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The BGA and the Third Wave, BGA Files
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nickcho
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nickcho
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Posted Fri Apr 1, 2005, 11:00pm
Subject: The BGA and the Third Wave, BGA Files
 

The BGA and the Third Wave
BGA Files article by Nicholas Cho

Nicholas Cho gives us an introductory article explaining the Barista Guild of America, what's going down at this year's SCAA Trade show in Seattle, and thoughts on the Third Wave.
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MarkPrince
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Joined: 19 Dec 2001
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Posted Sun Apr 3, 2005, 2:11pm
Subject: What I better not see at this year's SCAA Espresso Training labs...
 

Seems like a good place to put this posting, since a) no one's commented yet on Nick's awesome article, and b) many pro baristas will be reading this....

I was going thru my wack of photos from last year's SCAA for the BGA article, and remembered some absolutly horrible techniques used (demonstrated, not caught, not corrected) at last year's professional espresso labs. Can u say carpal tunnel syndrome?

The ironic thing about this situation - I actually went up to the organizer of the labs to show these photos to show really sloppy stuff. I dunno if it was acted on, but I'll say this. For everyone one or two super-skilled Baristas who were volunteering their time as trainers during the labe, there was one not-so-skilled 'trainer' who wasn't paying attention to techniques, wasn't correcting where needed, and in some isolated cases, seemed to think that milk frothing equals massive bubbles. I should also note this: NONE of the barista competition entrants who were volunteering were bad... they were the super-skilled folks. Others? Dunno where they came from, but they were definitely 'second wave' or worse ;)

This year, I hope a lot of the pro baristi who were in the USBC and will be at Conference will step up and spread the gospel of the Third Wave, and superior barista techniques. The photos below aren't first attempts by the lab-attendees... these were the attempts done under supposedly watchful eyes that were not corrected I remember it well. I was so frustrated myself, as a photographer at the event I wanted to jump in and correct it myself, but didn't.

Here's some greeeeeaaat tamping:

MarkPrince: horribletamp.jpg
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MarkPrince
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Posted Sun Apr 3, 2005, 2:12pm
Subject: Re: The BGA and the Third Wave by Nick Cho
 

And another. I kid you not, this trainee was tamping in the air. It's not an out-of-context photo op. I snapped off about 10 photos of his tamping, from start to finish... all in the air. And it was never corrected by the trainer at that station.

Mark

MarkPrince: horribletamp2.jpg
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MarkPrince
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Posted Sun Apr 3, 2005, 2:13pm
Subject: More bad training...
 

And more bad training. I remember this one vividly... this person had frothed their fourth or fifth pitcher, and the trainer said something like "not too bad - bubbles are a tiny bit too big, but I'd serve that..."

MarkPrince: horriblefroth.jpg
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MarkPrince
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Posted Sun Apr 3, 2005, 2:17pm
Subject: Re: The BGA and the Third Wave by Nick Cho
 

Why am I posting these photos?

Because speaking from personal opinion only here, I'd like to see the BGA take over the "professional espresso labs" at the SCAA. It seems such a natural fit. I've voiced this in the past, and I think the BGA should evolve into much more than a "voice" and a party and social system for Baristas (no slight intended)... I think it should fully evolve into the standards-setter for Barista training, for certification (some private company is doing a "barista certification" at CoffeeFest??!?) for holding the national training classes at conference, and of course, for organizing all the Barista Jams.

Not only that, but the national training labs can be a money generator for the BGA, as the training lab fees are very high, and always well attended (and I think the coordinator for this specific lab gets compensated, unlike most labs - though I could be wrong).

At the very least, every volunteer trainer working the SCAA's espresso training labs at Conference should be a BGA member, imo at least. ;)

Mark

 
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lillyzon
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Posted Sun Apr 3, 2005, 5:36pm
Subject: Re: The BGA and the Third Wave by Nick Cho
 

Great artical Nick!  I for one can't wait to be a part of all the BGA activities at SCAA this year.  

Also, Mark I second your concerns for the training seminars.  I took part back in Boston, and will be doing so again this year.  I was a station assistant in Boston and will do the same this year, and I only hope I don't get stuck with any of the station heads who don't really know what they are doing or I may have to hurt someone!  

