this is rhetorical:

My coworker, Janice*; is a barista.

I am a baristo.

We are baristi.

Yes? No?


Why not?

Talk amongst yourselves.

--EDIT-- 05/06/2008
for clarity - and the title "Barista"

I'd like to know what YOU think of the phrase...

if you're fine with 'barista' that's awesome - but that is not what I'm interested in; but how you feel about it... how do you perceive yourself in that title and how do you project yourself - in any title - toward the public from behind the bar? to your friends? to your colleagues? etc. etc.

can we be more than 'barista'?

--EDIT-- 06/03/2008

I'm not talking about gender-role, I'm talking title; I'm not talking pay, I'm talking perception; I'm not talking about YOU, I'm talking WE.

*not a real person

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I think we are battling up-hill while everyone else has a gentle downward slope.

We are fighting just to gain the attention and respect of the very customers we serve on a daily basis. Once we get the culture to come around, things will be easier, I think.
Does anyone know if the SCAA or BGA is working on something similar to a universal fundamental certification?
Barista is gender neutral. Yes, I am positive.
No, there should not.

No group - especially one that you pay into - should dictate the standards of serving beverages... let alone the multi-faceted realm of coffee.

With the ever growing plethora of roasters, shops, farms, brew equip. companies, etc. etc. etc.
The LAST thing that baristas, 'spro slingers, or coffee techs need is a small portion of individuals dictating standards and recipe.
That is a sure-fire way to create stagnation in a field where growth is essential to success.


We're not steel workers who's daily decisions on how we operate mean the difference between life or death.
Who's to say the way a barista prepares drinks in Taiwan should be done just the same way in Chicago?
I thought the idea was to be different than Starbucks...

We serve coffee... why pigeon-hole that simple fact into an elitist position of hoity-toity-ness?

I can understand distinguishing oneself from the Mc-Baristas of the consumerist world of coffee...
but to deem authority to organization(s) to determine a fundamental 'barista certification' undermines the years of independent work that so many of our peers have taken upon themselves to discover.
I think you misunderstood.

They're not dictated to anyone at all. They are requirements of being a member, and thus, if you are a member, customers can expect a certain level of quality.

Parameters need not be as precise as most believe. They just need to exist.
I think there are enough certifications that the public already knows about that are much more important to them than (and I apologize to repeat myself) those that are determined by a group you pay into.

like the health code certification; which, yes, one pays for - but it has something meaningful to the public backing it, ie; the State.

I've never been asked by a customer in nearly 6 years as a barista if I've been certified as a "barista" by the shop that I worked at - let alone if I've been certified by the SCAA or if I was a member of the BGA...

Besides - a generalization of parameters means nothing after you've improved upon them. Which each shop, roaster, and individual can do - and should. So why bother?

People just want their coffee - they want it hot and tasty, and most don't care about the hoops one has jumped through to get it to them, the title one gives themselves or that granted to them by an organization with no backing but the members of which it is comprised.

These certifications really only mean something to other baristas.
So maybe they are a self-gratifying fraternity - but that's not the topic here...
Okay, but you're addressing how things exist now.

I'm worried about progress and how we get the consumers to pay more attention.

As it is, most don't, and there's no reason why they should, as far as they're concerned.
sorry for the "cut & paste" - the Reply to This button on that last post wasn't there...

Jason Haeger said:
"Okay, but you're addressing how things exist now.

I'm worried about progress and how we get the consumers to pay more attention.

As it is, most don't, and there's no reason why they should, as far as they're concerned."

So true.

A gimmicky title like "Slinger" probably won't do that either... that's the facade that keeps ME interested...

I imagine that while one stays consistent and true to their roots; regardless of title, s/he will, with some luck - find their customer base expand and thus more interest in how they run their ship.
I'm kinda old skool - one person at a time.
I think you're right about that: nobody cares about certification but baristas themselves. I don't see any point in changing that, though. Sure, things like "Best of Seattle", "Clover", or "Home of the North American Barista Champion" help, but any consumer of coffee who really cares about coffee doesn't judge a shop by its certifications or memberships or whatnot; they judge the shop on the coffee itself. I'll be cliche and say that it's all in the shots.

Of course, 90% of customers in most shops don't care about coffee. Oh well.
Yeah, I can feel you there.

What I worry about, though, is how do we differentiate the quality from the junk on a less in-depth level?

I think it would be nice for a customer to expect greatness before even walking in the door based on the certification sticker on the shop window.

Sort of like Golden Cup certification. what does it do, really? It just lends a bit of "prestige" in how the customer perceives the business.

We don't have anything like that for Baristas. I think we should.
I suppose this is where competitions and things of that ilk came about from... ?

In terms of the public: this is where we start separating customers from connoisseurs...

those who are in-the-know will seek the best places out - is it our job to proselytize to the public about where they should be going for coffee?

I kind of like the idea of keeping things hidden - that's where my snobbery comes from - don't want to go where "shit's played out, yo"... ;)
This is incorrect.
the word "barista" in spanish means bartender; an office worker might be called an "oficinista." this is not a gendered noun; or rather, there is not two forms of this noun for men and women. I am a Barista, my boss Jenna is a barista, we are all baristas.
if you want to complicate matters further and go with the italian tradition, that MIGHT be different. but I imagine that, since they've got the same word, it works out the same.

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