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A competitor during the World Barista Championship
A competitor during the World Barista Championship

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 maker of espresso based beverages. Its journey into English has been accompanied by a slight shift in meaning. When using the term in English, a barista denotes one who has acquired some level of expertise in the preparation of espresso-based coffee drinks. "Barista" in Italy is the bartender, who prepares both alcoholic drinks and espresso coffee beverages.

In its most basic form, a barista by definition is one who prepares espresso coffee beverages. However, its meaning is expanding to include what might be called a coffee sommelier, who is highly skilled in espresso preparation, with a comprehensive understanding of coffee, coffee blends, quality, coffee varieties, roast degree, espresso equipment, maintenance, and performance, latte art, etc.

Barista is also the name of a coffee shop chain in India. Headquartered in Delhi, Barista currently has over 100 espresso bars across India, Sri Lanka and the Middle East.

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