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Home » How Much Do Baristas Make? (We Update This Info Every Year)

How Much Do Baristas Make? (We Update This Info Every Year)

Maybe you’re considering working in a coffee shop. Or perhaps you want a part-time job while you’re going through school. Or perhaps as a side gig. Regardless, you’re wondering how much baristas make.

The short answer is that baristas make anywhere from the federal minimum wage to $17/hour or higher. Many factors go into how much a barista makes. 

In this article, we dive into those factors to figure it out.

What Is a Barista Pay Per Hour?

Barista pay per hour highly depends on where you live, the type of coffee shop, and the skill level of the barista. The most significant factor, though, is the minimum wage in your area. The federal minimum wage in the United States is still $7.25/hour, but many states have a much higher minimum wage these days (1). And many coffee shops pay baristas higher than minimum wage.

The average hourly pay for a barista is around $12.00. 

That considers different cities, states, shops, and other factors (2). Whether or not that sounds like a lot depends on the cost of living in your area. Regardless, a barista’s pay should always be considered in a coffee shop’s capital before it opens. Baristas are, after all, the face of a coffee shop.

barista's hourly wage barista vs lead barista

What Are Barista Careers?

Right now, there are only a handful of ways to make more money than an hourly wage as a barista. One way is to become a lead barista. Lead baristas are the ones to pick out the good commercial coffee bean grinders and espresso machines. They also pick and develop recipes and are typically paid more than regular baristas.

Another way to develop a career is to become a barista trainer. Barista trainers train new baristas in technique, palates, and customer service. A good barista trainer is invaluable. After all, the cost of machines is only worth it if the baristas know what they are doing.

How Much Do Baristas Make At Starbucks?

But do national trends apply at Starbucks? Actually, Starbucks barista pay is better than the national average. The Starbucks minimum wage for baristas recently increased to $15/hour. And on average, Starbucks baristas will make upwards of $17/hour (3). Part of the reason Starbucks can pay so much is that it’s among the most successful coffee shops in the world.

As with any job, the more a barista knows and the more skills they acquire, the more money they can make. All baristas must know the Starbucks drinks recipes, but Starbucks also has paths for baristas to learn and take on bigger roles, earning them more money. That’s why the average hourly pay for Starbucks baristas is higher than the minimum.

Barista Wage: Should You Tip?

Did you know that baristas are considered tipped workers? That means that baristas fall under the same minimum wage as restaurant servers. In other words, baristas can be paid the tipped worker minimum wage, usually lower than the regular minimum wage. While this might help the profits of cafes, it certainly creates stress on the barista’s part.

Leaving even a little extra change can make a big difference to your baristas and to independent coffee shops.

Remember that good baristas must know a lot about coffee to create your favorite drinks. For one, baristas have to know about professional espresso makers in cafes. They need to know how to extract good espresso, froth all different kinds of milk correctly, and combine frothed milk and espresso so the flavors bond together.

Final Thoughts

In general, baristas are paid around average for service workers, which changes depending on where you are, the cost of living, and the minimum wage. But on average, baristas make about $12/hour.

Remember that baristas are usually considered tipped employees, meaning they can be paid less than minimum wage with the idea that tips make up the difference. Starbucks baristas generally make more than smaller coffee shop baristas. Starbucks’ minimum barista pay is $15/hour, averaging $17/hour.


A barista is a good job for anyone who loves coffee, wants to gain more knowledge and experience, or makes a little extra money. But it can be a stressful job at times.

A lead barista job generally pays the most. Lead baristas make an average of $16/hour or a little over $33,000/year.

Being a barista can be a great side job for students or those looking for part-time work. Many coffee shops have hours, meaning you still have time for things like studying or a second job.

  1. Industry market research, reports, and Statistics. IBISWorld. (n.d.). Retrieved April 2, 2023, from https://www.ibisworld.com/us/bed/national-average-minimum-wage/112701/
  2. Salary.com, S. built by: (n.d.). Hourly wage for barista. Salary.com. Retrieved April 2, 2023, from https://www.salary.com/research/salary/benchmark/barista-hourly-wages/
  3. Tyko, K. (2021, October 27). Starbucks to raise average pay up to $17 an hour as it faces a labor shortage. USA Today. Retrieved April 2, 2023, from https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/food/2021/10/27/starbucks-pay-raise-hourly-wage-increase-2022/8567718002/
Craig C.
My three favorite things in life are coffee, rock climbing, and spending time outside. I'm part of the AeroPress fan club and an advocate for the Oxford comma.

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