The Art and Skill of a Barista

By: Chelsea Jarrell

Our favorite trusted craftsperson, baristas have become that oh-so-familiar face that brightens up our day with the simple call of our name and a drink waiting shortly after. But have you ever wondered where the term Barista came from? Or how the role has developed into what we know it as today?

The History of the Barista

Surprisingly, the name was coined back in 1645 when there were houses that would serve both alcohol and coffee in Italy. The term Barista is Italian and when translated into English literally means “barman.” At the time, the espresso machine had yet to be invented, so these Baristas would use the traditional Turkish method where they would serve coffee from a copper pot to each patron. There were many people trying to create the perfect machine to make coffee and steam milk, but the first one to be patented was created by Angelo Moriondo in 1884. The creation of the espresso machine lead to the largest wave in the coffee movement known as the second wave.  


How the Automatic Espresso Machine Changed the Barista

This second wave is what lead to major companies opening up shops all over the country to make coffee readily accessible and uniform. This is where we often view our Baristas today. However, this wave also brought in the automatic espresso machine which took away the skill and craftsmanship that baristas learned with their title. This new espresso machine automates the temperature to which the milk is steamed, and how long the shots are pulled so that it can make the process of making drinks easier. There are still several craft coffee shops that believe in allowing each barista the ability to showcase just how talented they are with the use of a manual machine. Commonwealth Joe prides itself on not only finding talented baristas, but also teaching people who have never touched an espresso machine the art of being a barista.


Commonwealth Joe is Bringing Craftsmanship Back

We believe that each and every Barista who works with us is a master craftsperson whose passions are brought to life behind the bar each day. Each of our Baristas start their shift by dialing in the perfect shot of espresso. Dialing in  takes time and talent to figure out the correct weight and time to pull each shot. Once they discover the perfect combination they are ready to create any drink which comes their way. Each individual beverage has different components that take a certain skill to create. Steaming milk is another technique that takes hours of practice to master. The amount you aerate the milk, the angle in which the steam wand sits, and for how long you steam it will determine if your milk is velvety smooth, and if it will combine well with the espresso. Everything from the moment the espresso is ground to the way the milk is poured into each cup takes a finesse that most people don’t realize is required.


Love a good espresso beverage? Our shops are full of talented Baristas -- stop into one of our stores to experience a latte or cappuccino unlike any other.  You’ll experience the passion and hardwork of each and every one of our Baristas. Looking to take that next step? Join our growing team and become a master craftsperson yourself. Earn the title of Barista and wear it proudly. Visit our website to apply today!


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