Ona Coffee revamps its training program

Ona COffee training

Ona Coffee has revamped its training program, incorporating knowledge the roaster has gained from competitions, café service, and activities across the supply chain.

Coffee quality depends on every link in the supply chain. The producer needs the right growing conditions, the roaster must follow a specific profile, and the barista has to extract the right flavours.

Hugh Kelly, Training Manager at Ona Coffee and 2016 and 2017 Australian Barista Champion, says without a knowledgeable barista, all the effort put into a coffee before it reaches the café can be lost.

“Ona is spread across the whole coffee supply chain. We work closely with our green bean suppliers and have a roasting team who are obsessed with what they do. [We] work with manufacturers to make their machinery work how we want them to and operate our own cafés, so we see how each of these steps are linked,” Hugh says. “Without proper training, the whole thing falls apart pretty easily. If you’re experimenting at the farm to crazy levels to get unique flavours, the barista needs an understanding of how to extract that or else there’s no point. It’s really where it all comes together.”

Ona Coffee offers a range of public courses out of its Canberra roastery in Fyshwick and Ona Coffee Sydney in Marrickville, and plans to extend its courses to Melbourne in 2020. Hugh redeveloped the course structure in 2019 to take in new information and ensure there is enough time in each class for one-on-one work between the student and teacher.

Ona Coffee training
Ona Coffee runs filter coffee courses that cater to different skill levels.

“I looked at what we’ve taught for years, incorporated what I think is relevant to cafés and coffee now, and changed the structure and setup to make the objective of each class a little bit clearer,” Hugh says.

“For example, we’ve always had a Foundation Barista course. Now we’ve added Café Barista courses with the intention of whipping someone into shape, to be able to apply for a job, within a day. We’ve also added specialist custom sessions as well, like team building and sensory.”

Alongside the Foundation Barista and all-day Café Barista classes, other training sessions Ona offers includes latte art and filter coffee courses that adapt to the student’s skill level, Intermediate/Skills Practice which builds on Foundation Barista, and Advanced Coffee Extraction for in-depth coffee making.

“The advanced class utilises techniques we’ve used to dial in coffees at world competitions to provide a foolproof method of approaching espresso and offers a bit more detail on extraction and tasting,” Hugh says. “It’s for people who are coffee enthusiasts, want to run their own bar, or are head baristas and want to take their theoretical knowledge further.” 

Ona also provides specific training to its wholesale clients to get the best out of its coffee.

“Some of the techniques are similar [to public training], but they’re targeted more towards just using our coffee,” Hugh says. “If you’re in a coffee bar using Ona Coffee, you’ll follow certain procedures specific to our brand, whereas the public training is more generalised and tries to cover a broader range of factors.”

Hugh says Ona intends to further develop its training program, taking advantages of the roaster’s collective knowledge.

“We’re going to add layers to the courses and introduce more tasting and rotating specialist sessions that go into more detail on higher-end, technical barista-focused work,” he says. “We want to give people not just the opportunity to learn about coffee, but taste and experience it in ways that we’ve learnt through our competitions and café service.” 

This article appears in the December 2019 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.

For more information, visit www.onacoffee.com.au/training

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