Barista Interview Questions

Aside from the traditional hospitality-related interview questions, baristas should also be prepared for specific questions related to coffee knowledge. In this guide, we will explore some common questions that baristas may encounter during an interview.
Search Jobs
Ready to find your next hire? Post a Job.

Example Interview Questions

In this article, we will explore some common barista interview questions and tips for responding to each one.

Describe the most difficult situation you have experienced while working as a barista.

This question helps the hiring manager understand how you handle challenging situations in the past and whether you are able to deal with difficult or stressful scenarios. If your answer is too vague, you will not demonstrate your abilities. On the other hand, if your answer is too specific, your response may not reflect your future performance in the position.

Example answer: "I once had a customer come in and wait in line. I spent much of my time talking to her to engage her in conversation while she was waiting. She had many questions about our menu and the brewing process. I was just happy to help her feel more comfortable. Once it was her turn, she ended up buying a lot of different drinks for herself, her husband and her friends. She left a generous tip, which is always the goal."

How would you describe your approach to customer service?

Be specific in your response. The interviewer wants to know if you have the interpersonal skills and communication wisdom to provide excellent service to patrons.

Example answer: "I like to pay attention to what the customer is ordering, and then I thank them for their order and let them know how much they owe. I'm very careful about making changes to orders, because if I make a mistake, I make things right by replacing the order or offering a discount for their next visit. I also check back with them periodically to see if I can help them with anything else. I take pride in providing great service."

What do you do if a customer asks for a coffee you are not familiar with?

Accuracy and efficiency are the most important factors when it comes to making coffee. Being able to make a wide variety of drinks requires a lot of training. You should be able to cite your training and the steps you take to ensure your customers are always served the best coffee they can enjoy.

Example answer: "Before every shift, I spend time with my manager reviewing all the different drinks we serve. I also practice making them in the mockup machine. Once I am comfortable with the drink, I make notes and reminders about the ingredients I need to make it, such as the types of beans and milk. If a customer asks for a drink with ingredients I am unfamiliar with, I refer to my notes to make sure I get it right. Then I make a sample for the customer to taste, and if they like it, I make their drink.

How do you prepare for a shift?

Baristas need to follow several steps to make sure they are properly prepared for a shift. They need to know their schedule to ensure they can attend, and keep themselves motivated coming into the shift. This question will assess whether the candidate is able to organize their schedule properly and be genuinely motivated to help the business.

Example answer: "I always pick up the schedule and mark it down on my planner. I make sure I know my schedule and take holidays when I am supposed to. When I come in for a shift, I always make a plan. I make sure that I know what I will be serving and will have everything prepared in advance. For example, I know that I will be using an espresso machine, so before my shift I clean it and make sure it is in good condition and ready for use."

How do you prepare for a large rush of customers?

Customers typically come to a café in the morning, when everyone is out and about. However, they can increase during lunch break and after dinner. There may be several instances each day when the café is very busy. As such, baristas should know how to prepare in advance for an increase in customers. Your answer should demonstrate your ability to handle large crowds and work under pressure.

Example answer: "When I notice there is a large crowd waiting, I prepare my drinks ahead of time. This way, I can serve them quickly. I also like to use a drink dispenser to make sure there is a steady flow of hot drinks available. I always try to have at least two employees on the register so one person can be making drinks while the other one tends to customers."

Three resumes of different designs

Free online resume builder

Create a professional resume in minutes. Choose from a library of 30+ free resume templates and samples of career-specific writing examples.

Build Your Resume