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Barista Salary in 2024: A Comprehensive Guide

How Much Does a Barista Make in the United States?

The average salary for a Barista in the United States is base plus tips per month or $37,839 base plus tips per year, according to the most recent data averaged from Glassdoor, Indeed and ZipRecruiter.

Average Barista Base Salary:
What can I earn as a Barista?Your salary is 0 the US national average
$18.19
$18.19
18.19

The average hourly wage for a Barista is $18.19 base plus tips.

Tips form a significant part of a Barista’s overall earnings. While the amount is left to the customers’ discretion, customers typically tip between 15% and 20% of the total bill.

In some cases, coffee shops may have a tip jar or a system for tipping when paying with credit or debit cards.

Annual Mean Wage of Baristas by State

[Calculated using Glassdoor, Indeed, ZipRecruiter, Salary.com and Talent.com data]

This map is interactive. Hover your mouse over different parts of the map to see detailed data. 

The annual earnings for Baristas can significantly vary across different states due to multiple factors.

For example, in states with high living expenses like Massachusetts or New York, Baristas may command higher wages to keep up with the cost of living.

Conversely, Baristas might have relatively modest salaries in states with lower living costs such as Oklahoma or Iowa.

Furthermore, states famous for their tourist attractions or lively entertainment districts, like California or Florida, may offer more competitive wages to entice skilled Baristas, especially during peak season.

Are Barista salaries keeping up with living costs in your area?

Factors That Affect Average Barista Salary

Aside from geographic location, several other factors influence the average Barista salary:

Experience and Expertise

Baristas with extensive experience and honed skills tend to command higher salaries. This is because their proficiency in crafting coffee and understanding customer preferences adds significant value to the establishment.

Educational Background and Training

Baristas who have pursued additional certifications, attended specialized courses or participated in Barista competitions often have a competitive edge in negotiating higher salaries. Such qualifications demonstrate a commitment to excellence and mastery in the field.

Type of Establishment

The nature of the coffee shop or establishment where a Barista works can greatly impact their earnings. For example, Baristas employed in upscale cafes or specialty coffee shops typically receive higher compensation compared to those working in chain coffee outlets or fast-food joints.

Barista establishments

Shift Flexibility

Baristas willing to work flexible hours, including early mornings, late evenings and weekends or holidays, may receive additional pay incentives.

Performance and Customer Engagement

Exceptional customer service skills, coupled with the ability to consistently deliver top-notch coffee experiences, often translate into performance-based bonuses or salary increments. Baristas who excel in engaging with customers and creating a welcoming atmosphere contribute significantly to customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Benefits and Perks

Beyond the base salary, the overall compensation package, including benefits like health insurance, paid time off or retirement plans, plays a crucial role in attracting and retaining talented Baristas. Employers who offer comprehensive benefits packages tend to attract a higher caliber of Barista talent.

Negotiation Skills

Candidates who possess strong negotiation skills and advocate for their own value may have the opportunity to secure higher salaries either during the hiring process or during performance reviews.

Tips

In addition to base wages, Baristas often receive tips from customers. Tips can significantly supplement a Barista’s income, especially in establishments where tipping is common.

Similarly to other service-oriented industries, it’s customary to consider tipping around 15% to 20% on coffee, especially for specialty drinks like lattes, cold brews, cappuccinos and custom-made beverages requiring extra attention to detail. For drip coffee, it’s generally considered polite to leave at least a $1 tip.

The amount of tips can vary based on factors such as the location of the coffee shop, the quality of service provided and the generosity of customers.

coffee tips

Barista Salary in Major US Cities

Among these four major U.S. cities, New York City is the top-paying city for Baristas, followed by Los Angeles, Chicago and Miami.

