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TRAIN TO BE THE BEST

The Speciality Coffee Association recently contacted Dan Lacey to contribute to their Daily Edition newspaper for World of Coffee 2017. They wanted to get his perspective on the importance of coffee education. It seemed like a great opportunity to shine a light on our long term collaboration with Boston Tea Party and the fact that all of their baristas receive SCA accredited training, here, in the roastery.

Here's the article that will be going out at World of Coffee, we didn't want just the attendees to get a look at it.

At it’s best, coffee education can transform a business. It inspires and engages employees, and it enhances customer loyalty and experience. Developing, retaining and attracting talent. All these things are accepted as vital for business growth and success. So why is formally recognised training so often treated as an afterthought or a ‘nice to have’?

So often in hospitality I’ve seen budding baristas put in charge of coffee service with little to no knowledge or guidance. The resulting coffee is often terrible. Customers get disenfranchised, baristas become demotivated, and growers and roasters don’t get the respect that their carefully produced coffee deserves.

The question is, is it really fair to expect baristas to make great coffee without the knowledge, skills and time to practice? Those of us who work in coffee understand that there’s both an art and a science to making great coffee, pouring beautiful milk and running a busy cafe. These are skills that take time to master. One business championing coffee education is Boston Tea Party, a group of twenty-strong cafes which puts every barista through SCA Foundation Level training as standard.

Having worked together since 2011, last year Extract Coffee Roasters and Boston Tea Party embarked on an ambitious project which has since seen over 100 baristas – an entire workforce – receive SCA Foundation Level qualifications in just under nine months. What’s more, with the support of Extract Coffee Roasters, eight have since gone on to complete intermediate training, with another 12 scheduled in for the second half of the year.

“We have been able to raise our coffee game through committing to the SCA programme. Our baristas are given training to emphasise the importance of consistency, how to achieve it in the heat of service and are shown a pathway into coffee as a career. By investing in our team we retain quality at our core as people work their way through our organisation.

We provide a better experience for our customers and believe that through a greater understanding of the role of a barista you can increase value for them too. Extract Coffee Roasters and Boston Tea Party share the ideals of quality and education being at the centre of everything we do.”
Simon Buckingham – Group Drinks Trainer

So why does investing in formalised training work? Taking a new starter out of their busy cafe environment, and into a dedicated learning space helps a new barista build appreciation for the product and for the skills required to do it justice. Furthermore, it’s an opportunity for baristas to truly understand the story behind the coffee they serve. When baristas come to Extract Coffee Roastery for training, they learn in a dedicated space in the heart of the roastery, and they watch the process unfold from start to finish. They hear the hum of the roasters, they smell the coffee roasting, and they watch beans being packed by hand.

It’s an immersive learning experience, founded on the principle that by experiencing first hand the care and passion that goes into roasting our coffee, the barista will, in turn, put the same care into making it. Investing in the SCA’s Coffee Diploma System results in a team of baristas that are professional, knowledgeable and better equipped to serve your valuable customer base.

Find out more about the different training options we offer at Extract by taking a look here.

You can also hear Dan (Extract) and Simon (Boston Tea Party) in conversation with the Training Journal. They were invited to discuss why being a good barista is about more than just making a few lattes, and what a difference training your staff properly can make.

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