Matthew's Foray into Blogging

Monday, July 18, 2005

What is the Masculine Form of “Barista”?

Since employment in the legal field has been so elusive for me, the possibility of attempting to find work outside the legal profession has entered my mind. I have entertained thoughts of taking a position at a coffee shop (if such an establishment would even have me). However, I wondered, what would I be called if I made coffee at Starbucks or It’s a Grind (besides someone who could not find a job as a lawyer)? The term “barista,” which refers to someone who serves coffee in a coffee shop, sounds like the feminine form of the word. A “barrister,” which sounds more masculine, and which is spelled with two r’s, is the British term for a lawyer. I found the answer at Wikipedia.
Since approximately 1990, the term barista (the Italian word for bartender - masculine or feminine; plural: baristi (masculine) or bariste (feminine)) has been used in English to denote a professional maker of espresso coffee beverages. Prior to that time, the less elegant prevailing term was “espresso puller.” The shift of terminology probably comes, at least in part, from the fact that most espresso machines manufactured since the 1980s no longer require pulling down on a big handle.

Currently, the definition can range from an unskilled “person behind the counter,” all the way to a “coffee sommelier,” with years of experience and training.

From Wikipedia, “the free encyclopedia.” Although I could call myself a barista, I would just be a “person behind the counter.” However, I could attend the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe Advanced Barista Training and join the Barista Guild of America. Perhaps with “years of experience and training,” I could achieve the status of “coffee sommelier.” Or I could continue in my search for a job as a lawyer.


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