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The Challenges of Professional Barista Training, Professionally Speaking
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Ellie
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Ellie
Joined: 3 Jul 2003
Posts: 53
Location: Chicago
Expertise: Professional

Posted Tue Jul 27, 2004, 12:00am
Subject: The Challenges of Professional Barista Training, Professionally Speaking
 

The Challenges of Professional Barista Training
Professionally Speaking article by Ellie Hudson-Matuszak

Ellie Matuszak gives a primer on the challenges and solutions faced by some of the top espresso trainers in the US.
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Malibar
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Malibar
Joined: 4 Apr 2004
Posts: 157
Location: Durango, CO
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Bialetti Moka Pot (stovetop)
Grinder: Rocky DL, Cuisinart...
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Roaster: I wish
Posted Tue Jul 27, 2004, 12:27am
Subject: Re: The Challenges of Professional Barista Training, Professionally Speaking
 

Wow, I wish my cafe owners had read this.  Now, they're out of business, and I'm facing being stuck behind a super-auto.  Not that it's all their fault; but Ellie's guide could have given them a better shot at building a solid espresso customer base by simply having kick-butt quality drinks all the time.  
Cafe owners: PLEASE do yourself a favor and apply this as much as you can.  Baristi: Encourage your owners to read this, maybe even print it and take it to them if they're not a Geek...
Thanks so much Ellie, awesome article.

 
Hemingway had the ideal cofee shop figured out: "A clean, well-lighted place."
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Deferio
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Posted Tue Jul 27, 2004, 6:23am
Subject: Re: The Challenges of Professional Barista Training, Professionally Speaking
 

Ellie,
   Thanks for the article...well done. It is rather timely for me as I am a couple months into my position of trainer here at gimme!.
For me it has been a learning experience to learn how to put knowledge and passion  into an easy to understand and infectious lessons. It's a very rewarding thing to see someone making killer drinks after training.It is also interesting to see, much more clearly now, that practically all the steps and procedures we (in the industry) use to produce excellent espresso have been gleaned from years of trial and error by many people...Like drying the basket, as you mentioned, Temp surfing, distribution styles, polishing tamp, and more recently PID, all for the better cup.
It's a facinating industry we're in, and sometimes the process of training someone to passionately and effectively make great espresso can be more complex than the espresso itself.
Cheers,
       -Chris Deferio

 
-May your coffee be deep-
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spinnaker007
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Joined: 24 Apr 2003
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Location: Chicago!
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Tue Jul 27, 2004, 8:08am
Subject: Re: The Challenges of Professional Barista Training, Professionally Speaking
 

Hi Ellie,

Thanks for writing this awesome article.  It is unfortunate that many café owners don’t share with you and your company’s passion and dedication for providing the ultimate coffee experience for their customers.

There were many times that I just walked out of a coffee shop after seeing the messy work area, dirty espresso machine, dried milk on the steam wane, wrong/unleveled tamping by the barista, the shots that come out the PF in 3 seconds, and awful milk steaming.  There were also numerous times that I just dumped the drink I just paid for in the trash.

You guys are my only favorite coffee shop in Chicago.

Cheers,

Steve
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holygrounds
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holygrounds
Joined: 11 Sep 2003
Posts: 48
Location: New Mexico
Expertise: Pro Barista

Posted Tue Jul 27, 2004, 10:36am
Subject: Re: The Challenges of Professional Barista Training, Professionally Speaking
 

Great article Ellie.  Steve is right.  It's too bad that more owner's don't share your passion and dedication to proper training.  Another thing that's too bad is when cafe owners that DO share your passion for training but don't have the money to pay for the flight, room and board, and $100+/hour to have a trainer from a barista school come down to your cafe.  I'm in the process of opening a coffeehouse and would love to have employees that are trained as well as yours.  My problems are that I can't find a local roaster that I believe will help me train my employees with your passion, that I don't have the money to bring someone down here, and that I don't have the knowledge or resources to do it myself.  Is it just going to be a matter of me forking out the money or not?

Rob
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tonx
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tonx
Joined: 23 Apr 2003
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Location: los angeles
Expertise: Professional
Posted Tue Jul 27, 2004, 10:54am
Subject: Re: The Challenges of Professional Barista Training, Professionally Speaking
 

great article!  I like the emphasis on tasting the espresso, which seems lacking in alot of training.

