Being a barista is by no means easy. The whole process which goes into taking on such a role can be complex and even stressful. Learning how to make each coffee is the first hurdle; trying to remember what goes into a cortado, a latte, a cappuccino.
There are so many different things to bear in mind: how many shots of espresso, how much milk (if any at all), which glass or cup to use, how to present each drink. The list can get pretty long. Combine this with the busy nature of most coffee shops and you have yourself a pretty intense situation. So, it is important to appreciate the skills that baristas have to acquire and the challenges they often face in their career. Along with these technical hurdles, a job as a barista also presents a lot of physical challenges.
Fatigue, back and wrist aches, sore legs and feet, are all symptoms of a busy employee in a hospitality setting. I myself have experienced many of these working in the customer service industry, and it can get pretty overwhelming pretty quickly. I remember times when it would hurt to walk simply because I’d been on my feet for seven hours straight. Many people choose to look down on hospitality jobs, branding them as menial or as having a low skill setting. However, in all the endeavours I have taken on in my life, working in the hospitality industry has by far been the most intense and physically demanding. And I am certainly not the only one who feels this way.
When asked a series of questions relating to physical stress while working as a barista, quite a few people confirmed that it is definitely a legitimate trend in the industry. One former barista claimed they would experience neck ache from constantly looking down while making drinks, while also experiencing leg ache from being on their feet for so long. Another current barista claimed that they often suffer from fatigue at the end of a shift as well as lower back ache. They also spoke of feeling overwhelmed during busy periods as it feels like the waves of customers would never end. A third told us that they even suffered from repetitive muscle strain at one point, having to use heat packs on their back and ankles after long days. All of the interviewees also mentioned that coffee shops offer little support to their employees when it comes to physical strain.
That is why we have decided to highlight a series of articles relating to different barista injuries. We believe it is important to raise awareness about the physical strain many baristas go through in the hustle and bustle of the hospitality industry. Below are some of the best articles out there that we could find on barista injuries.
Quick Ways to Prevent and Treat Barista Shoulder Pain:
- For The Love of Coffee: Work Injuries Among Baristas:
- “Barista Wrist” the leading cause of injuries in the restaurant trade:
- Confessions of an Overworked Barista:
- The Ergonomics for a Barista: