Barista skills

Whether you are a coffee lover or an operator looking to be qualified to stand out from the crowd, or an experienced barista who tries to take your skills to next level, you have made the right choice!

This pathway Barista Skills by SCA is divided into three different levels:

  • Foundation

    Learn the essential barista skills to get you started on your barista career. The course focuses on the key skills required to set your grinder, make espresso, and foam and texture milk for cappuccinos. The course also touches on some basic information on the daily care of your equipment. This session is ideally suited to people new to the coffee industry or those looking to gain an insight into the broad subject matter of Barista Skills. No previous barista experience is required.

  • Intermediate

    It is recommended that you have some experience of working in this field before attempting this level or have successfully passed Barista Skills Foundation.
    Established baristas may want to start at Intermediate Level.

    The course starts with deeper understanding of the coffee itself; its varieties, origins and processing methods and how they impact on flavour. It then builds on the Foundation level making sure baristas can calibrate the quantity of coffee used, the grind texture, the water quantity and the shot time, to produce a desired espresso brew recipe.

    We start to look how these parameters can lead to a “balanced” espresso and make sure the barista can identify acidity, sweetness and bitterness within different parts of the espresso extraction.

    Milk techniques are also developed with the baristas needing to produce a couple of drinks with a latte art pattern. To reflect the need for both speed and quality, the barista will learn to work efficiently, making an order of drinks while maintaining good procedure and drink quality.

    The baristas will learn more about their equipment, such as the pros and cons of different styles of grinder, how to plan their work space, and basic care and maintenance.

  • Professional

    The Barista Skills Professional course should be taken by baristas with considerable experience, having also completed the Intermediate qualification. It takes both a scientific and managerial perspective to coffee and making espresso-based drinks.

    Coffee contains many possible flavors, aromas and textures due to the complex range of acids, sugars and bitter compounds it contains. Every bean offers different possibilities to the barista based on its variety, origin, processing and roast.
    However, it is up to the barista to unlock this potential using the tools at their disposal, such as, dose, grind texture, water temperature and quantity and pressure.

    This course looks at the science of how espresso extracts and how to use this knowledge to get the most from beans of different styles. It looks at modern ways of evaluating extraction through measuring TDS, extraction percentages, and expressing this through espresso brew formulas.

    In addition, the course covers baristas’ awareness of the constituent compounds of coffee, recognizing different organic acids, and understanding how roasting affects the potential flavours and dissolvable solids available for our final espresso.

    A similar scientific approach is taken with the other of our main ingredients, milk, understanding its make up and processing methods, and ultimately what may lead to problems foaming it.

    Baristas will learn how to maximize their drink quality through mastering their milk techniques, and should be able to coach improvements in others. A mastery of latte art to complete two different patterns will be required for the final exam.

    Water is also studied: How to test your supply, understand what filter equipment is required, and ultimately how water quality affects your drinks.
    Baristas will learn of the new advancements in espresso equipment and be prepared to make informed choices when purchasing machines and grinders.
    They will also learn how to carry out basic maintenance procedures such as replacing grinder burrs, showers and seals.

    Managerial aspects of running a good café are also considered, such as planning your café layout, managing your customer service, dealing with customer complaints, and also calculating your profitability.

Duration: Foundation, 7 hours on a single day (including exam) - Difficulty: *** on *****
Intermediate, 15 hours two days (including exam) - Difficulty: **** on *****
Professional, 23 hours in three days (including exam) - Difficulty: ***** on *****