Barista Series: Tilting the Balance


Before I get too much into the discussion I want to state my background and briefly touch on my goals for the Barista profession. Being a Barista, in this case a “B” because I’m referring to the highest level of the profession, is far more multifaceted than being able to make coffee. To be honest, I stumbled into the bartending world simply because I was working with a client that drove me to drink everyday- at Tavern Law in Seattle. Tavern Law is pre-Prohibition style cocktail bar.  I ended up working at Tavern shortly after that, only a few months after being hired at Liberty Bar. I quickly decided that I was going to pursue a bartending “career” as if it were an integral part of my Barista career- because it is. A Barista is the blacksmith of beverages forging both hot and cold,  alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks to people who have no idea how much energy and discipline goes into the development of such a skill. Regardless, we do it because we love it . For me, I wanted to truly master the profession of being a professional Barista and emulate all of the idiosyncratic definitions you could conjure. I won’t deny being young in the coffee industry, but I’m far from lacking experience in the Barista industry- and I might even go as far as to say that too many baristas focus on being in the coffee industry instead of being in the Barista industry. Don’t get me wrong, some not everyone’s meant to be a Barista and are talented in other ways that would benefit the roasting or trading arms of our industry, but the professional Baristas can focus on elevating and pushing common baristas into Baristas.

The ideal, at least for myself would be in a, wait for it:…. Coffee. Bar. The service and attention given by bartenders to patrons needs to be applied by baristas wanting to be Baristas and their patrons. Consumer engagement in coffee will never be as successful as that in a bar until we understand this. There are far more cocktail geeks than bartenders. In fact, a good chunk of people I bartend come in to sit at the bar, watch me make drinks and ask me, yes ME, questions. And the pour costs of spirits is far more than that of coffee. It is my hopethat the “Coffee.Bar.” environment/concept is where the success of the elevation of the Barista profession lies.

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2 Comments on “Barista Series: Tilting the Balance”

  1. 10/25/2011 at 3:07 pm #

    Im down. School me next time im at Liberty.

  2. 10/25/2011 at 3:31 pm #

    Liberty’s not quite the venue. But soon enough, I shall take you to school. =-P

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