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Barista Interview
Questions

25 Questions and Answers by Rachelle Enns

Updated December 26th, 2018 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
Question 1 of 25
How important is it to keep the barista station clean during your shift?
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How to Answer
The interviewer wants to hear that you understand it is essential to keep the barista station clean and tidy at all times. Tell the interviewer that it is imperative to keep the barista station clean during your shift for a variety of reasons.

From a health perspective, it is essential to keep it sanitary. From a work environment perspective, everyone enjoys working in a tidy environment. From a customer perspective, customers want to know their beverages are made in a well-kept sanitary environment; it creates a level of respect for the customer.

Be sure to mention where you have noticed a barista keeping their station clean. Did you see the barista at your local coffee shop wiping down the counter frequently during your last visit?
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1.
How important is it to keep the barista station clean during your shift?
The interviewer wants to hear that you understand it is essential to keep the barista station clean and tidy at all times. Tell the interviewer that it is imperative to keep the barista station clean during your shift for a variety of reasons.

From a health perspective, it is essential to keep it sanitary. From a work environment perspective, everyone enjoys working in a tidy environment. From a customer perspective, customers want to know their beverages are made in a well-kept sanitary environment; it creates a level of respect for the customer.

Be sure to mention where you have noticed a barista keeping their station clean. Did you see the barista at your local coffee shop wiping down the counter frequently during your last visit?

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I noticed the last few times, visiting your coffee shop, that the barista station is much cleaner than many other local coffee shops. It's vital that a station is clean and tidy so that all health codes are met and exceeded, and so that customers feel comfortable and willing to return time and time again."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I am a clean and tidy person, and I also have food safety training so you can rest assured that I would uphold your high standards of cleanliness. I have been to a few coffee shops in the area, and your shop is by far the cleanest. I would be very proud to work here."
2.
What is the first thing you noticed when you walked into our coffee shop?
Many interviewers will ask this question to see how observant and engaged you are. If you are genuinely interested in working for this coffee shop, you will have noticed some of the great things about them when you first entered the building. Keep your response light and positive! This question is not the time to begin criticizing or offering suggestions on how to improve.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"The first thing I noticed when walking into your coffee shop, was that your employees are all cheerful, the store is clean and well stocked, and organized. I appreciate that there is so much care that goes into the appearance, and ambiance of this coffee shop. I look forward to being a part of it!"
Rachelle's Answer #2
"The first time I walked into your shop I noticed that you have a lot of nice options for product upselling such as coffee beans, gourmet teas, biscuits, and other delicious food items. Customers want choice, and you certainly offer that."
3.
What is a Caf? Breva, and why can it be challenging to make?
The interviewer would like to know that you understand the difference between a cappuccino and a Breva. Sometimes, there are minimal differences between drinks, but a great barista is just like a bartender - able to know the small nuances between drinks. If you know how to make a Caf? Breva, walk the interviewer through it, and discuss why you believe it's harder to make than some drinks. If you do not know how to make a Caf? Breva, that is okay. It's then important you express to the interviewer that you are eager to learn.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"Rather than using milk, a Caf? Breva uses half and half. Sometimes, a Caf? Breva is ordered with half-and-half as well as regular milk. From my experience, this drink can be a challenge to prepare since it's more difficult to get half-and-half to foam. It's best to steam and froth the half-and-half to around 150 degrees, then allow it time to set."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I am not familiar with a Caf? Breva, but my best guess is that it is close to a cappuccino. There are many drinks that I know, and many I have yet to learn. I am eager to become a top barista and look forward to learning more!"
4.
Tell me about a time when you received criticism from your manager. How did you react?
This question is another way for an interviewer to ask you what your weaknesses may be. When you are thinking about examples of criticism, it's best to show that you want to grow as an employee and that you can handle constructive criticism professionally. Feedback from a manager helps you learn and improve the quality of your work. Give examples that would not make you exempt from the role. For instance, if you are interviewing to be a barista, you do not want to mention that your manager said you were terrible at interacting with customers!

Rachelle's Answer #1
"In my most recent performance review, my manager asked me to be a bit less chatty with the customers. I understand that we need to speed up the line, especially at peak times like in the mornings. With that said, they also appreciate the fact that I remember customers' names and work to make a genuine connection with them. I now continue to be my friendly self, but I am better at moving the line along."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"It's important that I take manager feedback and implement it right away. This strategy is best for becoming better at my job, resulting in career growth. The last time I received criticism from my manager, he asked me to learn a greater variety of drinks. After that, I started to watch YouTube videos from renowned baristas. These videos helped, and my manager quickly noticed the difference in my confidence behind the counter."
5.
Would you give someone you know a free coffee?
You understand that ethics are fundamental in a place of business, and the interviewer wants to hear that you will appropriately charge each customer for their order. The response to this question should always be no, you would never give away free product, even if it were a simple cup of coffee.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"My friends know my job is more important than free coffee. If a friend asked me to do something that selfish for them, I wouldn't even be their friend. I have strong ethics, and you can fully trust me to be responsible and honest."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"Giving away product, no matter how inexpensive, is still stealing. If I wanted to treat my friend to something, I would do so as a paying customer, when I was not on shift. You can rest assured that I am honest and ethical. My references will attest to this as well."
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