Coffee Barista Training

Discussion in 'Off Topic Chat' started by Norcalbaker59, Aug 4, 2018.

  1. Norcalbaker59

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Totally excited, my brother the coffee roaster is sending me to a barista training program as we work on developing the skill sets we need to create a retail coffee cafe.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Aug 4, 2018
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  2. Norcalbaker59

    Becky Administrator

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    Ooh that's exciting! I'd love to be able to make really good coffee, there seems to be a lot of skill involved. Will you be teaching him how to bake too? :D
     
    Becky, Aug 4, 2018
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  3. Norcalbaker59

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    @Becky, yes there’s a lot of skill and surprisingly it’s very much like baking. Temperature, moisture content in the coffee beans, the finest of the grind, the amount of water and the extraction method all come into play.

    The best baristas are certified and are required to complete a required number of continued education hours to keep their certification.

    The section I’m going to attend is the basic intro to coffee and barista foundation. So just 16 hours. Later I’ll do the Intermediate, Advanced, and Master barista sections.

    A retail operation is still a long way off in the future. But it’s exciting to move from concepts to more concrete actions.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Aug 5, 2018
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  4. Norcalbaker59

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Completed two intense days of barista training. Experience completely reshaped how I think about coffee.

    Coffee is so complex even one bad bean in a pot will effect coffee taste. We did a cupping and you could actually taste the taint in the one cup in which there was a single bad bean.

    What really surprised me was specialty coffee roasters like Blue Bottle have a three day shelf life for their roasted beans. After three days any roasted coffee still on the shelf gets yanked. The coffee beans have a couple more days of life but they yank it because they know a customer buying it on day 4 will not drink it within two or three days. So they yank it off the shelf on day four and immediately start using it at the brew bar.

    A great coffee won’t happen without skill either. For espresso there are specifications for grind, brew time, pressure, temperature. Yet even if a barista pulls a shot within SCAspecifications the coffee can still taste like crap. I pulled a shot that was dead on specification, hitting every single number as it should’ve been. And yet that shot still tasted like crap.

    That’s where barista skills come into play. They pull a shot at specification. They taste it, then they start making adjustments to get the shot to taste the way it should. And that ain’t easy

    Once they find the sweet spot they have to keep monitoring it throughout the day, making adjustments every hour to keep the coffee consistent. Coffee like flour is affected by ambient humidity, oxygen, and temperature. So the protocol of specialty coffee is exact and rigid.

    There’s a specific way to set up your workstation. There is a specific order in which things must be done. If one step is missed out of order you have to stop and start over again

    When you grind the coffee for an espresso shot you have about 30 seconds to start brewing it. If you grind the shot before you steam the milk, you have to throw that ground coffee away because by the time you’re finished steaming milk the ground coffee in the portofilter will have been exposed to moisture, temperature and air too long, so flavor will be destroyed.

    We had two written test and a practical hands-on final. The final was in three parts and each section was timed Fortunately I passed all three sections the first go around—but just barely. Several people in the class did not pass and had to redo the exam. It was nerve racking to say the least.

    But I learned a lot and really enjoyed it. And I have a lot of respect for the baristas.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Aug 8, 2018
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  5. Norcalbaker59

    Becky Administrator

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    Woah, that's intense! Sounds fascinating though, and I'm glad it's going well for you. I see what you mean about having new found respect for baristas, I'll be paying more attention next time I'm at a coffee shop!
     
    Becky, Aug 9, 2018
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