How to advance your coffee skills and career

In the wake of Craig Simon’s Australian Barista Champion win he’s back in demand for his training expertise.

A qualified Q Grader, Craig will conduct a series of training roadshows, coming to Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra, Adelaide and Melbourne in November at the various First Pour and Veneziano Coffee Roasters venues.



Simo’s Roadshow Schedule

Brisbane: 19 November, First Pour, West End Brisbane
Sydney: 21 November, (venue tbc)
Canberra: 23 November, First Pour, Mitchell ACT
Adelaide: 26 November, First Pour, North Adelaide
Melbourne: 28 November, First Pour, Abbotsford Melbourne

Time: 4pm until 8pm includes refreshments.

Cost: $300 per person.

PLEASE NOTE: book early because we can only take a maximum of 8 baristas per class.

For more details, click HERE.

Media Partner:

BeanScene and GRAM

Equipment Partners:

Nuova Simonelli providing the Aurelia II

Espresso Mechanics providing the Compact Grinder

Brita water filter systems

Why is coffee education more important than ever? Let’s have a look…

The barista is the ‘face’ of the coffee and the contact point with the end consumer, so the better the barista is at their job results in more customer enjoyment and a better coffee experience, leading to a greater appreciation of the product. It’s also good for business.

In the cafe environment, a highly skilled barista turns out more consistent coffee and does so with a wealth of knowledge about the preparation through the entire process from farm to cafe. Specialty coffee companies invest in their baristas’ knowledge of the actual coffee itself; where it’s grown, the terrain, the processing methods, cup tasting protocol and so on, as this generates a full appreciation for what they are preparing in the cup as well as the nuances of each crop and each varietal; knowledge that is usually reserved for the master roaster.

Specialty café owners need the entire package; great quality coffee, service and the ongoing education of their baristas. A great coffee can be ruined by an inexperienced barista and training consolidates the final part of the coffee story; getting it into the cup the way it’s intended.

Changing role of the barista

The barista role is now firmly entrenched as a crucial part of a successful coffee business. Gone are the days of just anyone jumping on the machine and pumping out a few coffees here and there. With this new respect for the position has come a new level of professionalism and a good barista is now financially rewarded.

As a result, career paths for the professional barista have exploded in the last couple of years, with job options moving a great deal from the traditional aspiration of becoming a café owner or manager.

For example, today we see professionals move into training careers at coffee roasters, chain stores, caterers and other food service businesses. We see many move into the roasting side of the business. Now with the huge growth in local roasters we see new roles being created including sales and account management, quality control, cupping, green bean purchasing and more. As the industry grows, so do the opportunities; there has never been a better time to become a barista.

Barista knowledge

Specialty coffee cafés often sport La Marzocco, Synesso, Slayer or similar espresso machines and cafe owners will employ skilled baristas who know how to get the best out of them and who do it with care and attention.

Baristas now understand their product far more than ever before. Whilst once it was good enough to know how to froth milk correctly (and unfortunately many still get it wrong), today’s barista needs to understand the behavior of their coffee during preparation and change the grind, shot times and the load in the handle accordingly.

They understand the ageing process, different roast profiles, different origins and what they mean in blends. In fact the top baristas are up there with the roasters in their coffee knowledge, challenging them to produce a consistently quality product.

Baristas are responsible for setting trends in the coffee industry. For example, espresso is still king but slowly we are seeing the more gentle brewing methods creep into consumers’ scope, with a common order including both an espresso coffee and a filter. This new appreciation for filter coffees has been largely driven by professional baristas.

Some names you might recognise who have spent some time
training with Veneziano Coffee over the years:

Erin Sampson
Craig Simon
Jean Paul Sutton
David Seng
Con Haralambopoulos
David Makin
Zoe Delany
Jessie Hyde
Will Priestly
Remy Shpayzer
Jen Marks
Cassie la Penna
David Seng
Simon James
Mike Wells
Jade Jennings


In other training news, SCAA-accredited Coffee Logic International engaged Craig to run their internationally recognised courses in Melbourne during early October at the First Pour Abbotsford, covering:

– Introduction to Cupping
– Sensory Skills Test
– Triangulation
– SCAA Cupping Form & Peer Calibration