One thing I am curious about after visiting Intelligentsia...  I was surprised to see all the barista using a 30lb tamp.  It has been my experience that tamping on the low end of the scale with good consistancy can be difficult.  For instance my own optimal tamp is probably around 45lbs - any lighter than this and it will be inconsistant.  This seems to vary from person to person a great deal.  The explanation I got at the cafe was that several barista are pulling shots from the same machine and grinder at the same time(!) so this is a way of imposing a loose consistancy over the whole process.  Could the light tamp also be a way of reducing the likelyhood of injury?  I am curious how you arrived at this style and also how you handle fine adjustments of grind with multiple cooks in the kitchen.

I'm also curious about your experiences implementing higher quality standards to your wholesale accounts.  Do you feel that other shops using your beans are maintaining a good standard and what have been the challenges in that area?
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expobar
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Joined: 25 Mar 2004
Posts: 3,003
Location: .
Posted Tue Jul 27, 2004, 11:20am
Subject: Re: The Challenges of Professional Barista Training, Professionally Speaking
 

holygrounds Said:

Great article Ellie.  Steve is right.  It's too bad that more owner's don't share your passion and dedication to proper training.  Another thing that's too bad is when cafe owners that DO share your passion for training but don't have the money to pay for the flight, room and board, and $100+/hour to have a trainer from a barista school come down to your cafe.  I'm in the process of opening a coffeehouse and would love to have employees that are trained as well as yours.  My problems are that I can't find a local roaster that I believe will help me train my employees with your passion, that I don't have the money to bring someone down here, and that I don't have the knowledge or resources to do it myself.  Is it just going to be a matter of me forking out the money or not?

Rob

Posted July 27, 2004 link

The Roasterie has a "Certification Program"...  if you go to their site, they have a bunch of word docs, you can download them and give them to your (potential) staff.  If they know that, they're pretty much good to go, just show them the basics of your setup (grinder, machine) and there you go.

Good article, very informative.   It makes me happy that you only have one flavor, and you're a big-time company.  What kind of syrups do you use?  I don't use syrups in my drink but I buy vanilla for my friend.  He seemed to like his Vanilla Cappu made with Oscar's syrup ("F***in' good")  Seems like Intelligentsia runs a pretty tight ship, do the employees have fun?

Also, is latte art required at intelligentsia?
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MarkPrince
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Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 5,584
Location: Vancouver, BC
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: KvdW Speedster
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Vac Pot: A bit too many
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Posted Tue Jul 27, 2004, 3:01pm
Subject: Re: The Challenges of Professional Barista Training, Professionally Speaking
 

just so's everyone knows, there's photos coming this evening for this article. For some reason, they didn't "take" the first time I uploaded them.

Mark

 
CoffeeGeek Senior Editor
www.twitter.com/coffeegeek www.flickr.com/coffeegeek, www.instagram.com/coffeegeek (you get the picture)
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malachi
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malachi
Joined: 5 May 2002
Posts: 1,761
Location: SFCA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Monster Mia (for now)_
Grinder: Monster Cimballi Junior
Vac Pot: Not any more
Drip: never
Roaster: Ecco, Stumptown, Intelli,...
Posted Tue Jul 27, 2004, 3:28pm
Subject: Re: The Challenges of Professional Barista Training, Professionally Speaking
 

Fantastic article!
Thanks Ellie.
This should go in the "required reading" section for all professional baristi and shop owners.

My only comment would be that it seems like it is very valuable to have training be an ongoing activity, rather than a one-time deal. We've worked on identifying "advanced" techniques to frame this with veteran employees, as well as having senior employees teach some "technique specific" seminar style training sessions. It seems to make it more "palatable."

Good work.
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bxntrk
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bxntrk
Joined: 5 Mar 2004
Posts: 496
Location: Central Kansas, USA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: S'Bucks Barista
Grinder: Rocky DL, Bunn G1, Solis M+
Drip: Presto Scandinavian
Roaster: Hot Top, RK Drum on the way
Posted Wed Jul 28, 2004, 8:22am
Subject: Re: The Challenges of Professional Barista Training, Professionally Speaking
 

I am so impressed.  I've never been to your shops, but enjoy Intelligentsia's Black Cat.  

I'm a relative novice in making good espressos, and only do so at home, not professionally.  I just wish there was a way I could attend your training.  It sounds very comprehensive and the emphasis on quality tasting results is a good foundation.  

How long does the training take?  Do you let outsiders in?  Maybe it could be a new profit center for Intelligensia.

Patti
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