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Barista Training

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  • Barista Training

    Hi there,

    Im looking for some feedback or advice regarding barista training available in Melbourne. basically Im a snob in training looking for some hands on action with a view to pursuing a career in the cafe industry, or not if its not for me. Id like at least to be able to make a decent cuppa when visitors pop in.

    I know of 4 sources found from the usual internet based searches, including 2 sponsors here on the board. Has anyone completed training in a similar environment? Did it meet your expectations? What would you do now?

    Or if you got started another way and you think it was great, let me know.


  • #2
    Re: Barista Training

    William Angliss TAFE does several coffee courses. I did a couple last year, and they were fantastic.

    They also have just a basic course for those who want to learn coffee for home.

    I have certificates for Prepare and Serve Espresso coffee which is a nationally recognised course.

    Learning at home with your own machine and grinder, is still one of the best ways! And the more practice you have the better you become.



    • #3
      Re: Barista Training

      I think that there are a few different ways of getting training and experience:
      *Basic courses;
      *Work experience;
      *Advanced courses.

      Talk Coffee, William Angliss, Veneziano, Makin Espresso and, I think, Genovese all offer courses that should take you from knowing not very much at all to having a reasonable level of competence pretty quickly. I did the "Prepare and Serve" course at William Angliss with Chris, now of Talk Coffee, as my examiner and am very happy to say that you wont be disappointed with either. I also worked at Veneziano with Dave of Makin Espresso and am very happy to say that you wont be disappointed with either of them. So you are lucky to be in Melbourne!

      In terms of the high end cafes, I didnt actually find that having a TAFE certificate made it any easier to get a job. Most were concerned with what experience I had and I dont think that many really cared about any training that I had done. I think that times have changed a little now in that the whole high end coffee community is much more close knit and would probably have more respect for courses run by the businesses above than when I started. Certainly, as long as your course isnt run by someone who preaches spatulas and stencils, you wont be doing yourself any harm.

      Actual work experience is essential after introductory training. You only really learn by repetition, and the cafe environment will certainly have you repeating your espresso fundamentals! It also helps to work with another really good barista, as you will learn heaps from them. Especially if you manage to find one of the dudes that has a good grasp of variables in espresso. Ask around at as many of the top places as you can find; most of the top dudes talk to each other and may be able to refer you to someone else. But dont waste their time unless you are prepared to put in the hard yards for their business, which will include doing non-barista stuff. Cafes need staff who are team players. Coffee roasteries are also good places to ask for work; whilst they may not need another barista, they can probably refer you through to one of their accounts.

      Advanced courses can be a good way to get up to speed with ... well ... advanced topics. Latte art courses tend to be relatively cheap and are great bang for your buck. William Angliss has a history of getting really good trainers with lots of experience in cafes - Simon James is one of the godfathers of the rosetta in Melbourne and used to run it; I think that Kirby from Maling Room is doing at least some of the courses now. Makin is also an extremely good latte artist and I found his pointers whilst behind the machine at work to be very useful.




      • #4
        Re: Barista Training

        Let me add a little to all the good stuff that Luca wrote above.

        I was out of work for a year back in 2006/07.
        I talked myself into a barista position in a small place near home.

        As Luca said, the owner wasnt interested in me initially because I had zero commercial experience; he didnt care about the course Id done.
        As I said though, I talked myself into the position.

        Ive worked in food before; firstly with my father in take-aways and delis and later at Pizza Hut where I progressed to Duty Manager.

        I did those things because I had to not because I wanted to.
        I had a young family to support so worked at least two jobs for over 70 hours a week.

        I worked in the cafe in 2007 because after 12 months out of work almost anything will do.

        I know I can do it but also know I choose not to.
        I wanted to prove to myself (and the owner) that I could handle the commercial pace.

        Youve already said you want to know if its for you or not.
        So my advice is to get yourself a position and see if you can put up with the total package.

        Its not all smiling at the pretty girls and making then a soy chai late.

        Theres clearing tables, sweeping and mopping floors and washing dishes etc.

        Some people are cut out for it and some arent but youll never know if you dont give it a go