I took the first part of the barista course at Phil and Sebastians and learned a few things even though I had been making espresso at home for about five months at the time I took the course. I know the course is really meant towards beginners, but I had the luxury of accosting one of the professional baristas and peppering them with questions for at least a good solid 30 minutes. Is the course overpriced? Yeah. They also did all of their shots on a Silvia and did things with it that made me twitch a little, but I can't blame them since a seasoned barista probably doesn't have a SBDU at home.. well, not unless they are sadists or something. :-) Anyway, was it worth it? Absolutely. There's no way I would have the courage to pepper a pro barista with questions as long as they had to tend to customers.
Unfortunately, they do require that you take the basic course before you can take the milk foaming portion of the course, but I can understand why. As well, my milk foaming skills really need some work, but then again, I usually only make myself cappuccinos or lattes without any artwork on them. So, I could probably learn a thing or two.
I would love to spend some time with a professional or even a seasoned home barista to absorb some skillz.
Well, I'm probably in the same boat as you are. I've been making my own shots for roughly around 2 years now. I don't mind disseminating advice, but judging from your own equipment, I suspect I'd be pretty much preaching to the choir. As for my microfoaming capabilities, I'm nowhere near what the professionals can do, so it would be a learning experience for both of us!
I'll tell you what though, what I would like to do is meet up with you over a cup of coffee at a decent coffee shop and get a better idea of how much you know and how much I know. My wife generally feels rather uncomfortable about letting complete strangers in our house, no offense to you intended. My e-mail addy is qualin at shaw dot ca ..
What would be perfect would be a home barista/coffeegeek meet at whoever's house has the best equipment (or a gathering of the best equipment) with a professional barista (or two) thrown in? :D
Pretty sure they've dropped the pre-req... it only says it's recommended now (I know it used to be a pre-req).
I understand the hesitation about inviting people over to your house. Of course I've asked my wife if she'd like to host an event like this and she said sure. Just if we're going to host something like that I would want a couple of people (preferably with a professional barista from a good shop), but as you're the only one to reply to this (and I kinda thought you would eventually) there doesn't seem to be much interest.
See the problem I have is that I don't drink coffee... it's all for my wife and mother. So I can't tell if I'm getting any better. I've told my wife to throw constructive feedback my way but well.... I'd like some subjective opinions.
As for equipment I'd like to think my machine is pretty good as a commercial machine in a home environment, but I know that if some little thing is off it could be throwing everything out of whack. At a meet like I'm suggesting of course it wouldn't be possible for everyone to bring their machines (except small home machines), but perhaps their favorite beans and their grinders so we could compare. I'd also like to think that my grinders are half-decent (and just ordered a Pharos) but who knows. And we used to use Phil and Sebastian's beans but have recently been home-roasting, would love opinions on our roasts too.
I just see all sorts of potential for a meeting like this, would just love some more interest.
Well, I put out some feelers a few months ago with a similar post and nobody responded either. My guess is that either there isn't a lot of people in Calgary who hang around Coffeegeek, or everyone is very shy and doesn't feel like it is worth their time to meet up to chat about stuff. I feel that's quite unfortunate as I've made a lot of friends that way!
See the problem I have is that I don't drink coffee... it's all for my wife and mother.
NO! <Gasp!> :-) I think that the problem is that you just haven't drunk the RIGHT coffee yet! My wife is a tea fanatic and even though she's not really a coffee drinker either, I've made her the occasional mocha. She loves them, but they're a "sometimes" treat for her, she's not a daily coffee drinker like I am.
I'd like to think my machine is pretty good as a commercial machine in a home environment,
Well, An Appia isn't a cheap machine! :-) I considered buying one until I got sticker shock. Cappuccino King quoted me $3800 for a Semi-Automatic. They're a much more capable machine than my Duetto, but I didn't need a big HX, getting a DB was more important to me due to my coffee drinking habits. Come to think of it, I've never pulled a shot on an HX before. My wife was quite upside about the size of the Duetto at first but she got used to it. It's a good thing I didn't buy something like a used LM Linea!
but I know that if some little thing is off it could be throwing everything out of whack.
