Barista Training Session – Sept 2012

As our business grows, so too does the need to make consistently good coffee, regardless of who is making it on any given day.

So last week saw another or our in-house barista training sessions with four of our up and coming coffee ninjas!

Mia, Vicky, Amy and Becky all attended, with a view to getting their ‘coffee wings’ to start making coffee at Stray’s. The session lasted two hours and after a little coffee theory and history, we got down to the ‘nitty-gritty’ of making the coffees.

We started with a brief intro into the origins of coffee, how it’s blended to make our Stray’s blend and a few other facts and figures that the girls needed to know. This was followed by going through what appears to be a simple espresso.

The first stage was the subtle art of the coffee grinder. Without the correct grind setting, the coffee would be either too coarse or too fine. After playing with that for a few minutes and testing the girls with fake scenarios, we moved on to the next stage – after realising that 40lbs of pressure by hand is fairly easy to measure, we practised tamping our grind correctly to control extraction of our golden wonder!

I’m excited to learn more now. After cracking two drinks at once, I’m quite impressed with myself! – Mia

After a few espressos, we moved onto milk and how to treat it. The first thing is to remember who’s boss! With all the hissing and bubbling, it can be a little intimidating at first, but once our trainee baristas had established that in fact, they were in charge, we had a go at steaming milk for caffe latte.  After that, we went through the finer art of frothing milk for cappuccino.

The cappuccino pour is, in some ways more difficult than latte as there is less time to do it. There were some surprises on the night, not least Amy’s latte art and Becky’s great Mocha art. And Mia was the first to put together a combined order of a regular latte and small cappuccino in the right order and within the time limit.

One drink is fine – it’s when they’re coming 20 at a time that I realise what the Stray’s baristas are really made of! – Vicky

What was very interesting too was the impact the process has had on the way the newbies appreciate the job of Barista at Stray’s.

Kat Beck is a legend – it’s scary to see what needs doing, just to make up one order! – Becky

After being initially frustrated with the challenge of actually steaming milk to produce a decent latte, the new trainees are really shaping up. It’s going to be great, putting them through their paces over the next six weeks to see who’ll be able to take up the next post as fully fledged Stray’s Barista.

At last, I can make a good cappuccino and my latte art is starting to work – Amy

All four achieved their first level Barista certificates so you’ll be seeing more of them behind the servery when you order your next coffee at Stray’s and if they’re looking stressed, spare a thought for them – they have to work with me!


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