Job Description:

Baristas make and serve coffee in cafes, coffee shop chains, restaurants and hotels.

Job Category:
Tourism, Hospitality & Entertainment

What you will do:

You’ll be responsible for serving customers and making up their orders. Your role is to make sure that customers enjoy their food and drink in a pleasant environment.

Your day-to-day duties might include:

  • preparing the coffee shop ready for opening
  • taking customer orders and payments
  • grinding fresh coffee beans
  • preparing and serving sandwiches and cakes
  • cleaning and tidying work areas, equipment and coffee machines
  • creating displays of stock
  • doing stock checks and ordering new stock
  • cleaning and tidying the coffee shop before closing


You’ll need:

  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

As well as:

  • customer service skills
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • the ability to sell products and services
  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork)
  • the ability to work on your own (drive)
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • a good memory
  • the ability to work well with your hands
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

Becoming a barista typically doesn’t require specific GCSE subjects, as it is a job that focuses on practical skills and customer service. However, having a good foundation in certain subjects can be beneficial in various aspects of the job. Here are some subjects that may be helpful if you’re considering a career as a barista:

  1. English: Good communication skills are essential for taking customer orders and providing excellent customer service. English GCSE can help you develop these skills.
  2. Mathematics: Basic math skills are necessary for handling cash, making change, and measuring ingredients for coffee and espresso drinks.
  3. Food Technology or Catering: These subjects can provide you with knowledge about food preparation and hygiene, which is important if you’ll be involved in making pastries or food items in addition to coffee.
  4. Business Studies: Understanding basic business concepts can be helpful if you plan to work in a coffee shop that is part of a larger chain or if you eventually want to manage or own a coffee shop.
  5. Science: While not directly related, a general understanding of science can be useful when working with espresso machines and understanding the science behind coffee extraction.

There are no set requirements. You may find it useful to have:

  • school qualifications in English and maths
  • experience of working in customer service or catering environment

You could complete a college qualification in a subject like food safety or hospitality and catering, but this isn’t essential.

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.

Working Hours and Environment:

You’ll work between 35 and 40 hours a week, full time. Part-time opportunities are often available.

You’ll usually work on a shift pattern to cover early morning and late evening opening hours.

You may also need to work some weekends and bank holidays.

The role can be physically demanding so you’ll need to be reasonably fit. The environment can be busy, hot and noisy.

Some employers will provide you with a uniform.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience, you could become a store manager and then move on to a regional manager role.

You could also become self-employed and set up your own coffee shop.