I've been to a number of coffee events the last few years and always pay attention to the details when I visit shops or trade events. I've noticed some trends in the barista apparel scene, ranging from spiffy old-school sweater vests and funky hats, to jeans and tees.

Does your coffee shop establish clothing guidelines as part of your company brand?

What regional trends in barista apparel are predominant?

Does what your baristas wear really make a difference in customer perception of your shop?

Do you make barista hiring decisions based on what a potential employee wears to interview?

This is an area I've not seen covered in tradeshows, like the restaurant industry addresses. Is it because there's a "counter-culture" attitude?

 

Image from The Sparkyman blog

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jeans a black tee shirt and an apron (one that covers your legs only and not your upper body)
I know I get a good feeling about the quality of coffee I'm going to get if I walk into a place where people have current fashion. It has no reasoning behind it, It's just something I've experienced. So far I've noticed it to be consistant, when I walk into a place where I see "hipsters" (possibly slimmer jeans, button up shirt, skinny tie or suspenders as an example) majority of the time I do get better coffee, majority of the time though they are in the higher end cafe's. I don't like to judge based on appearance like that, but whether I like to do it or not, I do do it, I can't help it. We don't have a dress code here, or anything but most of our employees do dress very current. We're considering starting a more professional "uniform" only being specific aprons, and cloths, also that would be for staff on bar only.
On the cool side....    and not to be mean or rude, but I never get the warm fuzzy feeling about a coffee shop that has an older woman (58+ years of age) and that woman is sporting a Christmas sweater, or something like that.  Or when that person is warring a shirt that says "I love making crafts".   In my experience, those places almost always have pretty bad coffee.
there's one of those in my home town, tamp's built in to the grinder and grounds sit all day, espresso's 5 oz with i'd guess 21g grounds...

Matthew said:
On the cool side....    and not to be mean or rude, but I never get the warm fuzzy feeling about a coffee shop that has an older woman (58+ years of age) and that woman is sporting a Christmas sweater, or something like that.  Or when that person is warring a shirt that says "I love making crafts".   In my experience, those places almost always have pretty bad coffee.
So..  I would say [Holiday Sweater = Bad Coffee]
Coffee=art. Artists have style. There's so much of an aesthetic to coffee that goes beyond the technical aspect, and left-brainers just don't get it. In my experience, anyway.
Great responses, folks. Is there a way to (pardon, but curious) categorize the different looks? [yes I'm going down this thread intentionally]

I'm still looking for fun clothes to wear that won't show off coffee stains like crazy, and won't force me to wear nothing but black. I never realized how many lightly colored items I had until I started as a barista.

I'd say yes, and I'd say it's very closely linked to music. You can, if you don't feel guilty about stereotyping place peoples visual styles most of the time into a musical genre. We quite often refer to one of the guys here as being very metal, (usually black metal just because it makes him giggle like a little school girl.) But he's got very long hair and looks like he'd fit into a band like Amon Amarth. I'd put myself in a bluegrass jazz mix. I wear chords most of the time with a western style button up and suspenders. I know I pretty much describe a hipster for me, I'll say it I am one, moustache and all. With more current high fashions it's harder, If you go onto a blog like street peeper or something it's more difficult to pin, but you could always just label that as trend.

 

And to Amber it's very possible to wear light clothes to work you just need to be careful about it. I quite often wear white shirts. The occasional accident does happen. But if you have a strict cleanliness routine for yourself on bar it's not a problem. I'm extremely anal about it myself I have way too many cleaning cloths. And If your not working with one already a timer for the grinder is one of the best things you can do in every way. Having a dosed system keeps things a million times cleaner, as if your ending up with grounds on the counter and what not it simply means your doses aren't consistent. Where as if you have to manually grind each shot you might get it right on but you might end up with waste. I don' worry about what colour I wear, I wear alot of dressier items, but I have a system that keeps me clean.

Jeffrey J Kingman said:

Great responses, folks. Is there a way to (pardon, but curious) categorize the different looks? [yes I'm going down this thread intentionally]

Makes good sense. I've just started at a "trained-monkey" kind of coffee cart, automatic grinder/doser, automatic shot timer, so a lot of the mess is just rookie mistakes, I think. Your point about a clean bar making the difference in having a clean shirt is great.

Since most of the shifts will be by myself, I can get a routine going that works for me. And, I can spend time figuring out what tastes good, and how much difference pulling the shots before the timer stops the flow makes. Everybody's got to start somewhere. Thank goodness for this site! Without it, I wouldn't even know what difference steamed milk temperature makes!

 

BTW, even here in Wyoming, where hipsters are few and far between, the baristas typically dress hipster-style (but less of the western-type, since that would just be normal-people-wear around here!). That typically means cute accessories, skinny jeans, and fashion-forward hair, for girls.

Casey Loseth said:

And to Amber it's very possible to wear light clothes to work you just need to be careful about it. I quite often wear white shirts. The occasional accident does happen. But if you have a strict cleanliness routine for yourself on bar it's not a problem. I'm extremely anal about it myself I have way too many cleaning cloths. And If your not working with one already a timer for the grinder is one of the best things you can do in every way. Having a dosed system keeps things a million times cleaner, as if your ending up with grounds on the counter and what not it simply means your doses aren't consistent. Where as if you have to manually grind each shot you might get it right on but you might end up with waste. I don' worry about what colour I wear, I wear alot of dressier items, but I have a system that keeps me clean.

 

Wyomin! I grew up in Helena MT and my last visit there was very surprised to find three S*Bux!
I'm in a similar situation, I live in northern Saskatchewan, far enough north to see northern lights and sun-dogs. I'm sure I can count the number of hipsters out here on one hand. But I'm from the west coast and so brought my style with me.

Amber Nordvik said:

Makes good sense. I've just started at a "trained-monkey" kind of coffee cart, automatic grinder/doser, automatic shot timer, so a lot of the mess is just rookie mistakes, I think. Your point about a clean bar making the difference in having a clean shirt is great.

Since most of the shifts will be by myself, I can get a routine going that works for me. And, I can spend time figuring out what tastes good, and how much difference pulling the shots before the timer stops the flow makes. Everybody's got to start somewhere. Thank goodness for this site! Without it, I wouldn't even know what difference steamed milk temperature makes!

 

BTW, even here in Wyoming, where hipsters are few and far between, the baristas typically dress hipster-style (but less of the western-type, since that would just be normal-people-wear around here!). That typically means cute accessories, skinny jeans, and fashion-forward hair, for girls.

Casey Loseth said:

And to Amber it's very possible to wear light clothes to work you just need to be careful about it. I quite often wear white shirts. The occasional accident does happen. But if you have a strict cleanliness routine for yourself on bar it's not a problem. I'm extremely anal about it myself I have way too many cleaning cloths. And If your not working with one already a timer for the grinder is one of the best things you can do in every way. Having a dosed system keeps things a million times cleaner, as if your ending up with grounds on the counter and what not it simply means your doses aren't consistent. Where as if you have to manually grind each shot you might get it right on but you might end up with waste. I don' worry about what colour I wear, I wear alot of dressier items, but I have a system that keeps me clean.

 

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