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Portrait of a Barista

By: Iulia Pascanu

What would you want your barista to be like?

This is not a trick question. The more I think of it, the more I believe it, that the world of coffee making must be laying on the shoulders of a barista.

I believe that because the coffee I am beeing served in a coffee house, I expect it to be good. On the other hand, the manager of the bar expects me to be pleased with the service and come again. If the coffee is not good, I will not do that.

Now who is responsible for this small gearing to work? You probably have guessed it, the barista.

Are you wondering what a barista is and how can you recognise him or her?

1. Well, he or she does not have a specific age or appearance. Nor nationality. In Italy, the country that gave the name of the job, a barista is most likely a man around the age of 40. In America, there are more chances that you find a young lady. But not necessarily.

2. One sure thing is they're susceptible to be found behind the bar-counter, always ready to prepare several varieties of coffee 'expressly for you' - by the way, did you know this was the initial definition of the espresso coffee?

3. A skilled barista, the one you would like to have prepare your cup, has several years of experience.

4. A good barista carries out to near-perfection four operations: dosing, tamping, pulling and steaming.

5. A good barista knows that no. 4 is not enough and sometimes helpless. For example, tamping depends on the finesse of the grind. The finer the grind, the less important the tamping.

6. A really good barista pays atention both to the quality of the coffee and the presentation.

7. The skilled barista is capable of performing more operations at the same time.

8. The barista you like interacts with his or her customers.

9. A good barista can manage to make a pretty good cup with less sophisticated appliances. Meanless to say, the opposite is not true.

10. A good barista can make a flourishing business out of your modest old cofee-shop. Again, the opposite in not true.

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About The Author, Iulia Pascanu

Iulia Pascanu writes for where you can find more information about The Mad Coffee Maker. Visit for more restaurant reviews and food articles.

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