Visiting Veneziano Coffee Richmond is a unique experience. Passing its roastery operations, cupping lab and a smaller interactive micro roastery, you are welcomed into its newly opened 80-seat dining space. But that’s not all Veneziano Coffee Roasters has to offer, with a state-of-the-art training studio upstairs.
Veneziano’s training school runs three sessions a day, covering everything from the barista basics to roasting and cupping.
Alongside their espresso-focused classes which are offered complimentary to their wholesale customers, Veneziano runs additional modules tailored to specific topics including latte art. This course not only demonstrates how to create certain latte art patterns, but also teaches correct pouring and milk texturing techniques to ensure coffee doesn’t just look good but tastes great too.
“A lot of people don’t really get taught how to pour correctly,” says Jade Jennings, National Training and Development Manager at Veneziano and 2016 Australian Barista Champion Runner Up. “You see a lot of people washing out the base, which has a huge effect on flavour.”
Veneziano Trainer and 2009 Australian Latte Art Champion Erin Sampson agrees, adding even experienced baristas face this problem.
Brewing Foundations is another module offered at the Richmond campus. This two-hour class, which is kept to a maximum of six people, introduces students to a range of brewing methods.
“We talk about many of the alternative brewing methods, from batch brew to pour overs and the differences between [them],” says Jason Loper, the newest member of the Melbourne training team.
“We set up for each of these different brew methods so you can discover the differences, both in process and taste. We keep it fun but informative at the same time.”
The recently added class runs every month.
“As it gains popularity we’ll open up more classes,” Jason says.
Veneziano also offers Cupping Foundations and Roasting Foundations modules for people looking to further their coffee knowledge in different areas.
“Daniel Shadbolt, one of Veneziano’s resident Q Graders, runs the cupping class. It goes through the Specialty Coffee Association scoresheet and how to pull apart a cup of coffee using the flavour wheel. This gives you an insight to how baristas, roasters, and coffee professionals cup and score coffee,” Jason says.
Even the local community is considered with a public cupping held every Friday at Richmond to encourage more people to learn about the process.
“We like to engage with our customers, giving them an insight of what we do here at Veneziano Coffee Roasters,” Jade says.
In a more intimate environment, another of Veneziano’s Q Graders, Paul Benetti, hosts the four-hour roasting class, which is kept to a maximum of two people. Jason went through the training himself.
“Paul does the first roast with you and explains all the different curves and elements associated with it,” Jason says.
“In the next stage, the trainee does two or three different roasts themselves under guidance. Trying to control the different aspects of the roast is a challenge and you quickly see how tricky it can be to manipulate a roast and how it affects the end result.”
“At the end, you cup all the coffees. The difference between each roast can be astonishing.”
Everyone is welcome at Veneziano’s training school, with Jason noting a lot of participants are not Veneziano customers, but eager professionals wanting to gain a more in depth understanding of coffee and improve their technical and sensory skills.
The Barista at Home course is particularly popular. Here, home baristas are encouraged to bring in their own machines and grinder to learn how to get the best out of their equipment. Private one-on-one sessions are also available to learn the basics or hone your skills to be interview-ready before applying for work.
No matter the barista’s experience level, all three trainers suggest anyone looking to take Veneziano’s advanced classes or additional modules first take part in its Espresso Foundations class.
“It tends to knock out the bad habits, even if the student has been making coffee for years. There’s always something we can help the barista improve upon,” Erin says.