Plenty of people are capable of being good baristas. But if you want to be an excellent barista—the type people purposely visit the coffee shop to order from—then you're going to have to put in the work! Here are some tips to help you really excel as a barista:
Read about coffee in your spare time.
The more you know about coffee, the better able you'll be to create unique coffee drinks, brew coffee precisely, and recommend different coffees for customers to try. Look for some articles or blogs about coffee and coffee shops (such as Gravity Coffee Company) and save them in your bookmarks on your phone. Then, when you have a little downtime at work, you can spend it reading and learning more about coffee. As you learn new things, put them to use! Being a great barista means continually seeking to improve and do better.
Chat with customers when appropriate.
There will be times when your customers are in a hurry and don't have time to chat. But there will be other times when they're clearly at the coffee shop to kick back, relax, and have a nice time. When you see that a customer seems to be taking their time, take this opportunity to chat with them and make them feel welcome. Ask them about their favorite coffee, or ask about their day. Being a barista is as much about service as it is about coffee, and good conversation means good service.
Give every drink a special twist.
Work on developing your own "signature" as a barista. This could be anything from a specific way that you fold a straw to the way you swirl the foam on top of espresso beverages. Over time, customers will come to know you for this signature. They may comment on it and seek you out because of it.
Make coffee prep a performance.
When you're making various coffee beverages, try to do it as a sort of performance. Lift the pot a little higher, stir with a rhythm, let your customers see you grind the beans, and so forth. Many customers will enjoy watching you do this prep, and it will draw more customers into the shop.
If you follow the tips above, you will excel as a barista. The job is about more than just making coffee. It's also about communicating with customers and bringing them into the world of coffee with you.