stevendouglas wrote:Did it dramatically improve your espresso, caps, latte art?
The value of quality hands-on instruction cannot be overstated. A good instructor can compress into a few hours what is equivalent to several months of self-study, especially for the beginner to intermediate level. For the advantage barista, I'm less confident that general courses will prove helpful. It would depend on the class size and the willingness of the instructor to address students' specific questions. My barista education has been a combination of self-study, online forums, volunteering as competition judge, and the regular espresso labs at Counter Culture Coffee (now going on my fourth year there every Friday (!)).
One of my biggest "ah ha" moments was at EspressoFest 2004
, sponsored by Counter Culture Coffee. Five minutes of hands-on instruction with Chris Deferio broke through my latte art barrier. The next EspressoFest 2006
eclipsed the first in terms of the depth and breath of the topics covered. It was my highlight of the SCAA show. Maybe it's time for EspressoFest 2008?
The threads Professional training for the non-professional
and Barista training needed
offer other suggestions. What may work best for you is local roasters who have facilities and staff willing to work with consumers on an adhoc basis like Counter Culture, vendors offering classes (e.g., Great Infusions has home barista classes), or organizing your own barista jams. CoffeeGeek has regional forums that are good for hooking up with locals.
Advertisement for Great Infusions' home barista class