It’s not only essential our baristas make the best coffee, they have to do it with personality, flair and character, and that’s the thinking behind our new barista training initiative ‘Coffee with Character’.
The inspiration for ‘Coffee with Character’ comes from conversations with our baristas, clients and customers who were all asking the same thing: where can we find the best cup of coffee in town?
We were keen to take on their challenge by making sure that we were the ones running the best coffee bars in town. Not only that, we quickly realised that making coffee is all about the relationship between the barista and the customer, and we wanted our baristas to deliver their mind-blowing coffee with flair and enthusiasm. That’s how ‘Coffee with Character’ was born.
As a business we are always promoting that our people should be building relationships with their customers and it’s no different when making great coffee. It’s a simple concept but something that we have noticed is all too often taken for granted on the high street. We believe that the only way to learn is by not by talking about it, but doing it. So we decided to offer some practical training sessions that would give our baristas the skill to produce great coffee in a way that allows them to be passionate, knowledgeable, and help them to build a rapport with every one of their customers.
In conjunction with United Coffee (one of our coffee suppliers) we called in the help of Gwilym Davies, the 2009 World Barista Champion, to endorse ‘Coffee with Character’. "Coffee is exciting, coffee is starting to get delicious and we’re really starting to understand the process,” enthuses Gwilym. "But, we are still at the beginning of this journey. Coffee will change dramatically in the future.”
Barista Training at Craft
The half-day training course based at Craft - a bespoke area setup like a real unit coffee shop with all the tools needed to train our teams in the art of making fantastic coffee - starts with a whistle-stop lesson through the history and origins of coffee and an introduction to the different flavours, aromas and tastes. Aspiring baristas will then get hands-on opportunities to hone their Espresso making skills, learn how to steam milk to the optimum temperature and practice the growing trend of Latte Art. At the heart of the training, the course helps our baristas to built up the confidence to talk with passion and show off their skills with flair to their customers.
With the help of Gwilym’s knowledge and passion, we aim to train the Baristas of the future. ‘Coffee with Character’ will show them how to create coffee magic across all of our venues to the very top level.
An internal competition to discover the best of our baristas and celebrate their coffee making skills will follow in the New Year. A panel of judges from across our business will assess their coffee making, milk steaming and latte art skills and most importantly, the way they interact with and engage their customers.
The winner will receive a cash prize and their own coffee machine as well as a one-to-one coffee making session with Gwilym Davies. They will then become our’ Coffee with Character’ amabassador, helping to spread the word across our venues and raise the coffee quality bar even higher.