Seven Miles Coffee Science and Education Centre prepares for the future

Through its Coffee Science and Education Centre, Seven Miles Coffee Roasters ensures its Barista training programs are based on the most up to date information.
Coffee Science and Education Centre.

Seven Miles Coffee Roasters opened its Coffee Science and Education Centre (CSEC) earlier in 2018, keeping the roaster on the forefront of developments in coffee science. From water composition to flavour experimentation, the team at CSEC is working to progress Australian’s knowledge of coffee by separating fact from fiction.

Leading CSEC is Dr Adam Carr, a chemical engineer who has forged a research career over the past eight years, working at Cornell University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Aerodyne Research.

Last year, the academic put his coffee passion and engineering skills to the test when he approached Seven Miles with a coffee machine he’d designed and built in his own garage. While Seven Miles hasn’t pursued Adam’s design yet, he has taken up shop as the roaster’s resident scientist. 

Adam says CSEC provides Seven Miles with the ability to modify its training courses as new findings and breakthroughs are made.

“A lot has been published recently about automation and how the role of the barista is changing,” he says.

“With that in mind, we tailor a lot of our courses to upskill our baristas and arm them with the ability to understand what they’re doing instead of mechanistically going through the motions.”

Seven Miles recently introduced two new courses to its offering: Sensory Skills, and Espresso Recipes.

“[Sensory Skills] starts with education about green beans and the flavour profiles typically associated with washed, natural, and honey coffees,” Adam says. “We talk about green bean sourcing and how different flavours come from different regions.”

Students taste different coffees, and provide feedback on each. Roasting chemistry and how it impacts flavour development are then explained.

The Espresso Recipes course applies much of this theory but with a greater emphasis on practical skills.

“The course involves making coffees with different roasts and origins,” Adam says. “It focuses on recipe development and not just how to dial in and get the right  shot.”

CSEC also offers Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) certified training for baristas looking to take their knowledge and skills to the next level. Adam says that, while Seven Miles offers these courses in their entirety, the centre also adapts these classes to better fit an Australian audience.

“A lot of [SCA] resources are tailored to an American or European audience. Our course is developed with Australian cafés and restaurants in mind,” he says.

“The SCA courses run for eight hours a day and some courses can run for up to three full days in length,” he says. “A lot of the people taking the courses are baristas who need to earn a living and can’t necessarily afford that amount of time.”

Seven Miles break up its classes into bite-sized chunks, typically no longer than three hours, to accommodate Australians’ educational preferences and availability.

“Seven Miles is customer focused and customer minded, so if something doesn’t work for them we need to modify it,” Adam says.

Seven Miles CSEC operates its courses out of its Manly Vale roastery, with classes also available in Canberra and Brisbane.

Adam says Seven Miles’ progressive approach to training and education is what distinguishes its courses.

“The training we have integrates findings from our research centre into our education program,” Adam says. 

“Even in our standard courses, we’re starting to take our understanding of coffee and are weaving it through the classes.

“That means that our education program is frequently changing and evolving.” 

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