Well, maybe make espresso at home once in a while, you won't miss it. However, suppose you start making several different types of coffee, cappuccino, latte, a long cup of coffee, one by one, one detail after another. In that case, if you don’t have all the tools on hand, the workflow will be interrupted.
To achieve this goal, there is nothing better than a barista apron, which is equipped with all the necessary accessories to make every cup of your coffee a work of art.
Some daily cleaning supplies, such as barista towels, need to be hung on your apron and always be handy because hygiene regulations usually require them to be used not after preparation but during preparation.
In short: the apron is one of the compliments you can't miss in your barista equipment kit, just like many other professionals can't do their jobs without working clothes. In many cases, the barista apron will be your only uniform.
On this page, we will learn more about this exciting costume, what a barista apron is, and most importantly, where you should learn how to choose your barista apron wisely.
Uses of barista aprons
What's the use of a barista apron? Well, in short: do your job better. The better the tool, the better the assignment: this maxim can always be fulfilled.
- Your barista tools and accessories are always at your fingertips, thanks to the pockets and hooks on the apron for professional comfort.
- Avoid spilling coffee or milk on casual clothes for hygiene and cleanliness when preparing drinks.
- For aesthetics: if you "don't know" about the work you do, you will always leave a better impression on your clients and guests.
Most of the models we find on the market, and the models you can evaluate on this page are multi-purpose aprons suitable for hotels and catering companies that can be used in different establishments. There is no standard definition of a barista apron.
What should the barista's apron have?
As we have already said, the barista apron is not categorized or has specific characteristics. We can still point out some of the details it should have or the elements we find in most of the works we use in professional environments.
- Color: Specialty coffee shops and places that focus on coffee places with an evident aesthetic, and black or white aprons are not suitable for them. When you buy a barista apron, you will usually find warmer colors such as black, chocolate, brown, or denim shades. Beige is more challenging to find because of its clarity. However, we insist that this is not a practical problem as it is a trend.
- Pocket: The main advantage of the professional barista apron is that you can always prepare the cleaning and grooming tools for the drink on hand. For this, your apron needs to have pockets and hooks, if possible, at the torso level rather than on the sides.
- High-quality materials: instead of more fragile and dirty fabrics, exposure to splash makes it recommended to use more durable materials, such as leather or denim.
- Size: Avoid using short aprons (i.e., aprons below the waist) because your entire chest will be exposed to stains and coffee splashes.
Many models of aprons for cafeteria and hotel businesses can be used for this purpose and make the barista dress more elegant. However, the barista can still work in a regular uniform without an apron. Or even use ordinary hotel and catering aprons, such as any apron made of fabric.
Original choice: Barista denim apron (denim fabric)
We can't say absolutely the best apron for baristas, because the quality of all these models are similar and everyone's needs may change. However, there is a viral trend in this field: barista aprons made of denim.
They do not have any practical advantages, but only for aesthetic taste. In our opinion, the best look is for those who combine denim with leather accessories.
The story behind Starbucks' iconic green apron
In 75 countries/regions around the world, the green apron is the logo of Starbucks, symbolizing the warm welcome and professional coffee craftsmanship of more than 300,000 baristas wearing a green apron every day.
But where did the apron come from? Why do some baristas wear black aprons? Where in the world are partners wearing orange aprons?
From the first day Starbucks opened in Seattle’s Pike Place Market in 1971, this apron has been a part of it. Its employees wear simple brown grocery aprons. This is a practical uniform for these coffee experts, the same color as the original alarm sign and the whole bean coffee they weigh and scoop every day.
William Stiles worked as a part-time clerk at the Starbucks Capitol Hill store in 1982 and arrived a few months before executive chairman Howard Schultz joined the company.
"When I started, we only had four stores, and we were wearing shorts and flip-flops," Stiles said. "I remember the first time I grind a bag of coffee beans. The sensory overload of the coffee aroma was intoxicating. I just liked it. This is the coolest thing I have ever done."
In 1987, Starbucks began offering artisan coffee and espresso beverages in 17 locations inspired by Italian cafes. These first baristas wore new aprons-now green and with the company's updated logo and refreshing white shirts and black bow ties in the style of their Italian counterparts. Classical music and instrumental jazz are played in a loop overhead.
Timothy Jones started working at Starbucks and soon managed the University Village store in the same year.
"At that time, there were only six glasses of wine, and you couldn't order more. The idea was to let people brew at home," Jones said. “In my shop, we sell an average of hundreds of pounds of coffee a week. You can’t buy a pound of coffee in the grocery store like you do today. To sell so much coffee, you need to have a lot of conversations with your customers — I call it Dancing for the waltz. It created a dance floor. This is the foundation of Starbucks-this will not go backward. This is what we are today."
Jones came to Starbucks from a background in the music industry. He quickly took over the programming of store music and started experimenting. Eventually, he created the sound of Starbucks and defined the genre of cafes with a combination of fast-paced artists.
"At first, I kept instrumental jazz, but I added some vocals such as Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, and Ray Charles," Jones said. "Next, you know I'm playing some Chicago blues and reggae music. I've been expecting Howard to walk in the door and ask, ‘what are you doing?’ But he never did."
By the time Starbucks became a public company in 1992, the atmosphere in the store was more relaxed, with baristas wearing aprons with company renewal logos and occasional ties. Employees are now called "partners" of the company, sharing the company's success through stock options.
Michelle Dougherty, who works in Starbucks' retail business, was a barista in San Jose, California, in the 1990s.
"As early as when I started, we didn't even write on the cups. We determined a drink by placing each cup on the espresso machine," Dougherty said.
At that time, the dress code was more straightforward.
"We wore green aprons in white, black, and khaki," she said. "I remember that your top must always be the same color. You can't wear a black polo shirt and white underneath. When we put on jeans and tie-dye shirts, we were very excited about the 25th anniversary."
In the early 1990s, Starbucks introduced the black apron as a memorable name for its coffee knowledge-certified partners, which later became the current partner coffee master program. In 1997, Starbucks' first red holiday cups came out, and each store (there were about 1,400 at the time) received two red aprons for partners who were tasting Christmas mixed drinks or stock products.
Over the years, the apron has become a milestone for celebrations and recognizes the contributions of partners. Unique embroidered aprons with American flags celebrate veterans and military spouses, and Starbucks University Achievement Program graduates will receive a green apron embroidered with plasterboard. In a Malaysian store dedicated to providing employment opportunities for deaf partners, baristas wear embroidered with the word "Starbucks" in sign language.
Over the years, colorful changes have also continued to emerge, such as the special orange apron designed by the Netherlands to celebrate King’s Day. Others include the light blue apron used to launch Frappuccino Happy Hour and the rare purple apron designed for the barista champion.
The dress code has also changed, including more freedom of expression and a comprehensive range of colors and patterns.
“We truly embrace diversity while staying true to who we are,” said Dougherty, part of the operations team leading the evolution of the dress code.
"You can see this in our partners every day."