I think that when you get up into the realm of high end grinders, a lot of things are subjective. IMO, If I had the luxury, I would have paired up a Mahlkonig K30 Vario with your Appia. I'm considering the idea of upgrading to one myself from my Mazzer Mini.
but have recently been home-roasting, would love opinions on our roasts too.
I certainly would like to share knowledge in this as well, since I'm also considering home roasting as well, if only just to save money and to avoid buying beans which some roasters (ahem) here in Calgary sell which are direct competition to Charbucks. (Looks up innocently and whistles)
I just see all sorts of potential for a meeting like this, would just love some more interest.
JohnLyn Senior Member Joined: 15 Aug 2011 Posts: 243 Location: Golden, BC, Canada Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: La Spaziale Mini Vivaldy Grinder: Vario Drip: Bonavita Roaster: Toastess popper
Posted Wed Aug 14, 2013, 7:10am Subject: Re: Barista Training in Calgary? (or home barista/coffeegeek meet)
Great to see that people want to get together. I live in Golden and if plans worked out, I'd join in. While traveling one time I was able to join in with a get together at Clive Coffee in Portland and we ended up in the barista academy. We need a Clive coffee like place that wants to join the network of Home Baristas. It was super fun!! anyway, i'll keep checking and hoping something gets pulled together...
Posted Fri Aug 23, 2013, 1:07pm Subject: Re: Barista Training in Calgary? (or home barista/coffeegeek meet)
I've been reading about these barista jams that happen every so often (been a few years in Calgary), but they all seem to be centric around professional baristas. I'm somewhat sceptical if a host shop would allow home-baristas to experiment with their equipment. What sort of format was the get-togther at Clive Coffee? Were there machines/grinders to try your technique with or was it just a forum to discuss things?
Posted Wed Sep 25, 2013, 11:31am Subject: Re: Barista Training in Calgary? (or home barista/coffeegeek meet)
This is my first post on coffee geek so please be gentle! I also live in calgary and have recently gotten into coffee a bit more. My friend is currently lending me a Lelit to see if it is something I want to pursue. I will be pursuing it, I cannot go back to regular drip coffee anymore! As from an episide of Seinfield, my taste bracket has gone up I guess.
I have only a few weeks experience but am keen to learn more, and would be interested in joing a public meeting at some point in the future if I may tag along! I have a reasonable knowledge base, and desire to learn.
@ qualin - How do you like your Duetto? My wife and I are building our first home and we have the luxury of considering a plumb in desin right out of the gates. We have a year until then and I am considering the DBPID, so the duetto obviously came up.
And yes, I have a reasonable grinder, baratza virtuosso with the essato scale. No Mazzer though, will be upgrading the grinder when we get our new home.
Posted Thu Sep 26, 2013, 12:33pm Subject: Re: Barista Training in Calgary? (or home barista/coffeegeek meet)
4 people is starting to seem worth the effort to arrange something.
I don't know what format we would want to have this in.
It could be as simple as everyone getting together and just asking questions and perhaps make a few drinks. Or perhaps we buy a ton of milk and beans and try to perfect our methods through a lot of practice (might have to charge cover in this case ;) ).
I'm all for offering up my kitchen. I can have up to 3 commercial machines up and running (My main NS Appia and 2 La Pavoni PUB machines that I'm restoring). Also have 4 grinders (Pharos, Macap M5, NS MDU, Rancilio MD50).
Would still love to get a professional barista to attend but I'm sure we could do something worthwhile without.
That's a good start. I started out with a Rancilio Silvia because I wasn't sure if this was something I'd enjoy doing, or if I was capable of doing it. Not only was I capable, but I've really enjoyed the wide variety of blends and single origin coffees which I've had a chance to experience over the last two years. It sure beats K-Cups! Drinking drip coffee is like drinking flavored water to me now, so I can understand exactly what you mean.