See you all in Seattle!

Bj

 
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SandyHon
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Posted Sun Apr 3, 2005, 6:41pm
Subject: Re: The BGA and the Third Wave by Nick Cho
 

Great article, I love it when the Third Wave is brought up.  My deepest respect and sisterly love for Trish Skeie, one of the original 'Rag Taggers'.

I would like to respond to Mark's comments regarding SCAA espresso labs.
For one:  I completely, totally, without a doubt agree with you, as does the rest of the BGA counsel.

One of the first things we decided to do as a Guild was to infiltrate the SCAA Training Labs.  We sent in a spy and called her (err..*me) a Liaison.

Last year, I spent a lot of time in the espresso labs.  I saw what you saw Mark.  Not only did I see what you saw, but I saw worse.  
I don't have pictures to prove it, but I did see several hoppers full of coffee grounds and heard from more than one folk "Now, the SCAA says to do it this way but...WE....do it yadda way".  

I brought this up to the Training Committee and guess what?  They agree too.  In fact, they were hoping the Barista Guild would help by bringing in trainers.
The problem with lack of quality trainers in the espresso labs has simply been the lack of volunteers.
Volunteers is the key word.  Not many have wanted to do that in the past.  What I saw was big companies sending their people to these labs in order to receive free registration fees.  
There is no monetary gain for volunteering.  
All proceeds support the SCAA.
None of the instructors, runners or facilitators recieve any type of 'pay' other than reimbursement of registration fees for time served.

Last year, I put up a call to the Baristi on the boards and we did get a few handfulls of awesome Barista's.....but that of course, wasn't enough.
I put out another call this year and received a larger response.

We're working on it.  While the Barista Guild is not prepared to take over the Espresso Labs, we can infilterate in another way, and that is to replace the big (and small) coffee companies that send in their receptionists and marketing people to teach something that they don't know a thing about.

What we (The SCAA Training Committee/Espresso Labs and the Barista Guild)
is YOU.  We need qualified Barista's to volunteer time and talents to the Beginning and Intermediate Espresso Labs.

Without you, the skilled and qualified Barista, we are Nuthin, Nuthin, I say!!
If you know your stuff, then sign up as a Station Lead, not a runner....we'll leave those positions for the underqualified.  Let them learn from us.



Sandy
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brianmch
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Posted Tue Apr 5, 2005, 11:10am
Subject: Re: The BGA and the Third Wave by Nick Cho
 

Sandy,
I saw your post and had to comment.  

I'm really just a regular geeky sorta guy, but Aaron Duck had me come to the KC Barista Jam in February as a spectator.  I met you briefly, and want to commend you on your hard work and tell you that I believe it is and will pay off in the long run.  

There is nothing I dislike more as a customer to go into an independent coffee shop, order a shot, and get something that isn't any better than what Big Green is making in their full automatics.  Am I picky, well maybe just a bit.  BUT I also know that the BGA members in KC took time with me, even Sammy P, the guest, spent some time with me, to help me with my technique.  It made a world of difference in my ability and I am grateful for the opportunity to learn from such talented folks.  

If the BGA training is what helped these people achieve such a high skillset, then my hats off to you.  Keep up the good work.  From a consumer perspective, I try to support local quality.  


Brian
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espressoDOM
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espressoDOM
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Posted Fri Apr 8, 2005, 1:27pm
Subject: Re: The BGA and the Third Wave by Nick Cho
 

Great article Nick...

really enjoyed learning about the Waves that have come before this new Third wave...
I came in at the middle to the end of the 2nd wave....
I never was much impressed with Starbucks, but i liked it better than drip typically...


(there must be some kind of a renaissance going on in the Bay Area... putting TMF on my list of places to try)

 
DOM...evil genius ...Up to no good in espresso at all times... VIVA la parts de Espresso
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handcannon
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Posted Sat Apr 16, 2005, 11:02am
Subject: Re: The BGA and the Third Wave by Nick Cho
 

I think it would be a nifty idea to have BGA Supporter pins for sale, with all proceeds going to the BGA.  I'd love to buy something like that to wear, as long as it was well made and less than fifteen dollars (excluding S/H).   Think about it.

 
"Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most."  A. Brilliant
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