Miami

Annual mean wage

$28,998

New York City

Annual mean wage

$36,735

Chicago

Annual mean wage

$36,686

Los Angeles

Annual mean wage

$38,486

[Calculated using Indeed, ZipRecruiter, Salary.com, Glassdoor and Talent.com data]

High-Paying Cities for Baristas

CityAvg SalaryAvg Hourly Wage
Chicago, IL36,68617.64
Los Angeles, CA38,48618.50
Miami, FL28,99813.94
NYC, NY36,73517.66

Average Barista Salary by State

Baristas in the District of Columbia, Oregon and California earn the highest average salaries, while those in Georgia, Michigan and Mississippi earn the lowest.

StateAvg. Salary
District of Columbia $39,521
Oregon $37,984
California $37,933
Massachusetts$37,635
Hawaii$36,965
Washington$36,961
Maine$36,262
Rhode Island$36,007
Alaska$35,732
Maryland$35,612
New Jersey$35,303
New Hampshire$35,271
Colorado$35,002
New York$34,212
Vermont$33,976
Illinois$33,203
Montana$32,503
Connecticut$32,351
Minnesota$32,118
Virginia$31,879
North Dakota$31,790
Michigan$31,766
Florida$31,653
North Carolina$31,513
Nevada$31,392
New Mexico$31,311
Delaware$31,122
South Dakota$30,927
Arizona$30,910
South Carolina$30,845
Wisconsin$30,735
Kentucky$30,707
Pennsylvania$30,492
Missouri $30,321
Arkansas $30,314
Ohio$29,858
Alabama$29,359
Tennessee$29,284
Utah$29,248
Idaho$29,182
Wyoming$29,163
Texas $29,139
Nebraska$28,943
Indiana$28,668
Iowa $28,067
Georgia$28,046
Kansas$28,027
Oklahoma$27,834
West Virginia$26,816
Louisiana $25,433
Mississippi$23,755

 

Non-Monetary Benefits and Perks for Baristas

Apart from their salary, Baristas might enjoy a variety of non-monetary perks and benefits aimed at enhancing job satisfaction, fostering work-life balance and supporting professional growth.    Here are some typical non-monetary perks and benefits that they may receive:

  • Flexible scheduling: Many coffee shops offer Baristas flexible scheduling options, allowing them to adjust their work hours around personal commitments and preferences.
  • Professional development opportunities: Baristas may have access to professional development opportunities, such as attending coffee industry events, workshops or training sessions to enhance their skills and knowledge.
  • Employee discounts: Baristas may receive discounts on coffee, food or merchandise sold at the coffee shop.
  • Healthcare benefits: Some employers offer comprehensive healthcare benefits, including medical, dental and vision insurance coverage, to support the health and well-being of their Baristas.
  • Paid time off (PTO) and vacation days: Baristas typically receive paid time off, including vacation days and sick leave, allowing them to take breaks and recharge when needed.
  • Retirement savings plan: Many employers provide access to a retirement savings plan, such as a 401(k) plan, to help Baristas save for their future financial security.
  • Recognition programs: Coffee shops may implement recognition programs to acknowledge the hard work and contributions of Baristas, with incentives like employee of the month awards or performance bonuses.
  • Uniform allowance or reimbursement: Some coffee shops offer Baristas a uniform allowance or reimbursement to cover the cost of purchasing and maintaining their work uniforms.
  • Gym memberships: Some employers, especially those with a wellness-oriented approach, may offer Baristas access to gym memberships.
  • Wellness programs: Coffee shops may implement wellness programs aimed at promoting employee health and well-being. These programs could include activities such as yoga classes, meditation sessions or nutrition workshops, providing Baristas with tools and resources to enhance their overall wellness.

According to Statista, these are the benefits employees change jobs for:

[Source: Statista]
This chart is interactive. Hover your mouse over different parts of the chart to see detailed data. 

 

Top 5 Skills Needed for Baristas

To excel at their job, Baristas must possess a diverse skill set tailored to meet the demands of the fast-paced coffee environment. Here are the top five skills of successful Baristas:

1. Espresso Brewing

Mastery of the espresso machine is essential. Baristas should be skilled at pulling shots, adjusting grind settings and managing extraction times to consistently produce high-quality espresso.

