5 Questions To Ask a Barista Before You Trust Them With Your Drink

Five foolproof questions you can ask your barista to gauge their coffee knowledge, without coming off as a know-it-all. Learn how to decode their expertise on house blends, brewing methods, and more, ensuring your caffeine fix is in capable hands.

Barista in an apron holding out a light blue coffee cup

Last Updated on December 19, 2023

We’ve all been there: You walk into a new coffee shop, and you’re not quite sure if the barista behind the counter is a skilled artisan or a well-meaning novice. How can you determine if they’re worthy of your coffee order without sounding like a know-it-all?

We’ve compiled a list of five friendly, non-confrontational questions to ask a barista that will help you gauge their coffee knowledge and give you the confidence to trust them with your caffeine fix.

Two baristas smiling in anticipation behind a coffee shop counter

1. What’s the House Blend?

A simple yet effective question to kick things off. Asking about the house blend can give you a good sense of the barista’s coffee knowledge.

  • What to look for: A knowledgeable barista should be able to tell you the origin of the beans, the roast level and the flavor profile of the house blend. If they’re able to provide these details, it’s a promising sign that they know their stuff.

2. What’s Your Recommendation for a Drink?

This question not only gives you a chance to share your coffee preferences but also allows the barista to showcase their expertise.

  • What to look for: A well-informed barista should be able to suggest a drink that caters to your taste, demonstrating their understanding of the menu and various coffee styles. Bonus points if they recommend a unique or seasonal specialty!

3. How Do You Make Your Cold Brew?

Barista's hands pouring two cold brews over ice at the same time into separate glasses

Cold brew is all the rage these days, and inquiring about the process can reveal a lot about a barista’s brewing knowledge.

  • What to look for: A good barista should be able to explain the cold brew process, steeping time and any unique aspects of their cafe’s method. If they can discuss the ins and outs of cold brew with ease, it’s a strong indication that they’re well-versed in coffee brewing techniques.

4. Do You Offer Any Single-Origin Coffees or Special Roasts?

Specialty coffee lovers, this one’s for you! Asking about single-origin coffees or unique roasts can help you gauge a barista’s familiarity with coffee nuances.

  • What to look for: If the barista can discuss the flavor notes, origins and brewing methods for these selections, it’s a good sign that they’re knowledgeable and passionate about coffee. Plus, you might discover a new favorite roast in the process!

5. What Brewing Methods Do You Offer for Your Coffee?

Closeup of a barista making coffee using the pour over method

Last but not least, find out about the various brewing methods the cafe offers. This question can give you an idea of the cafe’s dedication to the art of coffee-making.

  • What to look for: A knowledgeable barista should be able to explain the different brewing options, such as pour-over, French press or AeroPress, and how they affect the flavor and body of the coffee. If they can walk you through the various brewing techniques, it’s likely that they’re well-trained and capable of crafting a quality cup of coffee.

Remember, asking these questions in a friendly, genuinely curious manner will help you gain insights into the barista’s expertise without coming across as confrontational. Not only will you be able to trust your barista with your drink, but you might also strike up a fantastic conversation and learn something new about the magical world of coffee. So go forth, coffee connoisseurs, and sip with confidence!


In a coffee world so vast,
Questions for baristas, cast.
Seek the artisan's touch,
In every cup, so much.

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