Can Baristas Wear Watches At Work?

Barista is a creative profession focusing on perfecting and serving espresso-based coffee drinks. However, is it safe to wear watches while steaming and pouring coffee? Can baristas wear watches at work?

In general, baristas are advised by USFDA not to wear watches while at work as they may contaminate food and drink. However, you may still do so, provided that you ensure hygiene and your place of work allows it. 

Can baristas wear watches at work

This article will discuss reasons to, and not to wear watches to work as a barista. If you prefer to wear one, we also discuss suitable watches that may suit your work. 

We have also discussed if you should wear a watch to work in a kitchen, so if this is something you want to discover, feel free to click on and read up. 

Why You Should Wear A Watch As A Barista

You may want to wear a watch while working as a barista if you need a way to time yourself, or if you just feel comfortable wearing one to work. 

To Time Yourself. Some coffee-making processes can be time-sensitive, and some sort of timer is needed to help a barista time himself. For example, steaming milk, roasting, or pulling espresso shots. 

Having a watch around to help time would be very handy. A barista only needs to flick the wrist, decide on the start time, begin the process, and eyeball the watch until the end. 

You Just Feel Comfortable With It. Some people are so used to having a watch on their wrist.

They feel “naked and cold” on the wrist without it. Some people are also so accustomed to having something that feels like “weight” on their wrist that it feels strange when they do not have a watch on their wrist.

If having a watch means you feel more comfortable, feel free to wear it. You might just make better coffee since you are in a better mood!

Can baristas wear watches at work

Why You Should Not Wear A Watch As A Barista

You may want to not wear a watch as a barista since many health and safety bodies such as USFDA advise against it. Many major coffee chains, such as Starbucks, disallow their baristas from wearing watches. You might not really need a watch at a coffee shop.

Food Safety Code. Many food-related health and safety organizations, such as the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) and the United Kingdom Food Standards Agency (FSA), explicitly advise against watches. 

In detail, they advise staff involved in food and drink preparation to avoid wearing jewelry such as watches, rings, or bracelets. The reason is simple, these items may be trapping dirt or germs that may contaminate food and drink.

If you think about it, it makes sense. Watches tend to be trapping sweat and grime if worn frequently and not cleaned properly. Plus, baristas may have to work with dirty plates or rubbish while working in the coffee shop. Their watches may come into contact with these and pick up dirty substances. 

Major Coffee Chains Do Not Allow It. Perhaps as a response to the USFDA and FSA, major coffee chains such as Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts do not allow their baristas to wear watches while at work. 

Starbucks, for example, do not allow anything on the forearm and below. That means no watches, no bracelets, no wristband. However, a ring is allowed, but it must be a plain band with no stones or intricate designs. 

Coffee chains have a reputation to take care of. If one of their customers suffers from food poisoning, they may face lawsuits, and their reputation may be damaged. 

As a result, they take extra care to ensure high hygiene standards, which means no watches for their baristas.

You Do Not Really Need It. In many ways, if you are a barista, chances are your timing requirements might have been taken care of by your workplace. 

Perhaps there is a large clock for you to look at in the coffee shop. The milk steamer has a thermometer and a countdown clock for you to look at. The microwave to reheat food also comes with a countdown clock.

This means you might not really need a watch to do your work. Sure, you might want to wear it since you prefer it, but when you weigh in on the potential risks and damage you may do to your watch, it might not be wise. 

What Watches Are Good For Baristas?

Watches for baristas should best have a smooth watch surface with a waterproof strap. It should also be thin, small, and light and have a scratch-proof surface. Quartz movement is also good as it is less affected by shock.  

Waterproof. Baristas are in constant contact with water at work. As one, you would probably be spending a lot of time washing coffee utensils and washing your hands. 

This means your watch should best be waterproof. Most watch cases are waterproof, which should not be a concern. 

But when it comes to the straps, it might be a good idea to wear watch straps made of waterproof materials such as silicone, rubber, or polyurethane. Silicone is known to be a dust magnet, so perhaps it should not be considered before rubber or polyurethane. 

If you wear non-waterproof straps such as cloth or leather straps, they may absorb some water and develop a smell. Grime may develop as well.

Thin, Small, Light. Baristas should also consider a thin, small, and light watch. Baristas’ hands are always on the move at work. Grinding coffee, pouring drinks, putting food into the microwave, serving cakes, washing utensils, etc. 

This means a large, heavy, and chunky watch may interfere with the work and is more likely to suffer from knocks, scratches, or nicks.

This means you probably want to leave your chronograph and dive watches at home since they tend to be big and chunky. 

Smooth Surface. A barista should wear a watch that is smooth, which means it should have as few folds and crevices as possible. 

The idea here is that when the watch surface is smooth, it is less likely to trap water, dirt, or sweat. This reduces the risk of food contamination. 

A watch with a smooth surface is also easier to clean. You probably just need to clean it with running water. 

This means you might need to leave your metal bracelets at home since they have a lot of folds, holes, and crevices that are perfect for trapping water, dirt, and sweat. Plus, they get grimy easily if constantly exposed to water. 

Can baristas wear watches at work

Consider Nurse Watches. If you really need a watch, but your place of work does not allow one, perhaps you can consider nurse watches, the kind you wear on your chest and not your wrist. 

You can easily use the watch to tell or count time without having it on your wrist. This allows you to follow the rules of your workplace as well. 

As a start, consider this nurse watch with a retractable cable so you can pull the watch and look at it when you need it and keep it on your chest when you don’t. 

Nigel Ignatius

Nigel is the principal creator of, a website dedicated to watches. Inspired by the dedication and effort of watchmakers now and old, Nigel has a passion for watches and looks forward to share his passion with the world.

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