Grinders Coffee Academy builds a solid base

Grinders Coffee Roasters’ Coffee Academy is helping students develop a foundation of skills so they can get the most out of their coffee.
Grinders Coffee

Grinders Coffee Roasters’ training program has national reach. Coffee Academy Manager Andy Easthope says Grinders prides itself on its team of Coffee Specialists who oversee training in each state.

“Our trainers come from pretty diverse backgrounds in the coffee industry,” he says. “They’re all really involved, and have great networks and a high level of insight. When people come to our training courses, there’s a chance to learn a little bit further than what the core content actually is.”

Covering South Australia and the Northern Territory is Glenn Bailey, an Australian Specialty Coffee Association (ASCA) Barista Judge and a competitor on 2018 reality TV series Barista & Farmer in Colombia. 

In New South Wales, Jonathan Goldthorpe looks after the Coffee Academy. Jonathan has more than a decade of barista experience and is an experienced ASCA technical judge.

Victoria’s Coffee Specialist is Alec Zeta, who over the past five years has held roles as a barista, head barista, trainer, roaster, quality control and director of coffee before settling in as a Coffee Specialist.

Heading up the Western Australian program is Jodi Carruthers, who applies her years of experience in hospitality, honing workflow, and organisational skills to her courses.

Andy says Grinders Coffee Academy offers a consistent curriculum across Australia that gets people to the level where they can jump on the tools at any café and do a great job.

The training program consists of five courses catering to a range of experience levels.

“There are two levels of courses and a bridging course in between, so people can learn the essentials then move on to a more advanced skillset,” Andy says.

Essentials Espresso covers espresso machine and grinder set up, dosing, adjustments, extraction, packing down, and the basics of tasting.

Essentials Milk and Beverages covers milk steaming and pouring, menu production, service standouts, and workflow practice time.

Following the essentials courses, students can take Bridging Session Workflow, putting their new-found skills to the test while preparing themselves for advanced classes.

Advanced Tasting and Adjusting Espresso teaches students to adjust their brew parameters for taste, as well as the basics of tasting and analysing coffee.

Advanced Latte Art covers milk pouring techniques and basic designs, such as hearts, tulips, rosettas, and swans.

Andy says the biggest mistake he sees more experienced baristas make is not adapting or experimenting with their recipes.

“People are pretty systematic in how they adjust their brew parameters,” he says. “They’re not really adjusting beyond the recipe. They’re not tasting [the coffee] and going, ‘I can improve the product’.

“With new baristas, it’s really about giving them a fundamental understanding of quality and how to achieve it on a consistent basis.”

In 2019, Grinders Coffee Roasters plans to expand its training, offering filter brewing courses, and holding more educational events.

“We have training at the heart of everything we do,” Andy says. “Part of being a great coffee business is always evolving and that’s what training does. It helps everyone get on the same page.” 

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