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Thread: Barista Certification

  1. #1
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    Barista Certification

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi All,
    Frustration has brought to this point on finding out what the concensus is of the following:

    Do people who work behind a few thousand dollar machine to make a beverage which can be very difficult to get right, need to be Certified in a National program?

    Firstly, I am not a Barista by occupation but I have done a extensive coffee training course which was over 30 contact hours a few years ago. *I also have 24 K7 coffee trees in the ground at Mt Tamborine in the gold coast hinterland and Have bought green beans from this magic site over the years.

    I have been very frustrated that I we need to dicuss which coffee shop makes a good coffee where if the Baristas all had the same level of training from a natianal training program, there would be some expectation then on the final result.

    I have been called a "Coffeesnob" in that I am too picky but if the people who have some idea cannot find a good coffee, what chance to the general public have?

    I have a Sunbeam 6900R with the Cafe Series Grinder and much rather my coffees to what I spend my hard earned money on.

    For those Baristas out there, I would really like to hear from your perspective on this issue. *Do you seen dodgy practises and do you think that Baristas in general understand what to look for and how to change the grinder etc ?

    I look forward to your responses on this issue. *I only want to make this industry stronger....

  2. #2
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Barista Certification!!!

    In an ideal world theyd all have the same training level to start with but unfortunately they dont and arent required to have a nationaly recognised certificate.

    I use a 6910 here at the telco I work at and agree that my coffee made on it is superior to anything within cooee.

    IMO the general public dont know what a good coffee is.
    Therein lies your problem.




    (Im not working as a barista, but have, and my barista certification is not nationally recognised.)


    P.S. I have 2 trees.

  3. #3
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    Re: Barista Certification!!!

    I am currently doing some work as a barista. I HAVE done a (crappy - but it was a gift) short course, AND I got a piece of paper from tafe for it. It was terrible! Any n00b could pay the money and get a certificate.
    My current employer doesnt give two hoots about said course or the certificate - and I dont think any good espresso joints would either.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thundergod link=1225329722/0#1 date=1225333118

    IMO the general public dont know what a good coffee is.
    Therein lies your problem.
    Yep. That is probably the BIG problem.

  4. #4
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    Re: Barista Certification!!!

    The problem with certifications is the credibility of the body that does the certifying.

    There is a TAFE certification, which I have and which I can tell you is no guarantee of good coffee. It does, however, mean that you at least have a hope of getting the basics.

    AASCA has mooted introducing a certification in the past and I think that that is crawling along. The last that I heard, one of the ideas was that the certification could be achieved by getting certain scores in a barista comp or by paying to sit a test. That strikes me as a relatively fantastic idea, as comps are probably the only time when baristi are judged by a wide cross-section of industry professionals whose palates have been calibrated and who are independent. Maybe the certification could be awarded to baristi who get 4 or above for both their espresso and their cappuccino courses.

    This would be the first "certification" in Australia, to my knoweldge, that you did not get as a result of doing a course. Rather, it would test what you already know. Also, AASCA hardly cares if the certification isnt a success, whereas it is in the interests of businesses giving certifications to set the standard at such a level that the people paying money actually achieve it. Whilst the general level in Australia has been improving, I still wouldnt want to drink what most baristi serve, regardless of the fact that they are standing behind a Synezocco FBesso Fasteroza with Crushtec Conical grinder and FreshCo beans. It would be nice to have a certification at a very high standard that people actually had to work to achieve.

    One of the many issues to consider with certification is whether it should be done on a barista or a cafe level. If you do it on a barista level, you would think that any cafe would display any worthwhile certifications that had been earned, but if another barista is on, the public might be misled into thinking that that barista was certified. If you do it on a cafe level, you avoid that problem, but very good baristi with worse colleagues miss out. Perhaps a solution would be to put the baristas photo on the certification?

    Cheers,

    Luca

  5. #5
    mwatt
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    Re: Barista Certification!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by luca link=1225329722/0#3 date=1225334735
    The problem with certifications is the credibility of the body that does the certifying.

    There is a TAFE certification, which I have and which I can tell you is no guarantee of good coffee. *It does, however, mean that you at least have a hope of getting the basics.

    AASCA has mooted introducing a certification in the past and I think that that is crawling along. *The last that I heard, one of the ideas was that the certification could be achieved by getting certain scores in a barista comp or by paying to sit a test. *That strikes me as a relatively fantastic idea, as comps are probably the only time when baristi are judged by a wide cross-section of industry professionals whose palates have been calibrated and who are independent. *Maybe the certification could be awarded to baristi who get 4 or above for both their espresso and their cappuccino courses.

