Barista School

Naked portafilter (by Abstract Gourmet)

Just a quicky post. Dtm and I headed down to the W.A Barista Academy for a bit of schooling just the other day. We were taken through a 3 hour session with the lovely Jen on coffee techniques, grinding, dosing, tamping, pulling shots, texturing milk, a little latte art, and general machine maintenance. All in all a great course and an excellent way to get a solid grasp of the basics of preparing espresso.

Dtm pouring a latte (by Abstract Gourmet)   Dtm's cup

There was 4 of us all up in the course and with 2 x 2 group La Marzocco Lineas to play with, everyone had ample access to the machines, and a lot of time to spend practicing shots over and over until they were coming out right. Jen covered tamping techniques, using correct pressure, adjusting the grind to suit conditions of beans, and also gave us some tips on how to maintain a consistent routine (something I never seem to do) so that your shots are all made the same way, with the only variable factor being the grind.
The course was excellent, Jen is a great teacher, and the amount of people just was right so that everyone got a lot of time to just pump the shots out.

It makes me really regret ever paying to do a course called Prepare and Serve Espresso Coffee at the Perth School of Hospitality and Tourism. The course was a joke. There was about 20 or so people in the class and one dodgy coffee machine and grinder. We all had about 5 minutes in total to use the machine and we were being taught by someone who had never worked in a cafe in her life, and who’s recommendation on where to find good coffee in Perth was to go to Dome (enough said). The sad thing was, some people in the course were hoping it would teach them the skills they’d need to get work in the industry. If you happen to find this post and you’re look for barista training… DO NOT TAKE THAT COURSE !

Testament to the quality of the courses at the WA Barista Academy is that Dtm was pulling awesome shots in no time at all (although he is a skill home barista), and after little to no instruction at all managed to whip out a fine first example of a rosetta (below). How sweet is that ?

We also managed to find time to put the naked portafilter on (the top photo), and make some shots with that. It’s basically a really good way of locating weaknesses in your dosing and tamping routine, because you can see the coffee coming out of the basket as it extracts, and you can tell if it’s coming out of one side and not the other etc. A great tool for making sure you have got the technique down.

Dtm's rosetta

We’ll also be going back soon for a more in depth latte art course, for all those fancy flowers, hearts, and patterns people seem to love so much. Look forward to seeing some more cool photos, and if you’re in need of some training, get in touch with WABA, they will sort you out.

W.A Barista Academy
Phone: (08) 9328 7675
Fax: (08) 9328 6805

15 thoughts on “Barista School”

  1. I am SO jealous of your photography skills! And I really shouldn’t read any more of your coffee posts – they just make me pine and pine for something that I just can’t have :(

  2. We’re both due to be doing the same thing in the next few weeks! REALLY looking forward to it.

    Bec took one of the courses offered by TAFE too (a half-day one). It was definitely a better experience than yours, by the sounds of it, but still learned heaps more just hanging out a bit with Ben B of WABA fame.

  3. Hi Matt, so you’re a lover of fine coffee ! Have you been to Just Espresso in Preston Street, South Perth ? Its just opposite supa valu. I used to visit often when we lived in the area. I’m no coffee connoisseur but my taste buds insist that they serve the best mocha I’ve ever tasted. My husband, Ming who’s a coffeeholic thinks they serve up a great cappuccino and flat white. Unfortunately, they have done very little marketing and not many people know about them, I think it’s a shame. I think you and your very clever writing and photographic skills are what they need to give them the boost they need for now. Love your work!

  4. Hey Ellie, are you caffeine intolerant or something, I know you quit drinking it a while back, but not sure you said why ? I’ll try to keep them to a minimum for a while, but I’m still working out whether pretending to be a chef or pretending to be barista is more worthwhile :)

    MattnBec – I think you guys need seperate identities so I know who I’m talking to :) I’m sure you’ll really enjoy the course, now I just have to go back and do the advanced course, which should be good too. Ben and Jen really know their stuff… Barista competition this year should be great too.

    Hi Carol, and welcome to the world of blogging :) I have indeed been to Just Espresso a couple of times, and it was nice coffee, but they don’t exactly do a great job of promoting themselves… You can check out my past post on My favourite cafes (which admittedly is quite out of date) for a very interesting conversation on that very cafe.

  5. Hi once again Matt, I just read your ‘My Favourite cafes’ post, and yes,I guess they do sound just a little too secretive, for their own good or otherwise, I’m not sure which it is. Oh Well.. Keep on doing what you do, I think its great!

  6. Matt,

    That looks like a blast! I took a look in my area and nothing like that is offered, but I suppose I could just go take a job as a barista for a week or two. Keep up the good work!

  7. Fantastic I am in Espresso heaven. You lucky boy. Coffee mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm :) P.S. I hope you noticed I spelled it correctly. See I do learn ;)

  8. Hi Matt, congratulations on winning DMBLGIT! Your photos are inspiring. I love the latte art! Too pretty to drink.

    I wish someone could teach me about coffee here in Jersey!

  9. Amelita: excellent spelling, well done… now you’ll just have to start making some :)

    Ari: pack a picnic lunch while you do, can’t have people getting hungry as they travel around the site. Glad you liked what you see so far, and enjoy the fleeting moments of me managed not to offend you yet :)

    Mae: Thanks a lot :) I loved your photo too, it was a more than worthy overall winner… I thought you were in New Jersey for a minute…but you’re in old Jersey… which I’m guessing has much less access to fancy coffee schools… I’ll try and do some correspondence courses for you :)

  10. Hi
    Naked filters are so sexy! I found your blog via Tastespotting . I wonder if Duralex glasses are very trendy in Oz? I saw them beeing used in Stingers. You’re welcome to visit my blog, but it’s in Norwegian.. Nice blog!


  11. Thanks Sverre, I noticed a few people coming through from Tastespotting… interesting thing they’ve started up, would be nice if someone let me know they were liking my stuff tho.

    Yeh, you’ll find many cafe’s here are fans of the Duralex glassware for lattes and macchiato/espresso etc… Many are now moving to the heavy duty ceramic, but Duralex is definitely popular.

    Hey Jean: Think you need to get a hacksaw out and make one of your own :) They are very cool indeed.

  12. I would but it’d mean too much effort in the summer heat ;)

    Might check with Supreme and see if they have one, though my coffee-making days are probably numbered (need a change!)

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