When it comes to training to be a Barista, there’s nothing like getting hands-on experience in a coffee shop to really get the hang of making coffee in a crowded space. But before you can actually go there and start wearing the hat (or apron) of a barista, you’ll need to hammer into your head all the knowledge that you need to make all kinds of coffee without making any type of mistake that could get you reprimanded by an angry customer.
But finding a course that gives you what you need is not as easy as it sounds. Most courses out there -apart from being expensive- are only given once every few months- usually by coffee shops where the teacher is the place’s most senior barista, and the amount of people they can take is small. And, if you’re ever taken one of these courses, you’ll be disappointed by the lack of hands-on teaching that goes on; and it’s reasonable. If they let each and every one of the students play around with the equipment until they’re familiar with it… Well, that would take way too long.
Fortunately for us, the amount and quality of online resources for aspiring baristas has seen a steady increase in the last couple of years. While there’s always been a lot of information out there in the form of books, articles, and so on, there’s always been a real lack of barista-specific content. Most of what’s out there contains a little bit of everything that’s related to coffee; coffee growing, coffee roasting– and while it’s great to learn about all kinds of coffee-related stuff, what you really want at first is to start making good coffee, to get in there and make a mess until you can churn out all kinds of coffee.
So, we set out to find some of the best barista courses that we could find online. Here’s what we found.
1. Barista Hustle
No doubt the best place to get barista training on the internet. Founded by a two-time world champion barista (Matt Perger), Barista Hustle is comprised of a very small, yet highly capable team that works toward offering high-quality Barista-specific training. Their site offers either each course individually or a format that allows you to view materials online by subscribing- a monthly subscription that is significantly cheaper than the complete course.
Their subscriptions also offer biweekly newsletters which might include valuable educational material.
Right now they offer seven different courses; let’s see what each of them is all about, starting by the most relevant of all seven: the Barista One course.
2. Barista One
The perfect course for new baristas, the Barista One is made up of seven chapters, every one of which will cover a different topic. It’s a course that teaches you everything to do with making espresso and, perhaps more importantly, how to be a professional when you’re working behind the counter.
All lessons are taught by Matt Perger, the CEO himself, who aside from being a world champion is also an accomplished writer. These include over 40 educational videos and 50 individual lessons to which you will have unlimited, lifetime access upon purchasing the course. Not a bad deal at all!
After completion, you will take a test. After you pass this test, a certification will be issued- this certification can be shared online with employers and is also printable.
3. Advanced Coffee Making
For Baristas that already have a firm grasp on the basic techniques of coffee making who wouldn’t benefit as much from a course like the Barista One (though we still suggest you take it even if you have some basic knowledge) then this ACM course is the best thing you could invest your time and money in.
This course offers to give you a more technical understanding of how to make better coffee- rather than simply giving tips based on empirical evidence, this course major focuses on the science: hard figures and scientifically tested ways to start improving your coffee.
Don’t start sweating just yet: The course comes with 26 in-depth videos that will help you understand all of the difficult stuff- they make it really easy to learn. There’s also more than 70 individual lessons, and some practical exercises made so you can test some of the science on your own- which is the important and fun part.
4. Online Barista Training
This online platform was founded by Bruce Miletto, who’s been an insider in the world of coffee for over two decades. His expertise has been acknowledged and quoted in papers like The New York Times, Forbes, and others.
The premise of Online Barista Training is to train baristas, remotely, on an individual level with a lot of practical lessons that will enable them to do their work effectively and professionally— to put them up to the most professional of industry standards.
They offer two different courses in the format of memberships:
Individual Barista Membership
This membership will grant you access for only one person, and it focuses on comprehensive barista education. As a plus, you’ll have access to any new videos that come out– plus other related materials like webinars and other updated content.
Let’s take a peek at what their curriculum offers:
- Barista Terminology
- Espresso Preparation
- Milk Steaming
- Latte Art Training
- Workstation Cleaning
- Manual Coffee Brewing
Among a few others. This membership costs 49.95$ the first three months; after that, you’ll pay 14.95$ a month. Not a bad deal, if you ask us. Plus, their Certificate of Completion is widely recognized in the US by many official coffee associations, and being in possession of one of these means you’ll instantly be recognized as a well-trained Barista.
Coffee Retailer Membership
An ideal choice for any coffee shop owner, this membership provides you with one retailer account that’s packed with business and management resources plus 15 employee accounts so that they can get training and access to all kinds of content that will make them better baristas.