    This would be the first "certification" in Australia, to my knoweldge, that you did not get as a result of doing a course. *Rather, it would test what you already know. *Also, AASCA hardly cares if the certification isnt a success, whereas it is in the interests of businesses giving certifications to set the standard at such a level that the people paying money actually achieve it. *Whilst the general level in Australia has been improving, I still wouldnt want to drink what most baristi serve, regardless of the fact that they are standing behind a Synezocco FBesso Fasteroza with Crushtec Conical grinder and FreshCo beans. *It would be nice to have a certification at a very high standard that people actually had to work to achieve. *

    One of the many issues to consider with certification is whether it should be done on a barista or a cafe level. *If you do it on a barista level, you would think that any cafe would display any worthwhile certifications that had been earned, but if another barista is on, the public might be misled into thinking that that barista was certified. *If you do it on a cafe level, you avoid that problem, but very good baristi with worse colleagues miss out. *Perhaps a solution would be to put the baristas photo on the certification?

    Cheers,

    Luca
    Well, thats one way of increasing the attendance at Barista Comps ;)

  6. #6
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Barista Certification!!!

    Well I felt like getting up and making a few coffees at the last NSW one.
    I could have killed two birds with one stone if theyd have given me a nationally recognised barista certificate afterwards.

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    Re: Barista Certification!!!

    I think the comps are not the best way to go as there are hundreds of cafes, resturants and bars around the country which would make the comps HUGE.

    I am in the IT industry so with the analogy of Microsoft certs, these are created by Microsoft, a central body, which all certification centres use around the country.

    I am wanting to protect all the work done from the bean -> roast before these unlearned people sell this product which is where the general public get their ideas about coffee from.

    If the Baristas are not trained properly, then why bother with the top end machines, roasting processes, packaging etc etc etc??

    Any baristas have any comments?

  8. #8
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    Re: Barista Certification!!!

    Were talking about different things. Both minimum and high level certifications are useful.

    I am wanting to protect all the work done from the bean -> roast before these unlearned people sell this product which is where the general public get their ideas about coffee from.
    What you are talking about here is a minimum level certification. That already exists in the form of the TAFE certification. Maybe it could be improved. The food equivalent of this, I guess, would be getting a 10/20 in something like the Age Good Food Guide or graduating from a culinary school.

    Maybe the certification could be awarded to baristi who get 4 or above for both their espresso and their cappuccino courses.
    This is a high level certification. The food equivalent would be something like getting a chefs hat in the Age Good Food Guide or getting a Michelin Star.

    I think the comps are not the best way to go as there are hundreds of cafes, resturants and bars around the country which would make the comps HUGE.
    These are details that can be worked out later. If theres that much demand for it, AASCA could run certification workshops independent of the comps. But I doubt that there are that many cafes, restaurants and bars with staff who are actually up to the challenge of getting a 4+ average in barista comps. If there are, then one possible solution would be to raise it to 4.5+.

    If the Baristas are not trained properly, then why bother with the top end machines, roasting processes, packaging etc etc etc??

    Any baristas have any comments?
    I agree. Perhaps the TAFE accreditation could be worked on? Or perhaps there could be some sort of independently administered exam/test?

    One very good reason to bother with top end machines, etc, is purely to market to people who are interested in specialty coffee. I dont know how well it works, but Im constantly reading reviews online from people who just lap it up whenever someone has an expensive machine, coffee from a roaster that is supposed to be good and drops a few buzz words. The other week, I had a terrible espresso at a place with an expensive espresso fitout and a barista who was on the ball enough to throw "clover" around as a buzz word. As I walked out, I saw their robur from another angle ... the dosing chamber was FULL. I prefer not to name and shame, but I think that if you talk the talk and then deliver terrible coffee with a full dosing chamber, you are contradicting the impression that you put forward to the consumer and that invites correction.

    Cheers,

    Luca

  9. #9
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    Re: Barista Certification!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by luca link=1225329722/0#3 date=1225334735
    The problem with certifications is the credibility of the body that does the certifying.
    *snip*
    Cheers,

    Luca
    I wish that were true. Unfortunately, NOTHING guarantees good coffee, just like high quality training, national accreditation, and professional monitoring cannot guarantee good medical practices.