In YouTube video below, you can see how Boram Um, the world’s best Barista, makes espresso:

2. Milk Steaming and Latte Art

Baristas need to skillfully steam milk to create creamy textures for lattes, cappuccinos and other espresso-based drinks. Moreover, proficiency in latte art adds a touch of elegance to beverages, enhancing customer satisfaction and aesthetic appeal.

3. Customer Service

Exceptional customer service is key to fostering positive experiences and building customer loyalty. Baristas should possess strong communication skills, attentiveness and the ability to engage with customers in a friendly and welcoming way.

4. Product Knowledge

A comprehensive understanding of different types of coffee beans, brewing methods and flavor profiles is essential for guiding customers through menu options, making recommendations and answering questions about different coffee offerings.

top 5 skills for baristas

5. Time Management and Multitasking

In a bustling coffee shop, Baristas must efficiently manage their time and multitask to handle various tasks simultaneously, such as taking orders, preparing beverages and maintaining cleanliness and organization in the workspace.

Education Requirements for Baristas

While specific educational criteria may vary depending on the coffee shop and job responsibilities, Baristas typically benefit from a combination of formal education and practical experience in the coffee industry.   Key education requirements for this role include:

  • High school diploma or equivalent: Many barista positions require candidates to have a high school diploma or GED equivalent. This foundational level of education demonstrates basic literacy, numeracy and communication skills essential for success in the role.
  • Coffee-related courses or training: While not always mandatory, completing courses or training programs focused on coffee brewing, espresso techniques and customer service can enhance a candidate’s qualifications for Barista positions.
  • On-the-job training and experience: Practical experience gained through entry-level positions in the coffee industry, such as Barback or Cashier roles, is highly valued by employers when hiring baristas. This hands-on experience provides candidates with a deep understanding of coffee preparation, equipment operation and customer service best practices.
  • Professional certifications: Obtaining industry-recognized certifications, such as the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) Barista Skills Certification, can demonstrate a candidate’s commitment to professional development and enhance their qualifications for barista roles.
  • Continuous learning and self-improvement: Baristas should be proactive in seeking opportunities for ongoing learning and skill development. This may involve attending coffee workshops, participating in barista competitions or staying updated on industry trends and innovations.

Top 5 Organizations That Offer Barista Training Programs

Organization Description
Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) The SCA offers Barista courses at different skill levels, including the Barista Skills Foundation, Intermediate and Professional levels. These courses cover all aspects of barista work, from espresso preparation to latte art and customer service.

Boot Coffee Campus Boot Coffee Campus provides hands-on Barista training workshops and courses at their training facilities in California. Their programs cater to beginners and experienced Baristas, focusing on technical skills, sensory analysis and coffee business management.

Seattle Barista Academy The Seattle Barista Academy offers a variety of Barista training courses designed to develop fundamental and advanced Barista skills. Their programs cover espresso preparation, milk texturing, latte art and coffee shop management.

Counter Culture Coffee Counter Culture Coffee operates training centers across the U.S., offering a range of Barista courses and workshops. Their programs focus on coffee brewing techniques, espresso extraction, milk steaming and sensory analysis.
Barista Guild The Barista Guild, a community-driven organization affiliated with the SCA, offers Barista training workshops and events aimed at promoting excellence and professionalism in the coffee industry. Their courses cover espresso theory, workflow optimization and customer service.

How Much Do Similar Careers to a Barista Get Paid?

Baristas in the U.S. earn more than Barbacks and Waiters but less than Prep Cooks.

Job TitleAverage Salary
Barback
Waiter/Waitress
Prep Cook
Barista Career Progression

Baristas can progress from crafting individual beverages to Shift Supervisors, Assistant Managers and ultimately Café Managers. Each step offers new challenges and opportunities for growth, shaping a fulfilling career.

