer to anyone demonstrating a high level of knowledge in making espresso drinks like cappuccinos and lattes.

How to become a barista

If you are looking to become a barista in the UK then you need to be able to demonstrate your barista skills by gaining experience. This is vital if you want to become a barista.

If you don’t have any experience then it is time to gain some by gaining work experience in a coffee shop. This will allow you to develop knowledge about the workings of a coffee shop and also the role of a barista. When looking for somewhere to gain your first experience look for a coffee shop with high-quality service and selling high-quality products.

In order to make yourself as desirable to potential employers as possible, you can acquire qualifications in related fields. You can get certified for Food Safety Level 2, which lets you serve food and drinks to the public, or a Level 1 Award in Introduction to Employment in the Hospitality Industry. Food hygiene certification is also beneficial for any hospitality job you may pursue.

Obtaining qualifications not only provides you with skills that look strong on a CV, but they can play a major role in demonstrating your enthusiasm to prospective employers. Although these qualifications may come at a small cost, you have shown that you are intent on getting the role and an employer is unlikely to overlook somebody that has taken such significant steps on their own.

What are the main duties of a Barista?

If you are looking to become a barista then you will need to carry out the following roles.

  • Preparing and serving hot and cold drinks such as espresso and common coffee-based drinks as well as tea and other specialty beverages
  • Cleaning and sanitising work areas, utensils, and equipment to make sure they are hygenic
  • Describing items on the menu and making suggestions to customers on what drinks would suit them
  • Taking customer orders and serving customers as well as taking payment
  • Ordering stock to replenish supplies in your coffee shop

Best coffee shops to apply

Start by researching local and popular coffee shops in the area you are looking to work. You do not need to restrict your job search to big brands such as Costa, Starbucks, and Caffe Nero.

Visiting the website of each coffee shop or cafe can give you an idea of what they look for in their employees and what roles they have available. Additionally, try reaching out to them directly! A personal introduction or letter can help make your application even stronger.

Use recruitment agencies

If you’re looking to broaden your search or find specialised barista jobs in the UK, should use the help of recruitment agencies. They are industry professionals who can help with everything from finding job openings and submitting applications to negotiating salaries and work benefits.

Recruitment agencies can definitely help if you want to become a barista as they can give you valuable advice about how to deal with interviews, such as what questions employers are likely to ask and how best to answer them.

Network in the Coffee Communities

Networking is key if you want to become a barista in the best coffee shops in the UK. Networking helps to build relationships with people in the coffee and cafe industry, like other baristas and coffee shop employees.

They may put on special events where you can meet industry workers and learn more about new companies that are looking for staff. Plus, they can tell you which establishments have the most job openings so you know where to look next.

How much does a barista earn?

On average, a barista in the UK will bring home £22,000 a year, or £11.28 an hour. If you are new to becoming a barista then you can expect to make around £21,000, while more experienced workers can make up to £27,000.

The minimum wage in the UK for employees over 23 is £9.50 so a barista makes for employees aged 23 years and over. A barista, therefore, makes 18.7% more than the minimum wage in the UK.

The average wage in the UK in 2022 was £33,000 meaning that if you looking to become a barista that unfortunately, you will be taking home less than the average UK salary.

Side hustle or part-time job

Being a barista doesn’t have to be a full-time job. Many baristas work part-time and some people become a barista to allow them to make some extra money as a side hustle to their main income.

Becoming a barista is a great side hustle as it doesn’t matter where you live there is likely to be a coffee shop near you.

This means that you have a great chance of earning some extra cash if you already have some barista experience as coffee shops are always on the lookout for well-trained and skilled baristas.

Perks of being a barista

  • You get to work with coffee and who doesn’t love the smell of freshly ground coffee?
  • Meeting new people every day and getting to know your regulars is a great way of making new friends
  • Drink as much coffee as you want
  • You have a skill that is always in demand and allows you to make money anywhere in the world
  • The dress code in coffee shops is generally relaxed so if you have tattoos and piercings nobody is going to think twice as individuality is generally encouraged

Is it stressful being a barista?

Working a barista job is no different than any other, in that it comes with its own stresses and challenges. At first being a barista can seem overwhelming and tiring, but with time everything gets smoother and more enjoyable.

These jobs are often physically demanding, but they become easier as one grows accustomed to the daily grind. All in all, barista gigs at coffee shops are not as stressful as some other jobs once you get to know your role.

The most difficult part is familiarising yourself with the terminology and all of the menu items. Once you conquer that, everything else becomes a breeze.

Barista work is usually quite stress-free, as it often involves a close-knit team that help each other out.

It is an excellent job choice for high-school leavers who are seeking employment and any other people who are passionate about coffee or working in hospitality, regardless of your qualifications.


Becoming a barista can be achieved by anyone who has an interest in coffee and wants to work in a coffee shop or in the hospitality industry. Once you become a barista you can use your skills to make more money. If you are thinking about becoming a barista then start applying now and you will become a barista in no time at all.

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