37 Typical Barista Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 18 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A barista is a professional responsible for making coffee drinks and ensuring customer satisfaction. It's important that they're knowledgeable about the different types of coffee and brewing methods and possess the ability to create unique and flavourful coffee drinks. Knowing what type of barista interview questions an employer might ask can help you prepare successfully for your own interview. In this article, we discuss the different types of questions and offer you various examples of interview questions and their sample answers.

General barista interview questions

It's likely that the employer asks you some general barista interview questions to get to know you better and to see if you're a good fit for the job as part of the selection process, such as:

  1. Tell me a little bit about yourself.

  2. What are your strengths and weaknesses?

  3. Why are you interested in this position?

  4. How would your friends describe you?

  5. What caffeinated drink is your favourite?

  6. What's your least favourite drink to make?

  7. Where do you see yourself in five years?

  8. Are you interested in working full-time or part-time?

  9. What do you think makes a good barista?

  10. What are your salary expectations?

Related: How to Write a Food Industry Resume Objective (With Samples)

Questions about experience and background

The employer may also ask you questions about your background and experience with the aim of getting to know you better, including:

  1. Where did you learn about coffee?

  2. How much experience do you have making coffee drinks?

  3. What are some unique and creative ways you make coffee drinks?

  4. What skills do you think can help you succeed in this position?

  5. Why is customer service important to you?

  6. Do you have experience working in stressful situations?

  7. What aspects of your last job did you like the least and the most?

  8. Do you have experience working in a team?

  9. Tell me something about yourself that I can't find on your resume.

  10. Have you ever had to make a tough decision? What did you do?

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In-depth interview questions

Interviewers may ask you more in-depth questions to further test your expertise. Here are 10 example questions:

  1. What do you hope to learn from this job?

  2. What would you do if a customer was unhappy with their drink?

  3. What are some tips you have for making a great cup of coffee?

  4. What would you do if your coworker from the prior shift left the workplace a mess?

  5. What would you do if you were running behind on your drinks and another customer came in?

  6. When faced with a problem, what steps do you normally take to solve it?

  7. What would you do if you ran out of an ingredient for a customer's drink?

  8. How might you handle a rude or demanding customer?

  9. What do you think are the most challenging aspects of this job?

  10. What do you think sets this coffee shop apart from others in this area?

7 barista interview questions and sample answers

When preparing for your next job interview, you can use these common interview questions and the sample answers as a guide:

1. Have you ever had to work with a difficult coworker? How did you handle it?

The interviewer may ask this question to test your ability to handle conflict in a professional manner. It's important to stay calm and respectful when answering this question. Give an example of when you encountered this situation in the past and explain how you solved it. If you haven't experienced this, you can outline how you would handle it if it were to happen.

Example: 'I've had difficult coworkers before and I understand how frustrating it can be. In the past, I tried to talk to them directly about the issue to see if we can come to a resolution. If that didn't work, I would go to my supervisor and ask for help. I think it's important to try to work out the problem between ourselves first, but I understand that sometimes that's not possible. At the same time, I would never try to undermine a coworker or make them look bad to management because respect is very important to me in the workplace.'

Related: How to Answer Difficult Customer Interview Questions

2. What do you think are the most important skills for a barista to have?

The interviewer can ask a question similar to this one to get a better sense of your understanding of the role. They may also ask you to elaborate on particular skills listed on your resume. In your reply, talk about some of the skills you have that would make you excel in this role. You can also mention some qualities that you think are important for all baristas to have, such as a good work ethic and customer service skills.

Example: 'I think the most important skill for a barista to have is the ability to make a great cup of coffee. Of course, this takes practice and a lot of knowledge about different types of coffee beans and brewing methods. Another important skill is being able to work quickly and efficiently under pressure. This is a fast-paced industry and customers expect quick service. Being able to multitask and stay calm when things get busy is essential.'

Related: 10 Tips for What to Do Before an Interview (With Importance)

3. What do you think makes a great customer service experience?

Employers ask this question to gauge your customer service skills. When answering, talk about the importance of creating a positive customer service experience and describe what you think are the most important elements of this. You can also mention some specific things you would do to ensure that every customer leaves the shop happy.

Example: 'I believe that a great customer service experience happens when the customer feels valued and respected. It's important to be friendly and helpful, but also to be patient and understanding. I always try to please the customers, whether it's drawing a smile on their takeaway cup or taking the time to chat with them about their day. I think small things like that can make a big difference in someone's experience.'

4. What do you do if you're late for a shift?

When employers ask this question, they're testing your level of responsibility. It's important to be honest in your answer and to take full accountability for your lateness. Explain what you would do in this situation and how you would make sure it doesn't happen again. It's also vital that you demonstrate your good attitude.

Example: 'If I'm ever late for a shift, the first thing I do is apologise to my manager and explain why I'm late. I would then get straight to work and try to make up for the lost time. I would also make sure that it doesn't happen again by being more organised and setting a few alarms. Being punctual is important to me, so I want to do whatever it takes to make sure I'm on time.'

5. What would you do if you saw someone stealing from the store?

Employers may ask this question because they want to better understand your ability to handle difficult situations. Talk about what you would do if you saw someone stealing and how you would handle the situation. Be honest in your answer and demonstrate that you would take appropriate action.

Example: 'If I saw someone stealing from the store, I would first try to stop them. If that wasn't possible, I would get the attention of a manager or another staff member. I would then tell them what I saw and help them to handle the situation. Stealing isn't acceptable in any workplace, so it's important to take appropriate action.'

6. How do you decide what drink to suggest to a new customer?

The interviewer may want to test your knowledge and your ability to make suggestions to customers. Explain how you would go about deciding what drink to suggest and what factors you would consider. You can also mention some of the different types of drinks you know how to make.

Example: 'When suggesting a drink to a new customer, I like to ask them a few questions about what they usually drink and what they're looking for. I then use this information to suggest a drink that I think they'll enjoy. I always make sure to explain the different options and help them to make a decision. I want them to leave the store happy with their purchase, so I do whatever I can to find the perfect drink for them.'

Related: How to Tell if a Job Interview Went Well (12 Positive Signs)

7. Can you tell me about some of the different brewing methods?

The employer may want to further test you to see how much you know about making coffee. In your answer, discuss some of the various brewing methods that you know about. Explain the differences between them and share why some people might prefer one over the other. You can also mention some of your personal favourites.

Example: 'Some of the more popular methods include drip coffee, espresso and cold brew. Each one has its own unique flavour and brewing process. Some people prefer one over the other, while others like to constantly change the type they drink. Personally, I like to experiment with different coffee blends and brewing methods to find the perfect combination.'

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