NZSCA puts education first

NZSCA education

The New Zealand Specialty Coffee Association (NZSCA) is committed to providing training to the NZ coffee community that can be passed on.

Becoming a professional barista is often compared to learning how to drive a car or play a musical instrument. Different schools of thought exist around teaching methods, what’s important to know, and which equipment to use. Regardless, the end goal remains the same, and fundamental skills need to be structured, consistent, and cohesive. Then, you can build on those with practise, practise, and more practise.

Emma McDougall is the Communications and Administration Co-ordinator of the NZSCA.

I will never forget tasting my first cappuccino during a training session in February 2000. I was in Sydney and had never seen a rosetta on top of a coffee before. I was hooked and asked: “When can I learn how to do that?” I was told to come back the following year and complete the next level of their training course on milk steaming, and obtain my silver certificate.

Thankfully, in my 20-odd years in the industry, education, machines, and methods have evolved. People still want certificates and the NZSCA has set out to create courses and qualifications that add weight and structure to the barista craft. And now you learn how to create a rosetta in less than a year.

The full circle of creating, implementing, and teaching barista courses has now come into fruition. After careful honing and refining, the purpose-built teaching program is being adopted and taught by member companies in New Zealand. Trainers can complete the NZSCA program and take their new knowledge into their wholesale accounts, or simply anyone interested in upping their skill level. 

Most recently, the NZSCA Barista Level One course was run in Auckland from 30 September to 3 October. Whether you are still new to the trade, a roaster, operate a small coffee shop, work in a fast-paced café environment, are a manager, or an employer looking to upskill your crew, this certificate is the perfect fit for anyone looking to grow in their profession and skill set.

New Zealand Specialised Instructors Michael Stevens and Audrey Vidoni delivered the course at the specially-built training and cupping lab facilities inside Ozone Coffee Roasters’ new Grey Lynn home. Both trainers completed the “Train the Trainer” course in Wellington last year.  

Level One is a mixture of practical and theory-based classes and is run across four consecutive days. There are five modules to complete inside the course, with a final exam at the end. Adopting international standards and applying them to the New Zealand market, this course gives a solid foundation of skill and knowledge around seed to cup, coffee brewing and extraction, milk preparation, customer service, and general knowledge. Essentially, if you are looking for qualifications with upgraded knowledge and want to ensure your customers are receiving the best-crafted coffee based on international standards, then this is the course for you.

The NZSCA will continue to build on these courses and teach people to run them with Train the Trainer appearing on the 2020 calendar in Nelson from 10 to 14 February. Building on consistency with a solid structure and certification, the level of coffee training options in New Zealand is in good hands. 

For more information on the New Zealand Specialty Coffee Association, or to join, visit

Image: Ozone Coffee Roasters

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