It was recently reported that a new
Costa coffee shop in Nottingham was inundated with applications – 1,701 to be specific – for eight new barista roles.
The amount of applications came as a surprise, especially as some applicants had as much as 15 years’ experience in retail. Did all these people just have a love for coffee beans? Were they all desperate for a job? Or is there something quite appealing about the barista label?
Barista after all has no stigma attached – not that there’s a stigma attached with sales assistant, bar person or café worker; it’s just that barista sounds more sophisticated. It has an attractive edge. Even in Hollywood, actors playing baristas are often portrayed as cool, calm and really attractive.
Barista has become more than just a job title – it’s become a sub culture with its own dress code, magazine (Barista Magazine) and attitude; there’s even a World Barista Championship. How many other job roles have all this?
But is this just an illusion? Would the newly appointed baristas in the Costa coffee shop in Nottingham feel part of this culture or has the role of the barista simply been glamorised? Barista after all, means bartender in Italian.
Other than the culture, there has to be more to it. There’s no denying that being a barista in a busy coffee shop must be hard work and stressful at times; however, perhaps other things make up for it – working with lovely people, nice lighting and the smell of freshly ground coffee beans.
Or perhaps – going back to the second paragraph of questions, people just need jobs and Costa would have received the same amount of applications regardless of the initial advert.
Despite times being tough – job wise – I do think there’s something we can learn from the barista culture. Rather than stigmatising certain job roles, we should be looking to create – not necessarily sub cultures for every individual job title – but creating nice atmospheres and a lovely working environment with a sense of community could be a start.