Some of the items in this curriculum are:
- Menu Planning
- Beverage Cost Analysis
- Efficiency and Controls
- Employee Relations and Culture
- Strategic Planning
And more. Though this membership is great for coffee shop owners, you’ve got to take into account that it’ll also enable you to better train your employees: It’s both a tool to train yourself as better management and a tool to train your employees as better baristas. This course also offers a Certificate of Completion.
5. Virtual College’s Barista Training Course
Virtual College is Britain’s most-loved website for learning at a professional level. With a seriously impressive record of awards for their commitment and outstanding services, they offer an exclusive certification service that is internationally recognized.
Their Barista Training Course is one of the best ones we found out there for people who have yet to decide whether they’re sure they want to put in the time and effort to become a Barista. This is because the course is very cheap compared to most other online Barista courses and it is also quite short: There is a lot of information but it has been condensed so that you can get a taste of all the things that you will be needing to learn when becoming a Barista.
With this course, you’re sure to get a working knowledge in a very short amount of time. It will leave you confident in what you’ve just learned, but with a hunger for more. It is truly the best entry-level course online.
Upon completion of this course, you are awarded a digital certificate!
This website was founded back in 2012. Although the website itself is a little hard to navigate and can be annoying to go through the courses, the quality of their educational content is very good.
They offer a wide range of online courses -all of them relating to coffee- as well as some courses that take place in the real world (whatever that is). They’ve built up quite a reputation in the US and are recognized by some of the more online savvy baristas.
Here are some courses that we liked:
Art of Blending
The practice of Blending is pretty alien to most beginner baristas, but as you start taking on more and more responsibilities, you’ll find that knowledge of how to blend and why is very useful and in some cases necessary.
The course’s curriculum includes topics such as:
- Coffee Blending Theory
- The Blending Protocol
- Pre-Blending vs Post-Blending
- Creating the Blends
7. Coffee Quality Analysis
If you don’t want to quickly hit a plateau in your barista training, you are going to need to understand and identify good coffee. This is why courses like this are made. There are many old, true and tested ways to tell the quality of each coffee: Some baristas are content with just tasting their coffee and their friends’ opinion, yet a more serious, professional approach is needed.
This course will teach you how to correctly taste coffee’s quality -the Cupping- and further go into detail about identifying each of the elements that make up a coffee’s flavor and aroma.
Some items on this courses’ curriculum:
- Taste and Aroma Wheel
- Physiology of Smelling
- Physiology of Tasting
- Cupping: The Rationale for Cupping Coffee
- Cupping: The Protocol
Among others. Like other courses on this website, you will receive a certificate of completion (provided you’re able to pass the three quizzes at the end of the course) which will officially recognize you as versed in the practice of Cupping.
Bonus Method: Self-Teaching
Lastly, if you’re an aspiring barista but can’t splurge on an expensive online course, there are still many ways that you can exploit the online world for a lot of knowledge that will help you hone a lot of skills that will put you on the path to becoming a barista– at least until you can get some formal training.
Obvious, isn’t it? The tricky part, actually, is finding good videos. You’ll want to focus on specific brewing methods so that you don’t spend precious time going through horrible videos that don’t really show anything. Search how to make, for example, French Press coffee. Don’t try to learn anything too advanced here, because you’ll only end up confused and exhausted.
There are plenty of eBooks out there that contain practical advice to make good coffee and therefore to become a better barista. Of course, you’ll have to pick and choose the information that really applies to just Barista Training, whereas the whole point of a course is to skip all of the irrelevant information and cut straight to the chase.
We’ve even written an eBook of our own that we’re sure will prove useful to all of you who want to learn about coffee and how to improve the quality of the coffee you’re already making.
Sneak a peek at a barista training book from Amazon, here.
As you can see, becoming a Barista is no easy feat. Though many people do learn how to work the espresso machine and make latte art, this is but a phony shadow of what a real barista is– which, more than posturing by creating intricate latte art and buying sophisticated equipment they’ll never use more than a few times, a barista is someone that makes an effort to learn things about coffee that go well beyond what you can see or taste; to learn the ridiculously small things that affect a coffee’s taste and aroma, and to learn to affect those things for good.
A barista is also someone who knows about all aspects of coffee, even those that aren’t really incumbent to their trade; though one particular barista works only behind the counter making coffee, it is important that he also knows at least the most basic things about coffee growing, processing and roasting– because you need to be involved in the whole life cycle of your coffee. Also, knowing all the equipment you need for a barista station is a must, but that’s a story for another article.
So, take a deep breath and submerge yourself entirely in the world of coffee, because we believe that is the only way for you to get the hang of this.