What To Look For In a Barista Course
Looking for a Barista School in Australia? The good news is that you have plenty of choice. The bad news is that it can be hard to decide. What should you look for? I would love to answer that. I live and breathe barista training. I run Barista Basics as well as the Australian Barista School. I constantly watch for new trends in barista training and techniques. So here is my advice on what to look for in a barista school.
# 1 Certificate
When you are at the very start, make sure that you choose a nationally recognised course. This means that the school is part of a Recognised Training Organisation (RTO) and that the course results in a nationally recognised Statement of Attainment for the units of competency SITHFAB204 (Prepare and serve espresso coffee) and SITXFSA101 (Use hygienic practices for food safety). This is not relevant for a later specialist course, but really important when you start.
# 2 Ratio
It's vital to have supervision while you're learning to make coffee. You don't want to be in a class of 24 people with one trainer. It becomes unwieldy, you won't feel looked after and nobody can pick up on your mistakes. So look for a trainer to student ratio of not more than one trainer to every 6 students.
# 3 Trainer
Are the people running the course sufficiently qualified? Are they professional baristas with several years of experience?
# 4 Machine
Will you get our own part of the machine to work on? So your own group head - the part that produces the espresso that flows into your cup - and your own steam wand? Sharing equipment with others will slow you down. You need your own steam wand and your own group so that you can maximise the practical component of the course. The more hands-on the course the more you will learn!
I've seen a lot of barista courses with multiple students training on the same machine and it's very, very difficult to do. But when you're in front of your own machine, you can get used to the steam pressure and it's very easy to learn and pick up. So you need to have a machine for every student - Cameron Horsley - Barista Trainer
# 5 Facility
Is the course set in a nice facility with beautiful commercial espresso machines? Does the environment inspire you?
# 6 Beans
Will you have an unlimited supply of freshly roasted coffee beans during the course? You can't learn making a great coffee if you start with second-rate ingredients.
# 7 Milk
Will you have an unlimited milk supply during the course? Some schools just give you a jar and that's it. If you run out, you have to wait and plead to get some more, loosing precious training time. So make sure there is nothing to slow you down.
# 8 Material
Does the school provide you with further training material? Is there further information online or a CD or a booklet and handouts so you can revise what you learned?
# 9 Support
Will the school support you? Can you call and ask for advice even after the course?
Doing a barista course is a great way to get started and a lot of fun. I hope these nine points will help you find a great school just right for you.