EspressoTech Senior Member Joined: 8 Nov 2003 Posts: 9 Location: Atlanta, Georgia Expertise: Professional
Espresso: La Marzocco 3 group Grinder: Astoria, Baratza Vario Drip: French Press
Posted Tue Aug 10, 2004, 9:41am Subject: Re: The Challenges of Professional Barista Training, Professionally Speaking
Wow, Ellie! What a great article!!! I do my share of training for a big, green, "Specialty" coffee company, and I'm often disappointed when it seems that my training hasn't "stuck".
I agree with your quality priorities, and I like your point system.
This probably goes without saying, but it comes down to the barista's desire to learn, and craft truly fine drinks. Nobody makes enough money in this business to become really good at what we do without loving it aside from the pay.
Majorjavajoe Senior Member Joined: 24 Oct 2004 Posts: 1 Location: Balad, Iraq Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Sun Oct 24, 2004, 5:42pm Subject: Re: The Challenges of Professional Barista Training, Professionally Speaking
Hi Ellie, I'm new here. Listen, I'm heading off to Iraq (second tour) and am looking to do something cool for our soldier; we are opening a coffee roaster and cafe in a town called Balad, north of Baghdad. We (a bunch of officers have pooled money and bought a Roaster (probatino) and worked at getting tons of donations). We are pretty much ready to go. Only one problem.... we don't know how to make drinks!!!
Anyway, it's gona be another very long year. Wanted to know if you (Jedi Master), are willing to teach another Jedi wana be? My dream someday is to be a GREAT Barista, let my hair grow long, and serve smiles with a good cup of joe.
War zones are terrible... but it's what we make of them that makes the difference between outright horror and compassion. Politics aside... when push comes to shove... it's what we make of it and how we treat eachother.
Anyway, would love to have you teach me, maybe send me lesson plans via e-mail or direct me to books. Since we will be away from our lives, it would be great to learn something neat, share it with a few other here, and make the best of difficult yet challenging times.
What do you say??? Can you take on another student? V/R
By the way... pretty impressive background Joe Izaguirre, Major, MI US Army
spiralswan Senior Member Joined: 16 Jan 2005 Posts: 1 Location: Florida Expertise: Pro Barista
Espresso: Rancilio Sylvia Grinder: Rancilio Rocky
Posted Sun Jan 16, 2005, 7:48pm Subject: Re: The Challenges of Professional Barista Training, Professionally Speaking
I agree with the others who posted: this should be required reading for cafe owners. When I became a barista, I felt my training could have been improved. I spent a lot of time trying to make up for lack of training by reading and watching baristas who had been well trained. I became reasonable good, but know I could have been better with more training. Now I am no longer at a cafe, but still make a much better espresso on a home machine than most "baristas" around here make with a pro machine.
I am now a Montessori teacher, and I notice a shared problem between the espresso industry and Montessori education. The name Montessori can be used by anyone, and frequently is. There are several groups that do Montessori teacher training, but each training is different and most are terrible. The original group, AMI - the one started by Maria Montessori herself - not only trains teachers, but also certifies schools that conform to the original standards. These schools are visited every few years by a representative of AMI to make sure they still conform to all the standards. The only way to know you are getting Montessori education is to find out who trained the teachers. I know this is getting wordy, but the point is coming. I am suggesting that there be some sort of standard certification process that cafes that cared about quality could go through. This would be a major selling point for me, anyway. I'm tired of watching "baristas" fumble around making me drinks in places I will NEVER go again. Put a little sticker on the door and the real espresso lovers will know where to go. I realize this is a HUGE project, but I think you sound passionate enough to pull it off. Or I'll just keep up with my newly invented trick - I ask the barista for a dry cappuccino. If they look at me funny, I ask for a Coke. It at least weeds out the people who would steam milk for an iced latte.
This is a last, and quick, note. Does anyone do anything in regard to educating the customers? I really thing that if more people knew what a really good espresso tasted like, they'd never drink crap again. Maybe we could weed out some of these concession stands that try to pass as espresso shops. Wine shops have tastings....
ant Senior Member Joined: 7 May 2003 Posts: 1,046 Location: Brisbane Expertise: I like coffee
Espresso: sunbeam em6910 Grinder: sunbeam em0480 Vac Pot: hario syphon Roaster: 1kg sample roaster at work
Posted Sun Jan 16, 2005, 9:08pm Subject: Re: The Challenges of Professional Barista Training, Professionally Speaking
Apart from small things like
"if you like the coffee tell everyone, but if you don't tell me and I'll do it again for free" and generally doing the best that you can and getting customers accustomed to the taste of good coffee, I don't think that there is all that much.
If any of my customers have any questions to ask about espresso, I'm always happy to try to answer them as well as give them demonstrations on how to do milk and what goes into the thinking and practice behind the shots that I pull.
I also refer them to this website.
But education on a mass scale, to the point where everyone thinks that something like starbucks is very bad, probably won't be achieved quickly I think.
captainconor Senior Member Joined: 3 Apr 2005 Posts: 2 Location: USA Expertise: Professional
Espresso: Cimbali Junior
Posted Mon Apr 4, 2005, 8:20pm Subject: Re: The Challenges of Professional Barista Training, Professionally Speaking
Hi, The proper training is certainly very important but in fact irrelevant if the desire to make a good espresso is absent.
I sent the 4 interior staff and the cook of the yacht I was on to do a barista course with a professional place in Brisbane. We have a professional machine and grinder on board and I wanted the quality of the espressos to be up to par as they were not when I joined the vessel. So, of they went did the course came back and lo and behold the espressos were no better!!!
Why, you may ask yourself. Was the course not good?, was the teacher no good?, as the course not long enough?. Well the answer is simple. They really didn't care about making a good coffee. they could not see that producing a superb espresso, nay even an average one is a work of art and more than just plonking coffee in a machine and pressing a button.
So first you need the desire to make a good coffee then you need the training and one without the other is a disaster.
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