Coffee Education: How Do You Pick a Course?

Coffee Education yes! But what for? And then what is next?

(written for Perfect Daily Grind)

I have read many articles about coffee education and training, however I find the information can be confusing sometimes.

Well, let us try and make it clearer and more useful in order to improve your future.

Let me introduce myself, my name is Régine, I have been a coffee trainer for several years and I became an AST (Authorised SCAE Trainer) in late January 2016. The modules I teach are Barista Skills, Brewing and Sensory Skills and in January 2017, Green Coffee.

Before you start for an SCAE course, be sure to have the right level of knowledge before applying for any course.

I have collected information that can easily be found on www.SCAE.com

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INTRODUCTION TO COFFEE

‘Introduction to Coffee’ is an ideal module for anyone who is new to the coffee industry or who just has an interest in this wonderful drink. It charts coffee’s journey from its origins in Ethiopia to the major commodity it is today, enjoyed by millions of people around the world. From farming the cherries through drying, roasting, brewing and finally drinking, this module looks at the processes that coffee goes through. This half-day course also includes a “coffee cupping” which allows you to taste the various flavours coffee has to offer.

This course can help you to choose your own pathway more wisely.

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BARISTA SKILLS

Barista Skills is for people wishing to focus on key skills required to set your grinder, make espresso and foam and texture milk for cappuccinos. This module allows you to gain a deeper understanding of the coffee itself and build on your practical skills for milk technique and latte art, not to mention health and safety, customer service and basic business.

  • Foundation 

For people new to the coffee industry and focuses on the key skills required to set your grinder, make espresso and foam and texture milk for cappuccinos.  No previous barista experience is required for this course.

  • Intermediate 

This course provides a deeper understanding of coffee itself and builds on the practical skills learnt at Foundation level. Milk techniques, including latte art, are introduced as well as health and safety, customer service and basic business. This course is suitable for people already working as baristas.

  • Professional 

This course is suitable for baristas with considerable experience who have also completed the Intermediate qualification. It takes both a scientific and managerial perspective to coffee and making espresso-based drinks.

OUTCOME: AST / management / coffee shop owner / Barista Trainer / Consultancy

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BREWING

The study of Brewing introduces you to the different ways of brewing coffee, from Chemex and Siphon to Clever dripper and French press. In addition, this module allows you to get hands-on and learn to analyse your grind profile, match your grind to your brewing method and to scientifically measure coffee strength and chart a coffee’s extraction.

  • Foundation 

This course introduces the beginner to the different ways of brewing coffee, from Chemex and Siphon to Clever dripper and French press.

  • Intermediate 

This course is very much a hands-on workshop where you will learn to analyse your grind profile, match your grind to your brewing method and to scientifically measure coffee strength and chart a coffee’s extraction.

  • Professional 

This course takes the scientific knowledge a stage further, covering the impact of temperature on brewing, acidity levels during the brewing process, the impact of water quality on coffee brewing and flavour and understanding how to chart espresso and brew within a given extraction percentage.

OUTCOME: AST / Barista Trainer / Consultancy / Competition trainer

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SENSORY SKILLS

Sensory Skills teaches you the essentials of sensory evaluation in a practical and interactive manner. It investigates the way we perceive what we taste and how to apply this knowledge when evaluating coffee’s natural characteristics. It also offers an insight into identifying speciality coffee qualities, as well as an overview of how to implement this in business.

  • Foundation 

This course covers the essentials of sensory evaluation in a practical and interactive manner. It investigates the way we perceive what we taste and how to apply this knowledge when evaluating coffee’s natural characteristics. It also offers an introduction to identifying speciality coffee qualities, as well as an overview of how to implement this in business.

  • Intermediate 

This course is ideal for someone already working in the area who wants to develop their knowledge of sensory skills. It is broken down into three areas: How we taste, perceive and interpret; Running a cupping session and tasting the diversity of coffee; How to set up sensory skills in your business.

  • Professional 

This course is aimed at people with extensive experience in the industry who wish to develop their knowledge to become sensory skills leaders in a coffee business.

OUTCOME: AST / Sensory Science / Quality Control / Q Grader / Q Robusta Grader (R Grader)

In order to develop your sensory skills properly, you will be advised not to wear perfume nor clean your hands with scented soap or cream.

A course I encourage you to take after the intermediate course and before the professional course is Sensory Performance run by Ida Steen, as learn where your threshold stand and how to improve it in depth, also you will learn how to interpret sensory data and set up a strong sensory panel (https://coffee-mind.com/product/sensory-performance-individual-2-days-duration-square-mile-coffee-roasters/)

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GREEN COFFEE

The Green Coffee module covers the key concepts surrounding green coffee, from growing the plant, through processing, shipping, storage and arrival at a roaster.  It includes principles of coffee growing, processing and green coffee grading and coffee contracts and green coffee portfolio management.

  • Foundation 

This course covers the key concepts surrounding green coffee, from growing the plant, through processing, shipping, storage and arrival at a roaster.  It includes an introduction to cupping and coffee grading.

  • Intermediate 

This course looks at green coffee in greater detail and builds on the core vocational skills needed by people who work with green coffee on a daily basis.  It is broken down into three areas: Principles of coffee growing and processing; Introduction to green coffee grading; Coffee contracts and green coffee portfolio management.

  • Professional 

This course is suited to people who have worked for at least two years in a job related to green coffee. It builds on the knowledge gained at Intermediate level and prepares the student for managerial jobs within the industry. Good knowledge of Sensory Skills and Roasting, is highly recommended for anyone wanting to study at this level.

OUTCOME: AST / Coffee Farming / Green Buyer – Broker

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ROASTING

Roasting gives you an understanding of the roasting process, including the roast cycle and how to control sensory aspects of the coffee by roasting light or dark. In addition, this module covers roast defects, the physical changes that beans undergo during the roasting process, as well as workspace management and lean production.

  • Foundation 

This course gives a basic understanding of the roasting process, including the roast cycle and how to control sensory aspects of the coffee by roasting light or dark.

  • Intermediate 

This course builds on the basics covered in Foundation and covers roast defects, the physical changes that beans undergo during the roasting process, as well as workspace management and lean production.

  • Professional 

This course gives you the skills and knowledge needed as a manager to plan and execute quality control, create a product range to meet different preferences, calculate production costs and ensure efficient production.

OUTCOME: AST / Roastery owner-manager / Technician…

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Now you know the courses, you need to find an AST who runs the courses you are interested in, and preferably close to where you are based.

Step 1: Go on SCAE.com

Step 2: Under “Training and Education” tag click on “Find a local AST”

Step 3: Choose your country and see who is available. Sometimes, your country may not have an AST, or the AST doesn’t run the course you are interested in. Contact any of the ASTs in your country and ask them to find an AST who can run a course for you, as some ASTs from other countries will be happy to travel to your country, to run a course for those that need it.

  • Be aware that you should wait 3 months between each level on the same module, in order to practice your new knowledge.
  • Avoid jumping foundation courses, as they are highly valuable to understand crucial points in intermediate and professional courses.
  • If you fail, it is all right; you are allowed to retake the exam.

Once you have successfully completed your courses and have decided what your next move will be, the world will become your ‘coffee’ oyster!

Good luck!

 

Régine L. Guion-Firmin

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