You might ask – How can I establish a barista training program?
Here are 5 steps to do so:
1 – Form your C-team
You first need a team coffee experts – Coffee Team. The team should consist of a group of members who are responsible for coffee quality assurance, coffee education and research & development. These people are the engine of your coffee business. They will be in touch with the latest trends of the coffee world and can create proper training for your barista.
Apart from that, the team serves a symbolic meaning to your barista team. They will have a group of people to look up to, which helps to create a better learning environment in the company.
2 – Start formal coffee training classes with reference to SCA
To start training classes, in addition to the basic company background, policies and standard procedures, the benchmark should be according to the world standard with reference to the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA). It is the world leading coffee association. You can refer to its extensive coffee course structures and outlines.
3 – Hold regular coffee sharing sessions
On the side of formal training, regular coffee sharing sessions is another add-on to the training. These coffee sharing sessions could involve some coffee discussions extracted from the formal training classes so that the barista can build deeper coffee knowledge. This adds extra value to the training program. Besides teaching and learning, meeting your barista regularly is beneficial. More coffee gatherings create a closer relationship between you and them, which allows you to start noticing each of their abilities.
4 – Hold a regular Barista Test
After you teach them coffee knowledge and give them training, you also want to assess their progress. Now, you will need to organise a regular test for all baristas you have trained. This test is not to judge them, but to give you and trainers feedback about what should come next to improve training.
Barista tests usually consist of 2 parts:
One part of it is a written test. You can set questions to test barista’s coffee and company knowledge, as well as situational problem-solving ability.
The other part of it is a practical test. The format of the practical test and standard can refer to the World Barista Championship. They need to serve 8 -10 cups of coffee in a limited time. You can fully review their barista skills in this test.
The result of the test tells you a lot about the barista team. It can determine which area you should pay more attention to in order to train a confident & competent barista.
5 – Follow up training
Once you have done step 1 – 4, you have set up a pretty structural and solid training program. What you need to do now is to follow up after the barista test. From the test result, you can analyse the strengths and weaknesses of all your barista. Some may show a better result in coffee knowledge but weaker in servicing skills; some may show great barista skills but be weak in properly presenting the coffee. The test gives you an overview of each barista. You can specifically put them into different positions to train them in particular areas.
Spot potential barista and tailor trainings
Your training program should enable you to know your barista and spot talented ones. Some of them may have an inclination towards becoming an award-winning barista or want to be a roaster. Some may want to go on origin trips and become green bean buyers. Give them chances according to what they want to achieve in coffee. When they feel vibrance and life inside the company, they can project their future with your company. Trust me, they will definitely stay with you and power up your cafe business.
The barista is the soul of a cafe. They are the key to your success. Your ultimate goal is to train confident & competent barista in order to keep them. And most importantly, to make them grow together with your business.
Vanessa is a Barista Trainer and Cafe Consultant, specialised in coffee training and water-coffee relations. She is the founder and blogger of Forbidden (www.forbiddenbean.com). Recently, she becomes a tea sommelier in order to bring some new insights from tea to coffee.