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Changing Market

With joining the European Union, Hungary has to face an opening coffee market and a rising competition in the HORECA segment. Players of this segment of the market have to prepare for the arrival of new competitors. New coffee brands are appearing, new places are opening, and the expectations of consumers concerning the variety and quality of their coffee are higher each day.

In this new market environment, the only way for players of the HORECA segment to keep and strengthen their position is by raising the quality and expanding the variety of their products. In order to make the most profit out of selling coffee, one needs high quality products, well-maintained machinery and well-skilled staff. The quality of the final product is largely dependent on the personal factors.

The Barista

There are a few unique areas of gastronomy that had been highly neglected in Hungary until the 90s, when the world of wines and cocktails, for example, was rediscovered. This is when the professions of the sommelier and the mixer reappeared on the map of Hungarian gastronomy. As the latest tendency, one can hear more and more about the "barista" as the name for a coffee specialist working behind the bar counter.

The word itself is of Italian origin, and simply means bartender. In the 70s and 80s, the espresso fad in the United States gave all of a sudden a high prestige to those skilled in espresso technology. Barista is the name, ever since, for bartenders well-skilled in espresso technology, making espresso-based drinks.

A barista is somewhat comparable to both the sommelier and the mixer. A mixer works predominantly behind the bar counter, his job is mixing drinks, he is in immediate contact with the guests. A sommelier knows the origin of wines, the different procedures and the relationship of certain meals to certain wines. The work area of a barista is more similar to that of a mixer, while the knowledge of the substances a barista must possess, is more like that of a sommelier. A barista is a little bit of an engineer as well, as occasionally he needs to control more than one grinders and coffee machines. Besides, the marketing of the product itself is often the job of the barista.

The profession of the barista had existed in our country about a hundred years ago, even if it took a somewhat different shape. At the time when Budapest was called "Coffee-city", we had coffee-waiter schools which required long years of learning and experience. Today, taking international trends into consideration, we expect that a rennaissance of cafés and coffee houses is ahead. In a country rediscovering the experience of drinking coffee, after centuries of coffee house tradition, we believe that the barista profession will soon become an indispensable part of the life of gastronomy.