Training Program

Our barista training program is designed to fully meet the needs of our clients at any and all experience levels. Whether you are opening a new café, continuing your education in the never-ending world of espresso exploration, or looking to really push the envelope and get yourself or your employees involved with barista competitions, our trainers will feed off of your needs. To set up a training session for you and/or your baristas please contact us.
Espresso 101
Espresso 101 will provide a general overview of the barista's role in the world of coffee. We will discuss our methods and techniques of espresso preparation as well as an introduction into the intricacies of milk steaming and drink building. General machine and espresso grinder upkeep is also included, its importance stressed. A hands on experience is an integral component of this class.
Class Outline
Background info:
  • History of coffee
  • Overview of processing methods
  • Espresso blend; components and roast level
  • The role of the barista

A walk-through of the Alterra roasting facility:
  • Green beans
  • The roasting process

Transition into the hands-on experience:
  • The espresso machine: what it is and how it works
  • The espresso grinder: what it is and how it works
  • Work station: other notable tools and arrangement
  • Extracting espresso:
    • Grinding and dosing techniques
    • Leveling techniques
    • Tamping technique
    • Shot times and volumes
    • Adjusting the grind
  • Steaming milk:
    • Steam wand care
    • Theory
    • Repeatable practices
    • Different textures: latte vs. cappuccino
  • Drink building:
    • Sizes and espresso to milk ratio
    • Pouring techniques
  • Machine upkeep and maintenance:
    • Constant cleaning practices
    • Daily cleaning practices
Advanced Espresso
Advanced Espresso will serve as a follow up to the espresso 101 offering, inviting the student to bring to the table what he or she already knows. Based on previous experience, we will discuss extended details of the elusive nuances of espresso production and fine-tune a student's ability to transform milk into a silky smooth complement to that perfect shot of espresso. Machine and grinder maintenance will also contribute to key topics of discussion.
Class Outline:
Delving deep into the espresso perfection quest begins with an espresso-specific video by David Schomer, possibly Seattle's most respected espresso authority:
  • Schomer's techniques and viewpoints
  • Discussion of the many different theories as they apply to different situations and espresso blends

Hands on training, which may include the following:
  • More detailed attention to espresso production:
    • Extremely even and consistent dosing habits
    • Extremely consistent and effective leveling technique
    • Extremely level and attentive tamping technique
    • Narrowing the range of shot times
    • Use of the naked portafilter to gauge success in these processes
    • Different basket sizes and coffee doses as they affect shot extractions
    • Attention to waste management
  • Milk steaming progress:
    • Consistency with the steaming process
    • Conquering perfect cappuccino milk
    • Attention to waste management
  • Review of the very important machine cleaning techniques
Latte Art
Latte Art is a training class with a very specific focus. If you want your baristas to pour art into the drinks they are serving, this is the class to attend. Our trainers will go over the necessary skills to steam quality milk and teach important pouring techniques for creating specific milk art patterns. Students will walk away from this session knowing what it takes to pour latte art.
Class Outline:
This class begins with a steaming and pouring-specific video by David Schomer, followed by a short segment featuring "extreme latte art" by various renowned baristas.
  • Milk steaming theory and reminders
  • Watching different pours take place
Hands on portion of the class:
  • As latte art must be considered the finishing touch on an amazing tasting espresso beverage, a review of espresso preparation techniques will come before pouring
  • Steaming technique review
  • Pouring basics: speed and pitcher position
  • Latte art patterns:
    • The soft heart
    • The hard heart
    • The rosetta
    • Advanced pours: multiple rosettas, rosetta-heart fusions, and more
Single Origin Espresso

In this 2-3 hour class, learn to appreciate the individual flavors present in espresso blend while gaining a better understanding of single-origin coffees. Our trainers will guide you through a tasting of shots pulled using coffees sourced from a variety of regions. Since most baristas spend their days with only one blend in the grinder, this is a unique opportunity to taste how an espresso blend is created and why. And since espresso has the ability to magnify a coffee’s characteristics, you can identify the nuances of the ones you try. By discussing the more complex aspects of flavor notes, acidity, roast and body you will gain a deeper appreciation for the flavors present in your cup.

Ever wonder what Kenya AA tastes like when pulled as a shot of espresso? We can tell you that it is extremely bright with a delicious citrus flavor. Don’t take our word for it though - sign up for this class and find out for yourself!