Anyone know of any good sources online to track wages for a high level barista? My cafe is looking to stay on top of this for our truly dedicated, artisan barasti - i.e. professionals with 3+ years of experience. Are benefits standard at that point? If this sounds like you, are you comfortable sharing your current wage?

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Depends on how many other cafes are around other than Starbucks. There is absolutely no problem actually asking Baristas from other cafes what they earn. Some will tell and some won't but I'll tell you that I know I always made at least two dollars over minimum.
When I worked in a college town, I know that with experience we generally made $1-$2 above minimum wage starting out, then moved up with periodic reviews. Now that I'm back home in a smaller town, wages tend to be a bit lower for all jobs. The few independent ones around tend to pay more, but it depends on location, client population, and traffic.
It totally depends on where you are and cost of living. It also depends on what the average tip haul is. I've worked places where I made less than eight bucks an hour, but I would also take in at least 40 dollars in tips on a six hour shift. I didn't complain. At Coal Creek, we offer benefits to any full time barista who has been with the company for three months. Check with your municipal or county offices, sometimes they will calculate a "living wage" that takes into account things like gas, groceries and housing costs locally. Check out You should pay at least that (and it doesn't include student loan payments or beer money!). Otherwise, look in the help wanted, what can the people in your target demographic get paid elsewhere in your area for skilled labor/craft jobs?

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