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When your station is in disarray it’s hard to make your customer feel at ease. It’s crucial to be on top of your game and in control of your work station. Having an efficient and clean espresso bar and station is crucial to exceptional customer service. Meaning steam wands, espresso machine, and any spillage is cleaned in a timely manner.
Always check, and then double-check your barista station at the start of your shift:

Cleaning Tips

Ensure that proper health and hygiene practices are followed at all times. Professionals thrive in a clean and tidy working area. Cleanliness enhances your coffee shop’s image.

  • Keep the coffee machine and the surrounding counters clean at all times.
  • Smoothie station should never have fruit or sherbet residue on the freezer
  • Make sure all syrups are consistently being wiped down to ensure a clean working area
  • Fridges cannot be littered with leftover food from employees over night
  • Everyone should be cleaning up after themselves.

Designated Cleaning Towels

Having bar towels that are designated for specific surfaces ensures that you won’t use them for the wrong tasks. Using your cloths for the wrong tasks is a quick way to cross-contaminate.

Bar towel designation:

  • One for the steam wand
  • One for drying portafilters
  • One bar/counter cloth
  • Have spare cloths close-by as replacements.

Sweeping Brushes

  • One to sweep excess coffee grinds off of various surfaces around your barista station.
  • One for sweeping/cleaning the inside of the grinder

Tip: A small brush will be more effective in cleaning coffee grinds out from your grinder. A larger brush will be more suited to coffee grinds on your counter.


An eye for detail is the best quality you can cultivate as a barista. If you want to work quickly and efficiently you need to know where everything is on your bar.

  • The milk steaming side should have a clear work counter where you prep drinks for serving.
  • Ensure there is ample working space in front of the machine for pouring the coffees.
  • Milk should always be kept cold, in the fridge, when not in use.
  • Keep clean cloths next to each steam wand and wipe them down after every use. When not in use the cloths should be neatly folded.

Grinder Process Setup

  • Dial in your shots. Do this as soon as you walk behind the bar.
  • Grinder hoppers must be full or ¾ full at all times. Fill your grinder up before you have to because more often you’ll find your grinder empty at the worst times.
  • Any excess coffee bean stock must be stored in a room temperature, dry place. Make sure this place is easily accessible from the barista station.
  • When choosing coffees to use, start with the ones with the oldest roast date. A “first in first out” policy will ensure you don’t end up having to throw away old coffee beans.


Fresh Milk

  • When it comes to milk the “first in first out” policy is even more important.
  • Rotate your milk stock, using the oldest first, so that you never find yourself steaming milk that has gone bad.
  • Milk must be packed into the fridges as soon as it is delivered so as not to compromise the quality and for health reasons.
  • Fridges must be thoroughly cleaned on a regular basis. This includes the door seals which should be washed properly during a weekly deep-clean.
  • Keep your fridge fully stocked.
  • Do not leave milk out of the fridge when using to make drinks at the espresso machine. Room temperature milk does not steam correctly and goes bad quickly.
  • Never re heat milk

Think about how to encourage better work flow. Every coffee shop is a little different and has it’s own quirks. So it’s important to think about how to improve work flow at your location.


Every cup of coffee you make is an opportunity to improve as a barista so be sure that everything is where it should be so that you can focus on making and serving that delicious cup every time.


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