Twitter for Baristas

Nine Bars

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It’s no secret that Twitter—that media enterprise that keeps things short and sweet—can be an invaluable tool for marketing coffee and tea. Retailers, roasters, wholesale companies, green buyers, tea blenders, and beverage bloggers are just a few of the individuals and entities using Twitter to their advantage. For baristas, the benefits of a strong profile and thoughtful Twitter interactions are many, from showing off your latte art skills to promoting your café, and raising funds for professional projects.

To be involved on Twitter is to take part in a vital conversation. When it comes to coffee and tea that conversation is constant, with enthusiasts across the globe brewing, imbibing, and sharing their passions for these drinks around the clock. Baristas who are members of that ongoing discussion are able to retain relevance, stay top of mind, and keep informed in a changing industry.

We talked to Emily McIntyre, coffee and tea writer, barista, and Fresh Cup contributor, about how she uses Twitter to its fullest. She says, “Twitter allows a new barista in Anacoco, Louisiana, to ask a World Barista Champion a coffee question, or contribute a valid perspective to a worldwide debate.” But there is a bevy of rewards beyond lightning-speed connection to one’s colleagues. Here are a few tips for getting the most of this digital hub:

Education
Some of the greatest minds in coffee and tea are active on Twitter. Whether you’re getting linked in to Oliver Strand’s latest article on third wave or checking the dates for Jane Pettigrew’s next Master Class, there is always something learn from a Twitter feed populated by leaders in their industries. Pick up tips from other baristas, learn about coffee culture in other countries, stay active in the Barista Guild, and even get recommendations for delicious micro-lot coffee or second flush Darjeeling.

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Promotion
Whatever anyone says, Twitter is very much about being seen and heard. We all have something to promote, whether it’s ourselves, our employer, or a cause we’re passionate about. For barista, it might be the cafés they work at. There are plenty of ways—like posting good-looking beverage photos and tweeting menu specials—to boost foot traffic (and tips) through actively tweeting. Or maybe you do want to promote yourself, or rather, establish your expertise, so that when destiny comes looking for that next great roasting apprentice, you’re top of mind. Or maybe you’re a barista with a plan—and what you need is start-up capital. If so, and in general, good rule for Twitter is to give more than you receive.

“Re-tweets and sharing others’ content is essential, as is interacting with others in a value-adding way,” says Emily. Tweets should be thoughtful, friendly, and genuine. Too much self-promotion is off-putting, and won’t inspire new followers or re-tweets. The more followers you do build up, the more momentum your Kickstarter will have when it comes time to buy that new coffee truck, or your first Loring.

Stay tuned for the next column on the barista’s role on Twitter.

—Regan Crisp is Fresh Cup’s associate editor.