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?


Why have you been out of work so long?

Sometimes supervisors' evaluations differ from ours. When has this happened to you? What did you do? What do you consider the most important contributions your department has made to the organization? What was your role? Give examples.

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Bonus Questions

  • Tell me about a time when you missed a deadline in our job. Why was the deadline missed? What did you do?
  • When if ever have you delayed decisions to give more thought to the situation? What is the longest you have delayed?
  • How did you reach goals you have set so far?

Daily Interview Tip

If you get a tough question, be aware that they may be pushing you to answer as part of their interview technique. Also write down a couple of pre-prepared questions to ask the interviewer, and a note to yourself to remind you to ask for two things at the end of your interview: the business card of your interviewer, and a timeframe for a hiring decision. Both of these will help later on if you need to find out about the status of your application. Demonstrate your ability to prioritize and your understanding of the employers needs by selecting the information about you of most interest to them. Briefly touch on your experience related to the job.