    Some people care and do a good job without qualifications or accreditation, and others dont care and do a lousy job despite qualifications and accreditation.

    "Ya pays ya money and ya takes ya chances."

    Greg

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    Re: Barista Certification!!!

    the other problem is motivation.
    speaking as a barista (who has no formal training), every job that i have succesfully applied for, involved me pulling a few shots and making milk... furthermore, i wouldnt hire anyone to work with me that i hadnt seen behind a coffee machine.

    herein lies the problem, if there is no need to get accreditation to get a job, why bother with accreditation?
    and if you are a cafe owner who cares about quality, youll want to see your applicants perform.

    this is not to say i dont support some sort of grading/ certification/ measure of quality, i just agree with Greg that there is no gaurantee of good coffee.

  11. #11
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Barista Certification!!!

    Also agree.
    Im an auditor and have wondered many a time at how some places Ive visited had previously attained certification.
    There current standards were so bad I couldnt imagine how bad theyd gotten since their last review.

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    Re: Barista Certification!!!

    Ive worked at three places and ant twice as many. Nobody has looked at certification when hiring from our past experience. Just how you get along with people, how quickly you make coffee, how well you make it and if you get smelled out as a machine hog you get snapped for it because the bosses tend to need cafe all rounders.

  13. #13
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    Re: Barista Certification!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by GregWormald link=1225329722/0#8 date=1225357357
    Quote Originally Posted by luca link=1225329722/0#3 date=1225334735
    The problem with certifications is the credibility of the body that does the certifying.
    *snip*
    Cheers,

    Luca
    I wish that were true. Unfortunately, NOTHING guarantees good coffee, just like high quality training, national accreditation, and professional monitoring cannot guarantee good medical practices.

    Some people care and do a good job without qualifications or accreditation, and others dont care and do a lousy job despite qualifications and accreditation.

    "Ya pays ya money and ya takes ya chances."

    Greg
    Three Michelin stars doesnt guarantee you a great dining experience, a 95/100 from Halliday doesnt guarantee that youre going to enjoy the wine, an entry in Chambers global doesnt guarantee that your lawyer is going to win the case, a nobel prize doesnt guarantee that the laureate is worth employing, long blond hair and breasts dont guarantee that she is a she and an entry in the yellow pages doesnt guarantee that the business is still there.

    I fail to see your point. I dont think that Australia is about to abandon medical training, monitoring and accreditation just because it isnt a guarantee of anything. Youre not going to have someone standing there drinking what comes out of one spout of every shot of a portafilter to make sure that the other side is OK for you and, even then, its conceivable that the two could taste different.

    Having any of these things doesnt challenge your principle that "ya pays ya money and ya takes ya chances" - all that they do is to change what those chances are. The big reason why reviews, accreditations, etc, dont seem to have improved everyones chances of deliciousness significantly is because they arent meaningful assessments conferred by a credible body.

    Cheers,

    Luca

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    Re: Barista Certification

    Quote Originally Posted by soupy link=1225329722/0#9 date=1225360969
    herein lies the problem, if there is no need to get accreditation to get a job, why *bother with accreditation?
    Fundamentally important point here. Surely if you are good enough to maintain a 4+ avg, you are not going to have any troubles getting a job and the accreditation then becomes a mere personal achievement. Perhaps from the perspective of your Jo Shmo cafe owner with 20 resumes on their desk, culling the ones that dont have accreditation might be their starting point. But it comes back to the first point, that if you are good enough to have that 4+ avg, you wont be another resume on their desk - you will be their first pick. Besides, most baristas dont need a certificate to blow their own horns.

  15. #15
    TC
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    Re: Barista Certification

    For me, back in the dark ol days when I was employing hospitality staff, I was interested to see if potentials had completed some sort of course.

    My thinking was that this at least might indicate some sort of readiness to learn and perhaps even a modicum of literacy...

    As others have said, there are good courses out there and other courses are perhaps more "average". What was important to me were team players who were committed to producing a very good coffee and doing so consistently.

    One thing that always amazed me was the high proportion of those looking for a gig at the machine who didnt drink coffee....They went straight to the circular file ;)

    Chris

  16. #16
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Barista Certification

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    I agree with Chris.
    Getting a certification shows a level of keenness and pride in ones abilities.

    I have lots of different certificates.
    One of them is my Level 1 Coaching Certificate.
    I could run a karate school without one but prefer to show potential students that I have a level of professionalism that has been independently verified.



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