I thoroughly love training, which I see as basically trying to translate enthusiasm. The challenge lies less in conveying technique, and greater in generating excitement. How do you get someone to care (obsess) over extraction over and over and over ad naseum. My discussion question however has nothing to do with this. What is generally the curriculum for an advanced barista course, or day 2/3 of barista training weekend. I have a few discussion areas (not all microfoam is created equal, bad tasting shots with good looking shot times etc.), but often I fall a little short. What do you do with baristi proficient in basics but interested in more education?

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I'm not sure about the practical part, but i imagine the theory part might include more detailed info about roasting and cupping. Mabye about coffee origins and blending, also.
Some topics that I'd maybe want to see you cover (or have previously covered) if I were signed up:

Advanced machine maintenance - anatomy plus manager-level PM and repair stuff.
Dialing in, level 2 - manipulating temperature, updosing, preinfusion, etc to highlight different flavor aspects of the blend.
Extraction troubleshooting - the taste, the crema, the puck, using the naked.
Milk - chemistry, processing, seasonal variations, etc.
Blending for espresso
Drink development
Latte art, since this is becoming a requirement of an advanced barista.
What about a "train the trainer" section. Since the advanced barista is probably going to be in a training or managerial role at their shop, this could be useful. Effective training needs to be taught too... its harder than it looks :)
You might also consider covering other brew methods. After all, we expect a barista to be an expert of coffee, not just espresso.
How about covering differences in growing conditions, region, varietal, processing, and roasting and the effect on the cup?

Haven't been through or taught anything past hands-on 101, so this is all just kinda musing. This is an interesting discussion. Good luck.
Brady said:
Some topics that I'd maybe want to see you cover (or have previously covered) if I were signed up:

Advanced machine maintenance - anatomy plus manager-level PM and repair stuff.
Dialing in, level 2 - manipulating temperature, updosing, preinfusion, etc to highlight different flavor aspects of the blend.
Extraction troubleshooting - the taste, the crema, the puck, using the naked.
Milk - chemistry, processing, seasonal variations, etc.
Blending for espresso
Drink development
Latte art, since this is becoming a requirement of an advanced barista.
What about a "train the trainer" section. Since the advanced barista is probably going to be in a training or managerial role at their shop, this could be useful. Effective training needs to be taught too... its harder than it looks :)
You might also consider covering other brew methods. After all, we expect a barista to be an expert of coffee, not just espresso.
How about covering differences in growing conditions, region, varietal, processing, and roasting and the effect on the cup?

Haven't been through or taught anything past hands-on 101, so this is all just kinda musing. This is an interesting discussion. Good luck.
Some of those are included in my "Fundamentals" course, and the rest (sans milk seasonal variations) is pretty well covered in the "Advanced" course, which is intended to equip in-house trainers to fulfill their role.

Show details, theory, and having them solve thought experiment problems generally gets them to realize that there is a whole world out there to discover. The prospect of learning and expanding the thought process is generally enough to get people excited about coffee.

I also emphasize quite strongly the significance of the barista's role. That's what gets them to take it seriously.

There's a whole lot of methods I use, but these are some of the more obvious ones you'd notice if you were to observe a training.
one thing i did was split the shot into 3 parts - ex. for a 24 sec. shot the first 8sec. in one cup, the next 8 in another ect. - then we tasted each as separate. very interesting. also we play myth busters.- ex. what happens if you pour a shot over ice directly compared to one into water and ice for an iced americano? - or what happens if you tamp 60 or 80 lbs... etc whatever you have been told, you can give it a shot and see if what everyone is saying is really truth. good not only for the trainee, but the trainer too. you can have them get together a set of myths they would like to bust.
I agree with all. I will add this. The thing I find in training that helps the most is not to tell them why, but to show them why. Like breaking the shot up and tasting it, or making under/over extracted shots and having them taste it. It really reinforces why it's so important. Also, make sure they understand you value their position, and pay and respect accordingly. It can go a long way to helping empower them to become better.

