I'm curious about folks' experiences with these training schools. How does it compare to the on-the-job training you get? (I gotta say, I've got a great resource at my shop!) Are they pricey, and worth the money? What school would you recommend, and how far have you traveled to attend one?

Let's discuss!

(I hope I'm not completely rehashing another discussion).

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I attended ABC last Dec. It was a worth!

I have attended a few classes and taught a few as well. Some classes are much more in-depth than others. If you already have the basics on good espresso and milk steaming under your belt, it may be hard to find anything worth the money for a more advanced training. An advanced training isn't going to give you the practice or palate needed to create the perfect elixer; instead it will give you a more indepth knowledge of the history of coffee and the industry. You might also learn some cool tricks for latte art. These are things that you can definately find for free on the internet.

However if you are new to the trade a class is definately worth dropping a few bucks for. A good roaster will often offer a class for there wholesale customers. Some even offer it for free with a coffee contract.

On a side note: I believe it is the right of the business owner to decide how they want there staff trained. If you work at a coffee bar with several other baristas, it only makes sence that you all get trained by the same person or at least in the same manner.

 

Does anyone here recommend a barista school in New York City? I found these guys googling about, and the course description sounds good. http://counterculturecoffee.com/education/course-catalogue

But I would rather here a personal recommendation.

Thanks!

Though they are not a full-time barista school, Counter Culture's education program is outstanding. I've taken quite a few, and learned much from them. My favorite has to be "History Origins and Trading".


Michael Kay said:

Does anyone here recommend a barista school in New York City? I found these guys googling about, and the course description sounds good. http://counterculturecoffee.com/education/course-catalogue

But I would rather here a personal recommendation.

Thanks!

I went to ABC, flew from Virginia to spend a week out in Portland.    It wasn't cheap but what I took away was worth 10's of thousands to my business.   I highly recommend them.  Matt is awesome, and Tom Pikkart the guy who was running my class is just a killer trainer.   -The single best investment I made in my business was a trip to ABC. - and they are now opening a school on the east coast, in Brooklyn NY    check it out. 

Cheers 
 
Matt Milletto said:

On the job training is valuable, as long as you are receiving training from someone who is passionate about their product and business. The downfall can be that you may learn "their way" and you can easily absorb bad habits that may not be concurrent with your management style.

I have found that the optimal time a person can come thru a business and barista training school is when they are in the early stages of planning (if considering opening a retail business). The comprehensive business training is extremely valuable, as many people can teach you how to pour a beautiful latte but can they teach you how to run a business. Ideally one will want to work with those who have assisted with the hands on opening and full consultation (not just selling them a piece of equipment) of hundreds of coffee bars all over the world. This experience will ensure that what you are learning is not bias to one or two coffee bars, or a certain regional area's perspective, but will work no matter where you are located.

I feel when considering a school, it is important to also learn from a school without any agendas outside of pure training and consultation. While intentions may be good, does it make sense to pay for training from someone who is also trying to sell you equipment? Or who may take kick-backs on equipment bought through their school?

Remember that you as an owner or manager will be training your employees and developing a solid training methodology within your business. It is important to learn in a train the trainer type of environment, about a full range of menu items too. Everything you offer in your cafe must be top notch, even beyond your espresso and coffee beverages.

There is also value in the location/city of where you go to learn, if you do attend a school. What can you learn from the surrounding area? In depth coffee shop tours, meeting with coffee shop owners and touring a coffee roaster can be a great learning experience.

-Matt Milletto
American Barista & Coffee School
Portland, OR
Classes are always a good way to learn a new trade and meet people in the industry who can help you grow your business
I would sign up for short programs to get started then practice what you learned at your shop.

Ok, here's the thing. i can understand me, the owner of my company, attending one of these classes. Especially for training. It just doesn't seem conducive of my employees. But, they are the ones who need it the most. I could spend 2000 bucks to send 1 employee across the country to train them...and they could up and quit on me the following week. That pushes me away from formal training in these week long cram sessions. Is there a more spread out program out there that has flexibility? Or payment program options? Or even an online satellite school so I don't have to spend scads of cash on travel, food, and hotel expenses? 

DONT SPEND $2000! There are basic classes everywhere. You don't have to send anyone across the country, and as I stated earlier, there is nothing at a class that you cant learn online. People just take classes more seriously because they cost money. 

For your situation I would recommend that you develop your own in depth knowledge and skills that you can then pass on to your employees. How are you going to know if your baristas are making drinks properly if you don't know yourself?

As the business owner, your ability and knowledge of coffee needs to outshine any employees'; otherwise they will not respect you and its likely that you will not be able to truly understand or appreciate their value as skilled employees. If you're really afraid your employees will just quit on you after you invest in them then something is seriously wrong.

Gain confidence in your own skills then push your employees to reach your level. Don't expect your employees to be more qualified than you.

There are literally thousands of Barista 101 videos on youtube, and thousands more on making Latte art. Learn and share. Learn and teach. This will create a healthy and loyal team that you will be able to invest in with confidence in the future.

Good luck

The ABC school in Portland Oregon is best for the price and overall education in coffee.  You do get barista and latte art training, but the business basics are also part of the school as well; coffee knowledge and recipes for other drinks, Granita, smoothies, preparing panninis; cafe tours...You can use several different models of espresso machines;  work in their cafe too.  Yes, if you have been a barista before, you may want to refresh or learn to forget some bad habits if you or your staff have any...

I basically agree with everything you are saying. And my employees aren't ready to jump ship. I already own a coffee shop that serves food. Ad honestly, the quality is good. I haven't found a better chicken sandwich ANYWHERE. I have good relations with my staff. But I have also noticed that, although there is a great value to having great influence over employees, it still won't stop them from leaving at any time for whatever reason. I was just curious for something less risk oriented in the education field. I would probably spend 2k on myself for training. But if I could give my staff a group class, or better yet, have them do online studies? That would be an excellent resource.


Matthew Burd said:

DONT SPEND $2000! There are basic classes everywhere. You don't have to send anyone across the country, and as I stated earlier, there is nothing at a class that you cant learn online. People just take classes more seriously because they cost money. 

For your situation I would recommend that you develop your own in depth knowledge and skills that you can then pass on to your employees. How are you going to know if your baristas are making drinks properly if you don't know yourself?

As the business owner, your ability and knowledge of coffee needs to outshine any employees'; otherwise they will not respect you and its likely that you will not be able to truly understand or appreciate their value as skilled employees. If you're really afraid your employees will just quit on you after you invest in them then something is seriously wrong.

Gain confidence in your own skills then push your employees to reach your level. Don't expect your employees to be more qualified than you.

There are literally thousands of Barista 101 videos on youtube, and thousands more on making Latte art. Learn and share. Learn and teach. This will create a healthy and loyal team that you will be able to invest in with confidence in the future.

Good luck

HI SAM 

im in the same mud as you i want to advance training to go towards shop design and customer service / service design AND to become a trainer . im based in zambia at the moment but from cape town where SC sector is booming there are NO SCHOOLS in africa only some roasters who kicked started SC in south africa provide barista training . i am looking at attending SCAA in dubai in november but it will set me back $5000  by the time im im up to speed i think you very lucky to live and work in place where u get training and its CERTIFIED 

Paolo

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