I absolutely love it. The machine does have a few minor downsides, but nothing that will affect the taste of your coffee. The machine produces delicious cup after cup, is very easy to use and has been very reliable (I've owned it for about a year and its been rock solid so far.) and quiet. The only two things I've done to the machine since I bought it was lower the brew pressure down to 9.5 bar and plumb it in.
The downsides? The PID controls are located next to the very hot E61 group, (This is a common issue with a lot of machines) so it's better to make PID adjustments with the machine cold so you don't burn your hand on the brewgroup. Lastly, making brew pressure adjustments is something you'll very rarely have to do, but when you do it (And you will need to do it) it will be a pain in the rear to do with this machine. I had to buy a set of wrenches just so I could do the adjustment. (I needed them anyway.) If you plan on making frequent brew pressure adjustments, which is unlikely, it would be better to drill a hole through the outer shell and put a rubber grommet there. It would affect the beautiful cosmetic look of the machine, but if that doesn't matter to you, then it's not a big deal.
The PID is "off-the-shelf" GICAR, but while the controls look intuitive, I wouldn't recommend messing with it unless you are reading the instruction manual. Fortunately, I haven't touched the PID in well over 6 months because it's one of those "set it and forget it" kinds of things. Unless you love messing with your brew temperatures on a frequent basis. Realistically, even the most hardcore coffee geeks have mentioned that they set it once and forget it with most of the blends and S.O coffees they work with.
My wife and I are building our first home and we have the luxury of considering a plumb in desin right out of the gates.
I honestly wish I had that luxury myself. My wife is still a little irked about the amount of counter space the Duetto takes up on the counter as opposed to my old Silvia. Although, what sold her on the idea was how much quieter the machine is over my old Silvia. She hated the noise of the vibration pump, so the change to a rotary was quite welcome.
What is nice is when you can put the espresso machine in a spot where you can view it from both the front and the rear. Some espresso machines (Like the Faema E61) are absolutely beautiful to look at it from the rear as well as the front. It's nice though when you can just have enough counter space in your kitchen to accommodate it while still having enough prep space to make other foods.
No Mazzer though, will be upgrading the grinder when we get our new home.
I agree. I guess what makes me a feel a little uncomfortable is showing up at a strangers house with a bunch of other strange people who I have never met before. I suppose there is safety in numbers. Although, The last time I attended a user meet, I was thrown into the Bow River. (Mind you, that was nearly 25 years ago.) So, as long as the user meet is far away from any large body of water, I'm perfectly OK. :-)
I don't know what format we would want to have this in.
Well, I think a good place to start would be an informal potluck / BBQ. We could make it into a decent meal for everyone followed with copious amounts of coffee. I've always gone by the mantra that the best way to get to know a person is over a large meal. Heck, the best job interview I ever had was in a restaurant.
Or perhaps we buy a ton of milk and beans and try to perfect our methods through a lot of practice (might have to charge cover in this case ;) ).
Well, I kind of figured that if everyone brought at least 2 litres of milk, 300 grams of their own choice of coffee and at least one dish consisting of meat, vegetables or sweets (ie. Biscotti, cake, scones, etc.) that should pretty much cover everything. My thought is that perhaps the excess leftover coffee and milk would be "donated" to the host for their own personal consumption to compensate them for cleanup, prep time, power consumption, etc.
Figuring that out, I don't think it would cost anything more than $40 a person. Does that sound reasonable to you?
That's very generous of you. My wife would kill me if a bunch of strange people showed up at the house. Not to mention, our kitchen is quite small and only has enough outlets for two 15 amp machines, but it's all a moot point because we also lack counter space.
I can have up to 3 commercial machines up and running
I will admit that it would be nice if we had a barista from Phil and Sebastians show up. They're not even allowed to pull shots until they've been working there for at least 4 months. It was one of their baristas that got me into the habit of weighing input and output. At first, I thought it was obsessive, but now I have a metric to work from and when I see the numbers show up, I know what to expect from the shot so I don't end up with any surprises.
I think that starting out with 4 people is very comfortable. I appreciate your willingness to open your home to strangers.
Garbage In, Garbage Out, for every step of the process. From Beans to grinder, grounds to machine, coffee to cup.
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