Most of you know, that barista should know everything about coffee and sommelier about wines. But is that all? Most certainly, not. Typically, these professionals work in restaurants, bars and other similar establishments providing advices and serving existing supplies, but it is not enough. To become a qualified sommelier or barista, you should follow new trends of wine and coffee constantly, and to have deep knowledge in dishes that could accompany selected drinks. To obtain such qualification these people will need to participate in various long or short-term training and seminars. Additionally to this, such professions should also acquire knowledge in psychology, ethics and other skills that are needed in order to communicate with customers efficiently.
Service staff usually represents faces of the company. Therefore, every waiter or bartender should have at least basic knowledge of sommelier and barista.
The first coffee house was established in Venice, Italy. Therefore, word barista origins from Italian language and means a professional who prepares and serves coffee to customers. Every barista knows that coffee taste and aroma depends on many factors, such as country of origin, soil, climate, processing, roasting and so on. However, the preparation process can be the ultimate factor that determines quality and taste of coffee.
Apart from knowing coffee you serve, barista should also be very attentive to customers’ requests and serve coffee accordingly, to be able inform clients about different types and flavors of coffee, improvise while serving, and to know when and what coffee could be combined with different supplements. Additionally, every coffee specialist should be able to work with a variety of coffee preparation mechanisms, to know different coffee preparation techniques and methods. These professionals must constantly update their knowledge: monitor new trends in coffee market, to improve already existing skills, to have interest in coffee selection from different plantations with different type of roasting process and to try coffee from various cultivation themselves. To many surprise, global coffee trends are changing constantly, therefore, each barista wishing to remain a high quality professional should be to update the information on coffee trends and its market daily.
Nowadays barista is not just a coffee expert with ability to prepare quality coffee of an exclusive taste and aroma, but also certain type of artist. Latte Art becomes more and more popular form of art – small images are created by using the espresso coffee, milk and chocolate. Mostly a steamed milk foam is poured onto the surface of coffee creating a variety of images that on top of it can still be decorated with chopped chocolate, chocolate powder, chocolate syrup or espresso.
Word sommelier originates from French language and means wine connoisseur, who also knows serving procedures. Nowadays sommelier mostly works in restaurants, and in the absents of the restaurant chef, sommelier remains responsible for all activities in the restaurant. This profession is equally related to the discovery of new (or long forgotten) vineyards and winemakers. The key value of this is to pull uncovered quality wines out of the local context and to present it to the international market.
A good wine connoisseur apart from knowing everything about wine (origin of the country, type of grapes, aging, roasting and other factors affecting wine’s quality), should also be aware of menu and cuisines. This knowledge is required in order to be able to give the best recommendations to the customers regarding which wine compliments different dishes the most and which combination is “please, don’t do this ever again in the public”.
Communication with customers is an integral part of sommelier’s profession. Hence, if you want to be a good sommelier you should also develop good psychological skills, to be able to listen and understand your customer, to show the ability to provide professional recommendations in order to satisfy the client’s needs. Wine presentation ritual (to get familiar with the chosen wine, its origin and flavor as well as to enjoy the opportunity to have a taste of the drink) is perhaps the most important task of a professional sommelier. These experts as well as barista should constantly update their information: to follow the latest trends of the wine world, to renew existing information and to continue developing his or her professional qualification. Wine tasting, historical knowledge of wine and constant visits to vineyards is the basis of sommelier training methods.
Sommelier and barista are quite often considered to be employees who after obtained the training repeatedly use the same knowledge for a long time. However, to become a highly qualified specialist in these fields there is so much to learn and there should be a continuous development of the skills and updates of the knowledge that help to deepen the understanding of coffee and wine. The best way to keep on improving is to make it daily habit. On the other hand, the basic knowledge of wines and coffee is required from any employer in the service sector (restaurants, café, bars and other food service establishments serving wine or coffee), because personnel who has a direct contact with customers represent the image of the company, which will determine whether the customer will come back again or not.