I want to be and want my baristas to be the best in my state and I think we are on the way to doing so.  However I feel I might reach the end of my training and experience soon and want to figure out what to do next.  I want to attend a barista training school but I don't have the money and probably wont have it for awhile, what is everyones suggestions on becoming a better barista without spending too much money for training. 


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You can go to youtube but the problem with that is that u really have to know who to listen to, so you can be learning good or bad traits from that. Youtube is very touchy, so if you use it then pick and choose wisely. Good luck with it
Alright so what is your suggestions for people and videos I should be watching on youtube?

Skyler Richter said:
You can go to youtube but the problem with that is that u really have to know who to listen to, so you can be learning good or bad traits from that. Youtube is very touchy, so if you use it then pick and choose wisely. Good luck with it
Well said, Brady. Competency and good fundamentals allow one to decide his/her own rate of progression. A basic understanding of a concept means that you can experiment, change things, invent techniques, etc. You can then evaluate your work with some simple testing.

To evaluate progress/knowledge/skill, have some "objectives." A good objective is one that yields measurable results. For example, you can't test an "Understanding of Espresso Extraction." But you CAN test someone's extraction technique and end product. Use a scoring system. If your test is solid, it should reflect one's understanding of the concept.

And seriously, the SCAA online library, other roasters' / retailers' educational material (online or otherwise), BX, geeking out with baristas at events, etc. are all fantastic resources. And the best part? They cost very little (or nothing!)

Brady said:
Much of the training out there is focused on developing solid fundamental skills. When you understand the fundamentals, perform them consistently, can objectively evaluate your results, and know how to adapt to achieve the desired result every day you have accomplished much. Competency is a wonderful (and under-appreciated) thing.

Equally important is developing your palate. Some training addresses this directly, some doesn't. At very least, though, training should expose you to well-executed drinks. In any case, palate development is critical because it is your guide moving forward.

I happen to think that being trained is the best way to develop basic competency for skills and palate. However, after you've achieved basic competency, the focus ought to shift from "being trained" to continuously learning and practicing.

Learning can come from reading publications, online discussions, observing others at work, tasting others' drinks, and experimenting. Practicing should seek to intentionally refine technique - improving quality, consistency, and efficiency. In all cases, you're falling back on a palate to guide your progress. This palate, however, should be ever-advancing too, never being satisfied with a certain level of quality for too long, always pursuing greater things.

I guess what I'm saying is, once you've achieved basic competency, become your own trainer. Approach your own development almost like you are two people - the trainer and the trainee. As the trainer, actively seek new things to learn, learn them, practice them, and critically evaluate your results. Move your focus - shot quality, milk texture, milk waste, shot time consistency improvement, preparation speed, bar cleanliness, latte art, exploring different flavors in your espresso, signature beverages, etc. As the trainee, work deliberately to master each new lesson before moving on.

I agree with previous statements about getting out into the world. This is one of the truest ways to find both where you stand and where you can go. This is one of the reasons that many great baristas compete, judge, travel extensively, and visit others' cafes. The possibilities for learning are endless if one looks hard enough.
Jonathan Morrison said:
Alright so what is your suggestions for people and videos I should be watching on youtube?
Jonathan: from your responses I get a feeling that you might not be that motivated to improve your skills? There's loads of good stuff online to study: videos, blogs, forums etc. Use your own judgement on what's good and what's not, after all you are a barista manager and trainer? A good start is to study the performances in the finals and semifinals of the WBC of 2010. If you can't manage to google that up....then I don't know
Oscar I dont think thats a fair assessment, Im just responding too Skyler's comment about watching and reading the right material. I search literally everyday for new sources of material that I can be trained from, Ive read quit a few different books on origin, palate, history, business, and anything else I could find that just had to do with coffee and espresso (and that I could afford). Also I spend a lot of time on Barista Exchange reading discussions trying to learn from the things that people are suggesting and talking about and I do the same with a few other websites.

The problem with all of this is its like searching for a needle in a haystack, the majority of the material I read has little to do with really anything. What I am asking for is the resources that have made a significant impact in your life as a barista and coffee lover.
sorry for sounding rude Jonathan but I read many pieces of great advice in this thread and you find reasons for almost every one of them why you can not do it. If you want something bad enough you will find your ways of achieving it, no matter where you are located, no matter how little money you have. First you need to make up your mind about WHAT you wanna learn though.....
Im not so sure thats true, I just don't have the ability to travel at the moment. A lot of suggestion revolve around that. However some of the other suggestion that were more localized I have pursued like calling up a coffee shop that I really respect here and seeing if I could spend time with their baristas so that the gaps in my training and practicing could begin to get filled and so that I could move towards better performance. I took your suggestion of studying the Barista Competitions, which I sorta did before but now Im watching and rewatching and practicing what Im seeing more hardcore then before.

Im trying Oscar haha I really am man.
Cool! I am going through all this myself too at the moment: loads of watching, practicing, tasting, discussing, reading etc......Fun!
I suggest that you set some very specific goals and seek out resources (other shops, the best barista you can find, on-line discussions and videos, etc.) for one targeted goal at a time.

Instead of trying to work at another coffee shop, offer to pay their "best" barista to train you on your equipment, in your shop. If he/she is making $10/hour at their regular job, offer to pay him/her $20/hour to train you when they are not working. I would be upfront with their boss, and reassure the boss that you are not trying to steal a good employee, but reassure the boss that you just want to improve your skills.

If you want to learn latte art, there are lotss of competition (and other) videos to watch. There are also training DVD's available for sale. Set a budget and get to work. You can make a lot of mistakes with $50 worth of coffee and milk. Then practice, practice, practice.

When you have achieved a satisfactory level (whatever that is to you) for this goal, select another goal and get to work.

Maybe not as fast as a hands-on training class, but a lot cheaper than travel and class fees.

Ron, the Country Guy
You know what I've found to be a great source for information regarding espresso extraction? Check out the stuff over here. The people over there are doing lots of work on perfecting extractions, and have put together a nice little library of material. Gotta remember that their focus is on home espresso extraction, so some of their tips are kinda impractical for a working barista... but there's a huge wealth of info in the dark depths of their server.
Haha Im not sure anyone in Utah makes 10$ an hour as a Barista in salary alone but that would be nice. Ill make sure I do that when talking to the shops owners though.

Ron what DVDS do you suggest Ive seen a few out there but reviews are limited but "Training with Champions" looked like a good one and Esspresso 101 Ive seen a few times, what have you watched that worked well?

Thanks for the site Brady Ill check it out and see what I can find.
BGA Camp is coming up in October. It's in southern California, which is a bit of a drive, but trust me when I say it will be well worth it. There will basically be two levels of classes, so you are sure to find something to learn. It is some of the most affordable hands on barista training you can find, surrounded by serious coffee-geeky professionals for three days. Keep your eyes on the BGA site for more info coming up soon.

Jonathan Morrison said:
I spend alot of time on the BGA site Id love to go to one of their classes but none of them are in my area and again I just don't have the money to travel and attend a class *tear*.

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