Food & drink


Baristas make and serve coffee in cafes, coffee shop chains, restaurants and hotels.

Annual Salary

£8,000 to £20,000

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588 (source Office for Statistics)

Working hours


What's it all about?

You’ll be responsible for serving customers and making up their orders. Your role is to make sure that customers enjoy their food and drink in a pleasant environment.

Your day-to-day duties might include:

  • preparing the coffee shop ready for opening
  • taking customer orders and payments
  • grinding fresh coffee beans
  • preparing and serving sandwiches and cakes
  • cleaning and tidying work areas, equipment and coffee machines
  • creating displays of stock
  • doing stock checks and ordering new stock
  • cleaning and tidying the coffee shop before closing

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly


You could do a college qualification like:

  • Level 1 Award in Introduction to Employment in the Hospitality Industry
  • Level 2 Award in Barista Skills
  • Level 2 Diploma in Food and Beverage Service

You'll usually need:

  • 2 or fewer GCSEs at grades 3 to 1 (D to G) for a level 1 course
  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D) for a level 2 course


You can train through a hospitality team member intermediate apprenticeship.

This will usually take 12 months to complete. You'll do on-the-job training and spend time at a college or training provider. 

You'll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, for an intermediate apprenticeship

Direct application

You can apply directly for jobs. Some employers may prefer you to have experience in customer service or catering.

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a barista from the Hospitality Guild.

£8,000 to £20,000

Starter salary: £8,000 to £15,000

Experienced salary: £15,000 to £17,000

Your salary will depend on the type of coffee shop you work for, and its location.

As a trainee barista you'll usually be paid by the hour, earning around the minimum wage.

Some employers may pay more for shift work and overtime.


You’ll work between 35 and 40 hours a week, full time. Part-time opportunities are often available.

You’ll usually work on a shift pattern to cover early morning and late evening opening hours. 

You may also need to work some weekends and bank holidays.

The role can be physically demanding so you’ll need to be reasonably fit. The environment can be busy, hot and noisy.

Some employers will provide you with a uniform.

With experience, you could become a store manager and then move on to a regional manager role.

You could also become self-employed and set up your own coffee shop.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • the ability to work well with others
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • customer service skills
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • the ability to work on your own
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • a desire to help people
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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