Who is the barista? The word sounds really good and round. It is often used nowadays, however, not everyone is a barista who is able to make a cup of coffee. The barista is a real coffee specialist, who is supposed to know all the ins and outs of coffee brewing.
According to the official definition, a barista is a person who mainly occupies himself with the preparation and the serving of espresso and other types of coffee. But actually, the story is more complicated, since coffee brewing is not a so simple task as it might seem to be at first glance. There are many factors and piccaninnies that a real barista should consider and be aware of. For example grounding, dosage, packing, the amount of water and temperature, just to mention a few.
This is certainly a separate art, which requires a lot of studies and practicing. Basically, the barista has to know the functions of the coffee machine and the know-how of making an ideal coffee, but he may also be familiar with tea and other hot drinks. A good coffee specialist knows which coffee varieties give the best espresso or cappuccino and knows how to make the perfect milk foam.
Coffee culture started to forge ahead in the XIX. century, and obviously this meant that the demand for coffee specialists significantly started to increase. However, the concept of baristas only emerged at the beginning of the XX. century, when the espresso machines occurred and came into general use. Nowadays we already have a lot of training and specialized schools, but this phenomenon was not typical in former times. Coffee specialists used to gain knowledge in a private way which was then passed on. Way back this profession was dominated by men, which is still about true, but women are also increasingly interested in this topic.
The baristas have to put all their creative impulses into their work since they have to create perfect espressos, make nice and artistic milk foams and they need to invent exciting recipes. Latte art is about making special drawings on top of the milk foam. Would you have thought that certain people specifically specialize on this activity? Latte art is becoming more and more popular.
The question may arise in us: doesn’t the technical development put the work of the baristas into the shade? Are they really necessary? Well, they might be necessary, assuming that there is a need among the consumers for creative solutions, aesthetics and more and more discoveries and recipes.
Not to mention the fact that even modern machines need expertise and understanding.
There are even world competitions for baristas, where they can match their knowledge. The serious coffee professionals have to prepare and serve an espresso, a cappuccino and a so-called signature beverage for the members of the jury. Usually, the competitors have around 15 minutes to accomplish this task. The jury is taking into account aspects like the harmony of the flavors and hygiene.
Baristas have to know the soul of the coffee and have to pay attention to the different little nuances.