Always Be with Coffee, Barista! - The UOS Times
The UOS Times
Always Be with Coffee, Barista!Where there is coffee, there is a barista.
Jung Dae-gyo Junior Reporter  |
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[0호] 승인 2006.06.23  
트위터 페이스북 네이버 구글
“Cappuccino, please.” As soon as an order arrives, Na Il-cang’s hands move fast. First, he tempers the porter-filter, which grinds down coffee beans, and takes out ground coffee beans. While the espresso machine extracts the ground coffee beans, he pours milk to an espresso cup.

When extracted espresso is added, finally, Cappuccino is done. “There you go. Enjoy your espresso!” After the order goes out, he says that it is only an ordinary scene to make in a quiet time zone, but there often happens that many orders come all at once.

Arranging a shelf, Mr. Na said, “In such a case, there are not enough hands to make coffees.” Recently, with the increase of the number of coffee shops in Korea, there is also an increase of people like Mr. Na. These people are called ‘Barista.’

There are more and more baristas in Korea these days. Barista is an Italian word meaning ‘a working man in a bar.’ The word is used to draw a clear distinction between a barista and a bartender. A barista must have various skills ranging from such simple skill in choosing quality coffee and how to maintain machine efficiency to such skills as making full use of espresso coffee and what kind of machine to use. Besides, he/she should find a new method for making a unique brand of coffee.

However, these skills, a barista should keep in mind, are not all that are required. This is because a new trend calls for a barista to be a director. He/She should have the ability to manage the shop. For example, he/she had better well about arranging seats, choosing music and controlling brightness in lighting system as well as selecting well ground coffee beans.

Moreover, a barista should be skillful with coffee machines. Needless to say, he/she should be good at operating tools like a screwdriver like a toy.

And a barista needs to learn the marketing and image making skills, for one of the barista’s duties is to manage the entire shop, as well as making coffee. Coffee is the second largest in the world trade, with petroleum as the first.

It is an amazing amount, and this data may apply to the coffee market in Korea; according to experts, the Korea coffee market has dramatically increased won in 2003 to 200 billion won in 2005, which shows a substantial rate of growth in the Korea market. In particular, on behalf of special-tea markets, markets of espresso make inroads into the Korea market, which was ruled by instant coffee. Currently, the market of espresso has increased about 50% annual.

Therefore, coffee shops in Korea, including grand franchise shops and take-out shops, need a great number of the baristas. Compared to the increase of coffee shops, nevertheless, coffee makers are estimated only about 60,000.

Moreover, not all of them deserve the title of a ‘real barista’ just because they can make coffee. Only those who can make their own coffee are entitled as an advanced barista. However, these people are calculated at only approximate 2,600. Therefore, a lot more baristas are in demand.

A barista’s income averages a million won a month, in case of working 8 to 10 hours a day. And their income does not have any maximum. In other words, their income may become high or low, depending on individual abilities. Their position is diversified, also. They can be a management of franchise, a chief of coffee shop team in hotel, an employer of coffee shop and so on. That is, there is an ample hope for success, if you try hard.

Then, how can you be a barista? There are many ways to be a barista. First, you can get training at a university. Recently, universities and colleges open departments related to barista in Korea: for example, Dept. of Barista at Na-Ju University and Young-dong University, the Dept. of Hotel Cooking and Beverage at Dae-Gu Health College and etc.

You can obtain expertise through their courses. In addition to these courses, there are Adult Continuing Education Centers. Moreover, enrolling a private academy is another good way. A private academy gives participants summarized expertise including actual training. This course is very efficient, but the fee is more expensive than that of a college.

Another way to be a barista is through experiences. You can learn skills at shops by doing chores as a part-timer. Moon Heung-ki, the manager of ‘S’ coffee shop is a good example. He said, “In the beginning stage, you have to work hard and cannot expect to be respected as highly as you deserve. So it may seem a heavy course to become a barista.

However, have patience with yourself and passion for coffee, and you will have good results.” Choi Jae-uk is another example. He started his work in shops, and acquired plenty of work related making coffee. Whenever he had some time, he practiced making coffees. After he went though these steps, he finally won the prize in The Korea Barista Contest in 2004, and he ranked the 12th at The World Barista Championship. There are no official-licenses for a barista in Korea, unlike America or Europe.

That means that anyone can apply to the job, but not everyone can be an expert. Although the world of barista allows coffee lovers to get in, it isn’t easy to be an advanced barista, who can attract the people’s attention and be surrounded by coffee mania in that world. However, if he/she had a service mind for customers and the passion for coffee, it would be better to work.

“I feel a great sense of pride, when customers drink my coffee,” said Kim Un-hye working at ‘S’ coffee shop as a barista. When the way is opened, the opportunity comes in. Have passion for coffee, and don’t hesitate to be a barista. Barista is no longer a dream. Where there is coffee, there is a barista. Dive into the barista world!
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