Caroline Carter, Retail Head of Training

We all know that a very good (or very bad) cup of coffee can elicit strong emotions. Even more so, perhaps, in this current climate. A tasty, well-made coffee is more coveted than ever.

But as staff responsibilities expand and evolve to accommodate reduced team sizes and new ways of working, how do you maintain and develop your reputation for coffee excellence?

Barista training is crucial in delivering a consistent drinks menu and driving customer loyalty. In usual trading conditions our highly skilled and passionate team at Training Grounds, train around 14000 baristas a year across the UK and Ireland in everything from a basic introduction to coffee to SCA Coffee Skills program.

When they’re not training they are highly likely to be involved in barista events and SCA competitions and you may even see one of our team on the judging panel. They love the entire business of coffee and by that I mean not just the practical barista skills. They can advise on operational efficiencies, how to manage costs, staffing and downtime.

They do this with so much passion and it gives them a great deal of satisfaction to see businesses they work with thrive as a result of implementing their training.

We always had the ambition to launch online coffee training as it opens up a wide range of possibilities for trainees and provides further support to our customers in any environment. We wanted the benefit of trainees exploring and understanding the theory elements ahead of classroom or onsite training to maximise the impact of practical training. We wanted to create a place where anyone with a passion for coffee could have easy access to training and become part of the Training Grounds, barista community.

Taking into account our years of training experience and our knowledge of learning styles we know that different teaching techniques resonate with different trainees. Even in normal circumstances, online learning is perfect as part of a blended learning approach.

We designed the programme to be easily accessible and split into bite-sized chunks which makes it possible for people to learn at their own pace in their own time. It also allows those who want to spend more time on what they have learned to have the opportunity to go back and revisit the course materials.

For those who enjoy the theory, they are able to study in-depth before delving into the practical side. It can also help create a sense of community. The barista community is active and supportive and being part of this wider community albeit virtually will help create a sense of belonging with the opportunity to meet new like-minded people.

“Barista training is crucial in delivering a consistent drinks menu and driving customer loyalty”

A key aspect of online learning success is ensuring the content is fun, engaging and effective. Our aim was to make it an immersive learning experience with a variety of content and lots of interactive sessions. It was great to be able to include a beautiful emotive video from our MD’s visits to origin allowing our trainees to virtually visit coffee farms and explore the whole process from farm to cup. Providing access to e-learning can speed up the process of introducing coffee to those completely new to it and can work as a very handy refresher for more experienced baristas who want to gain more knowledge in a particular area. It’s a great solution to help increase confidence to make great coffee, provide great service and drive sales. It can also be beneficial for anyone who has been unable to work in a safe environment in which to learn, upskill and regain confidence for returning to the workplace.

Seven Key Benefits of Online Training

1. Enhance skills quickly

You will have the ability to communicate to everyone in your business fast! This course is great as a refresher for upskilling and induction. 2. Create consistency

Everyone has access to the same key information, delivered from the same platform. Consistency is critical for brand standards, safe & efficient beverage routines, and managing costs 3. Retain knowledge

Using eLearning as blended learning alongside on-the-job coaching from trainers or colleagues results in higher knowledge retention. This approach appeals to a wide range of learning styles and allows your team to go back and refresh at any time and any place

4. Save Time & Money

Learning can be engaged in any lean time, at work, at home, even whilst on furlough, and revisited as many times as you need. The interactive tools can be used on the job to virtually coach on areas such as grinder adjustment and cleaning, reducing costs and downtime. 5. Measure Success

Through team confidence, customer feedback, reduction of breakdowns, coffee, and milk waste 6. Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Using our online platform allows you easy access to our courses using interactive guides, video tutorials, and simple quizzes removing the need for printed-out training materials. With all this knowledge accessible to you and your team you will also reduce any unnecessary travel. 7. Benefit from Flexibility

Freedom to learn where and how you want, at a pace that's right for you.

Our online learning modules have been designed to complement our standard courses and the SCA training programmes that we offer, we believe this blended approach will form the ideal training solution. We hope to be able to offer our onsite & classroom-based training to our customers on a regular basis as soon as we can! When face-to-face learning is not possible however, online learning does a great job at keeping your team engaged and building confidence.

Feedback so far has been positive, there is so much potential with online learning and we will be expanding our offering into wider cafe training modules. Training Grounds aims to provide a fully comprehensive cafe education programme to suit all learners and help your café thrive.

Take a look at our current modules below!

NEW: Brew Class

Understanding filter methods. Plus step-by-step guides to brewing with Chemex, AeroPress, filter cones. Moccamaster and cafetieres.

Introduction to Coffee

From coffee history and botany to the basics of delivering an espresso-based coffee menu, this is the essential beginner's guide to coffee.

About Caroline Carter

Head of Training & Operational Development at Matthew Algie

Caroline is our in-house learning and development expert, with over 30 years of hospitality experience, 15 of which are specific to developing barista training programmes. Caroline has extensive hands-on F&B operations experience and has worked with some of the largest retailers, quick-service restaurants and coffee shop chains.

In addition to holding hospitality qualifications, Caroline has held lecturer positions at the Swiss Hotel Management School and delivered food and beverage NVQ programmes. Caroline believes that there is more to barista training than great coffee, you need to feel inspired and be as passionate about the drinks you serve as providing a great customer experience.

Caroline manages an in-house team of barista trainers and our new e-learning programme.

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