Barista
Senior Barista
Avg Salary $ 40,250
Shift Supervisor
Avg Salary $ 43,750
Assistant Manager
Avg Salary $ 47,250
Café Manager
Avg Salary $ 52,500
Lead Barista
Avg Salary $ 42,000
Assistant Manager
Avg Salary $ 47,250
Café Manager
Avg Salary $ 52,500
Café Owner
Avg Salary $ 80,000

Labor Laws and Taxes for Baristas

As a Barista, you need to be aware of the minimum wage, overtime pay, leave and tipping policies in your state.

Should establishments provide bonuses or shared profits with employees?

Check out the guides below or view more labor laws:

To easily calculate federal, state and local taxes in your state, use our free Paycheck Calculator.

Paycheck Calculator







Pay breakdown

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Disclaimer: Please note that this paycheck calculator is designed to provide an estimate and should not be considered as professional tax advice. The actual withholding amounts and taxes owed may vary depending on individual circumstances and other factors. For accurate and personalized tax advice, we recommend consulting with a tax professional.

If your gross pay is 0 per in the state of F, your net pay (or take home pay) will be $1,343.17 after tax deductions of 0% (or $ 156.83). Deductions include a total of [1] 0% (or $0.00) for the federal income tax, [2] 0% (or $0.00) for the state income tax, [3] 6.20% (or $0.00) for the social security tax and [4] 1.45% (or $0.00) for Medicare.

The Federal Income Tax is collected by the government and is consistent across all U.S. regions. In contrast, the State Income Tax is levied by the state of residence and work, leading to substantial variations. The Social Security Tax is used to fund Social Security, which benefits retirees, persons with disabilities and survivors of deceased workers. Medicare involves a federal payroll tax designated for the Medicare insurance program. As of 2022, Alaska, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wyoming do not levy a state income tax.

Barista Salary FAQs

Negotiating your salary as a Barista involves several key steps:

  1. Research salary benchmarks in your area to understand the typical range for the Barista position.
  2. Highlight relevant experience and skills, such as customer service, beverage preparation and teamwork.
  3. Approach the negotiation with confidence, emphasizing your value to the team and the company.
  4. Be willing to negotiate beyond just salary. Consider discussing benefits such as paid time off, opportunities for advancement or additional training and development resources that can enhance your overall compensation package
  5. Practice your negotiation points and responses to potential counteroffers beforehand. Anticipate common objections and prepare persuasive arguments to address them effectively.

While it’s not exactly a state, the District of Columbia tends to offer the highest average salaries for Baristas in the United States. This is largely due to the higher cost of living in the nation’s capital, Washington D.C., compared to many other states.

Bonuses or additional compensation for Baristas can vary depending on company policies. Some establishments may offer bonuses based on performance metrics or achieving specific targets, while others may not have such incentives in place.

Experience often correlates with higher salaries for Baristas. Those with more years of experience in the role or the coffee industry generally command higher compensation due to their expertise and demonstrated skills in beverage preparation and customer service.

Baristas may have opportunities for advancement into roles such as Shift Supervisor, Assistant Manager or even Café Manager. Additionally, obtaining additional certifications or developing specialized skills, such as in coffee roasting or brewing techniques, may enhance prospects for salary advancement.

While chain establishments may offer more standardized pay structures or higher salaries due to their larger budgets, independent coffee shops may offer greater flexibility or potential for bonuses.

Yes, seasonal fluctuations in Barista salaries can occur, especially in tourist-heavy areas where business may peak during certain seasons. During high-demand periods, Baristas may receive bonuses or higher compensation to accommodate increased workload and responsibilities.

The earning potential of Baristas and Bartenders can vary depending on factors such as location, employer, experience and tips received.

While both roles offer opportunities for earning tips, the specific compensation may differ based on individual circumstances and industry trends.

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