How To Ace A Barista Interview


There comes a time in every young person’s life when they must gather their strength, assess their position in the world, and apply to work in a cafe. These positions are highly competitive but don’t let that discourage you – just be sure to show up to an interview prepared. Remember, you want to show your future bosses that you are excited, capable, quick-thinking, and that everything in your life thus far has served to prepare you for this job. For your convenience, here are some sample interview questions you can expect to hear, and some examples of how best to answer them.

Why are you enthusiastic about working at Ampersand Espresso?

Well sir, first of all, I truly love the decor. I could live here for weeks, and I might actually need to, because our apartment is having a bit of a bedbug epidemic. But really – I love these faux velvet diner booths. My Grandma Ruth once had a dress with this exact same print on it. I loved her dearly until she died of gluten allergies, bless her soul. Thankfully, Ampersand Espresso has gluten-free banana muffins, which were Grandma Ruth’s favorite! I am enthusiastic about working at Ampersand, not only because of my passion for gluten-free baked goods, but because it will give me the financial security I need to finish my animated documentary about unicycle racing in the neuroscience community.

What makes you stand apart from the other candidates?

My master’s degree in comparative literature has taught me that the human soul is infinite, but not as infinite as the human desire for frothy espresso drinks. My quick, analytic mind can often anticipate what a customer is about to order before they even order it and my expansive knowledge of global folklore provides me with ample topics for witty banter to brighten customers’ days and distract them in case we run out of half and half.

Opening shifts begin at 6am and closing shifts can expect to stay as late as midnight. Could you be outgoing and friendly with customers both early in the morning and late at night?

As a psychiatrically diagnosed “night person,” I would prefer later shifts. Closing up at midnight will be no problem at all because, as I like to say, the night doesn’t even begin until 1am. This might suggest that I am ill-equipped for opening up shop at 6, but don’t be fooled. I have woken up that early to get to the airport on at least four separate occasions, and I have never missed a flight! As for my early morning demeanor, this one time freshman year, I woke up at 5:30am in an abandoned lot on the outskirts of town covered in glitter and silly string and was amiable enough to negotiate a ride home from a gas station attendant and outgoing enough to talk my way back into my dorm even though I had left my purse with my keys and identification on a carnival ride. This was an isolated incident but I assure you that even if a similar situation were to arise, I would be able to get to work on time, looking neat and bright-eyed, and will be functional, attentive, and respectful, especially if I am granted unlimited access to the espresso machine.

Describe a time when you gave or received great customer service?

During my brief stint at Pier 1, a woman came in with her three children and demanded pomegranate-scented candles. I politely explained to her that we were out, and referred her to the 73 other types of candles we had available. Unsatisfied, the customer brandished her coupon book and vocalized that if I don’t get her the pomegranate-scented candles promised on our website, she would call my manager and see to it that I was immediately laid off. As she explained this, her children improvised a game of tackle football in the artisan pottery aisle that I had so carefully arranged just moments earlier. I enlisted a co-worker to attend to the woman while I ran to the adjacent Whole Foods, purchased a ripe pomegranate, crushed it with my bare hands, and used the extract to disguise an otherwise unscented candle. Simultaneously, I restrained the children with our brand-new Splendid Relaxation Mist, as patented by local catnip manufacturers, thereby saving both the pottery and the well-being of our other customers. Needless to say, the angry woman bought both the candles and the mist and even gave me a recommendation for a promotion because I am always willing to go the extra mile to ensure a customer’s satisfaction, even if that mile is fraught with swampland and man-eating crocodiles.

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