In previous blog posts we have written about some of the difficulties with growing coffee beans, but what about actually making the beverages? Have you ever thought about what kind of training and experience goes into becoming a professional level barista?
The training experience for newbie baristas can vary drastically between brands and coffee shops. At one end of the scale, at non-specialist type cafes, trainee baristas are typically given a quick crash course during quieter periods of the day, practicing making coffees for customers when the pace is a little less demanding. As they get the hang of it and they’re able to make drinks at the same kind of pace as the more experienced staff members, they are thrown in at the deep end and their training is complete. It often takes several months until these baristas are really making good coffee though, and I’m sure we’ve all experienced receiving a cappuccino that was more like a latte, or a not-so-flat flat white!
On the other side of the scale the quality of the coffee is much more highly coveted, and as such new baristas are not permitted to make beverages for customers until their skills are up to par. Often the initial training at artisan coffee shops and roasteries lasts several days, and will include some degree of shadowing of more experienced baristas to learn how to operate at a fast pace, without sacrificing the quality of the coffee. At some establishments they have an assessment that the trainee barista must pass before they can start making drinks for customers, which is a great way to protect your reputation as a top quality artisan coffee shop.
The spectrum of skill level for making coffee is just as wide as it is for the quality of the drinks themselves. Once a new barista has started down the coffee rabbit hole, they will often become obsessed with improving and making the best coffee possible. What does it really take to become world class?
You won’t find your standard chain store brews being made at the World Barista Championships, where the best of the best demonstrate their skill and creativity, with the hope of being crowned this year’s World Champion. To compete at this level coffee needs to be your passion, not just your job. At each round, the competitors present 3 drinks, an espresso, a milk based drink, and a signature beverage, and are judged by a panel of 4 sensory judges, 1 technical judge, and 1 head judge. Each competitor will have been preparing tirelessly for months for this competition, with several years of experience behind them to hone their craft.
Anyone can be a barista
We all know that it isn’t easy to hire a trained, skilled barista. WMF has a solution which enables everybody to experience being a barista without having issues with quality inconsistencies or handling difficulties. The WMF espresso automatically detects the portafilter, controls the brewing time and tamps with 100 % consistency. Everything you need for a perfect espresso, without the barista. Equipped with auto milk foaming options for all your favourite speciality coffee. If you’re fortunate enough to have an in-house barista and want to do it the old-fashioned way, there’s a manual steam arm for good measure.