There’s a special kind of joy I get when I find myself discussing coffee with someone who’s never considered being a barista an aspirational type of gig. Sure, a ton of coffee professionals are biding time until grad school is over, or they land a more permanent, more lucrative job. But there’s an eye-opening, of sorts, when people discover that a lot of baristas really, really dig this job and want to be damned good at it. And some are in it for the long haul.
They do shit like latte art competitions (TNT – holla!), join professional associations, pursue certifications and, yes, some go on to compete in regional, national and even international competition. Call it the secret life of the barista, or whatever. And I love introducing people to this side of the industry.
Now, to be clear, it’s not necessary for baristas to do these things to demonstrate their commitment to the craft. Some long-time coffee pros have never joined the Barista Guild of America or gone to competition. But I think it’s an important indicator of the maturity of the coffee service industry, and more people ought to know that such things exist. [Read more...]