mike cubbage said:
one thing i did was split the shot into 3 parts - ex. for a 24 sec. shot the first 8sec. in one cup, the next 8 in another ect. - then we tasted each as separate. very interesting. also we play myth busters.- ex. what happens if you pour a shot over ice directly compared to one into water and ice for an iced americano? - or what happens if you tamp 60 or 80 lbs... etc whatever you have been told, you can give it a shot and see if what everyone is saying is really truth. good not only for the trainee, but the trainer too. you can have them get together a set of myths they would like to bust.
Hi Greg I saw that your from Cafe Pronto, just wanted to say hi ...
Agreed. This is an interesting conversation. Being relatively new to studying the science aspect of espresso, but having a background in education I will say this:

THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU CAN DO WHEN TEACHING ANYONE ANYTHING IS TO ASK QUESTIONS!

Don't leave it up for a noob or even someone in my position to ask you the right questions. It won't happen. But, if you teach more like you remember middle school being, a person will learn a lot more. If you can arrange your more advanced sessions to be a series of questions whereafter each the trainee is able to find the answer by doing, you will have created a really awesome learning experience. Furthermore, the challenge of discovery will separate the wheat from the chaff as it pertains to those with passion vs those who just want to know "how to ___."

Jason Dominy said:
I agree with all. I will add this. The thing I find in training that helps the most is not to tell them why, but to show them why. Like breaking the shot up and tasting it, or making under/over extracted shots and having them taste it. It really reinforces why it's so important. Also, make sure they understand you value their position, and pay and respect accordingly. It can go a long way to helping empower them to become better.

mike cubbage said:
one thing i did was split the shot into 3 parts - ex. for a 24 sec. shot the first 8sec. in one cup, the next 8 in another ect. - then we tasted each as separate. very interesting. also we play myth busters.- ex. what happens if you pour a shot over ice directly compared to one into water and ice for an iced americano? - or what happens if you tamp 60 or 80 lbs... etc whatever you have been told, you can give it a shot and see if what everyone is saying is really truth. good not only for the trainee, but the trainer too. you can have them get together a set of myths they would like to bust.
Very much agreed. It doesn't stop there, though, as accepting and overcoming a series of challenges (like questions from the trainer) builds confidence and has the potential to pique curiosity or a desire to learn more.

In my case, I know I won't be there three months after the store opens. It's good insurance to get everyone interested enough to carry the torch on their own.

Zech said:
Agreed. This is an interesting conversation. Being relatively new to studying the science aspect of espresso, but having a background in education I will say this:

THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU CAN DO WHEN TEACHING ANYONE ANYTHING IS TO ASK QUESTIONS!

Don't leave it up for a noob or even someone in my position to ask you the right questions. It won't happen. But, if you teach more like you remember middle school being, a person will learn a lot more. If you can arrange your more advanced sessions to be a series of questions whereafter each the trainee is able to find the answer by doing, you will have created a really awesome learning experience. Furthermore, the challenge of discovery will separate the wheat from the chaff as it pertains to those with passion vs those who just want to know "how to ___."

Jason Dominy said:
I agree with all. I will add this. The thing I find in training that helps the most is not to tell them why, but to show them why. Like breaking the shot up and tasting it, or making under/over extracted shots and having them taste it. It really reinforces why it's so important. Also, make sure they understand you value their position, and pay and respect accordingly. It can go a long way to helping empower them to become better.

mike cubbage said:
one thing i did was split the shot into 3 parts - ex. for a 24 sec. shot the first 8sec. in one cup, the next 8 in another ect. - then we tasted each as separate. very interesting. also we play myth busters.- ex. what happens if you pour a shot over ice directly compared to one into water and ice for an iced americano? - or what happens if you tamp 60 or 80 lbs... etc whatever you have been told, you can give it a shot and see if what everyone is saying is really truth. good not only for the trainee, but the trainer too. you can have them get together a set of myths they would like to bust.

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