Coffee Shop Barista Sample Job Interview Questions

Passionate About That Coffee Shop

I can guarantee you what you will be asked in a barista job interview.  First of all, coffee chains like Starbucks or second cup or your local coffeehouse look for people who have a passion for seeing coffee.  So when you walk into that job interview, long before you sell them a cup of coffee, cappuccino or espresso you have to be able to sell them your passion.  So make sure you smile and get excited when you talk about why you like coffee, and why you would like to work in their coffeehouse.  And probably some of the best job interview answers to the question, “why do you want to work here?  Or what makes you qualified for this position?”  Your answer will require you to conduct a little bit of research about that particular coffee shop.  It may be as simple as how long they’ve been in the neighborhood, to some of the community events that they are involved with, or how long you’ve been a customer.  Regardless, you need to convince the coffee shop owner that you are passionate about their store, about coffee and that you’ll make the story better.

Cleanliness Is Next To Godliness

Being obsessed is not usually something that employers look for, unless it is directed in a positive and productive manner.  When it comes to landing a great job in that funky coffee bar an obsession with cleanliness is a good obsession to have.  A great way to answer the typical question of, “what is your weakness?”  A great way to answer that interview question is to say that “I have an obsession with cleanliness”.  Do you know why this is a good answer?  The hiring manager has heard the staple, “my weaknesses I work too hard, I’m in overachiever” about 435 times by the time they’ve interviewed you.  So if you state that your weakness is that you have a session with cleanliness it will be something new and fresh, and something that they will remember you by.  What’s more important is that in the coffee shop business, everyone, that is both employers and customers want a barista who is clean and tidy.  After all you are in the food and beverage business and the customer will be drinking what you have made.  Unless you come to the job interview with Michael Jackson gloves and a mask, the obsession with cleanliness as a weakness answer is an excellent way to respond.

Here are sample Coffee Shop Barista job interview questions designed specifically for the Barista career field.


How do you make a perfect couple of espresso?

What is your experience with operating an espresso machine?

What do you know about micro-roasters?

In this position will need you to be able to handle cash, operate a POS, and complete open and close duties.  How do you think you will manage this?

Do you have any experience with roasting coffee beans?  What type of coffee bean roasters have you worked with?

How do you pride yourself on the details with making coffee?  What method do you follow to make a perfect cup of cappuccino?

Describe your experience with press pots, a pour-over bar and siphon pots. What are the characteristics of coffee made with each method?

Give me an example of a discussion you have had with a fellow Coffee Shop Barista who was not performing their job satisfactorily. What happened?

Do you hold a Department of Health Food Handler’s Certificate?

Different conditions, such as noise, strong fumes/odors, grease or oil, as well as the need to wear safety equipment, affect some workplaces. Tell me about a time when you experienced any of these conditions and how you felt about it. Why?


Have you ever led a meeting in which a participant suggested an inappropriate idea? How did you respond?

Can you think of a time when your standard approach to problem solving didn't produce the desired? What did you do?

Back to Barista Job Interview Questions

Bonus Questions

  • How do you make sure that materials are ready and delivered when a customer/client needs them? Give some example's.
  • How much time does your job require you to commit to outside obligations social, civic, etc.? How have you reacted to this? Give examples.
  • Think of a meeting you recently led. What did you say or do during the meeting? How did it end?

Daily Interview Tip

A phone interview is likely to feel less spontaneous and flexible than a one to one. Some interviewers may well have a set script of questions and while you may feel rushed, at some points, if the interviewer thinks they have the information they need they will want to move on. This is the tricky thing about the telephone interview - you can't judge reactions in the same way as when you are face to face with an interviewer.