At the start of a New Year thoughts traditionally turn to reflection - on the 12 months that have passed and and to those that lie ahead. For Dark Woods and the hospitality sector in general we find a challenging environment that nonetheless offers plenty of cause for optimism. The latest industry reports suggest a robust return to pre-pandemic levels of trading and even the prospects of growth to come. Although this is a broadly positive situation, for an industry operating with a diminished pool of skilled employees it poses many challenges about how this growth is going to be managed.
During of my own period of New Year's reflection I decided upon a number of changes, both the content of our training programme and to the way it is delivered. The aim was not only to improve the content and efficacy of these courses but to ensure that we continue to deliver ongoing and prompt access to training for our rapidly growing customer base. These changes begin with a more streamlined booking system but extend to a full review of our existing classes and January seems the perfect time to share these with you so you can begin the year with a clear idea of how we can help you deliver to coffee excellence in 2022.
I'd also like to take this opportunity to encourage customers to explore beyond the initial Core Modules course that they receive at the start of their educational journey with us. It's a great entry point but there is so much more to discover beyond this and one of my Resolutions for 2022 is to see more of you booking onto the other modules available! These should be booked directly through our webshop and your places will be secured by payment of a 10% deposit that is fully refundable upon attendance or cancellation with 2 working days notice. Please remember to apply your wholesale customer discount code when making your purchase. If you don't know it please get in touch with our production team on firstname.lastname@example.org
To help you navigate the options and to encourage your further learning I've summarised our Modular programme below with some suggestions as to why each course might benefit you and your staff. I also detailed what resources are available both to support the sessions and to enshrine ongoing good practise in the workplace long after the course has finished...
Module 1 - Core Barista Skills
Who are you? You are new to coffee or to Dark Woods and you'd like to know how to set a grinder to brew delicious espresso and to texture milk for a variety of drinks. We'd love every single barista who works with our coffee to do this course as although it's suitable for everyone it certainly doesn't pull any punches in the pursuit of perfection!
What do you get? - Full colour "Coffee Community" training guide, Core Barista Skills handout with daily BrewLog and cleaning sheet to manage grinder setting and appropriate machine care, menu spec sheet to manage your in-house menu, skills checklist to "sign off" trainees, suggested in-work exercises to continue staff engagement and development beyond the course.
Module 2 - Advanced Espresso
Who are you? - You can set a grinder but would like to understand them better from an operational perspective and are curious to know how your brew recipe can be refined to dial-in perfect espresso. Ideally at least one person at every site should do this course so they can trouble-shoot maintenance issues and confidently manage espresso standards across a team of baristas.
What do you get? Full colour "Coffee Community" training guide, Advanced Espresso handout covering a full explanation of brewing theory and brew recipe manipulation with supervised exercises, a demonstration of grinder strip-down and clean with links to appropriate on-line maintenance videos and further trusted on-line resources to support ongoing development.
Module 3 - Advanced Milk
Who are you? - You can confidently steam milk on a coffee bar but feel that you'd benefit from some tips on workflow to help you through those busy periods. Oh and if you'd like to nail the perfect swan/heart/rosetta or tulip for the 'Gram. Of course you would! This course is for you.
What do you get? - Full colour "Coffee Community" training guide, Advanced Milk handout covering the chemistry of milk and implications for appropriate handling and storage, a supported pouring session covering key recognised latte art patterns with pour diagrams and links to the best on-line pouring videos.
Module 4 - Coffee Flavour and Brewing
Who are you? You don't need to learn how to make espresso or steam milk but you'd like to be able to talk coffee with your customers. What is processing and how does it affect the way your coffee tastes? Why is a dark roast different to a light roast? What on earth does altitude have to do with anything??! This course will guide you through all the factors that affect the way coffee tastes and introduce you to the varied world of non-espresso brewing. This will be of particular interest to those of you offering batch or hand-brewed filter or those of you stocking a range of our retail coffees.
What do you get? - A guided cupping with the opportunity to taste a range of coffees that each demonstrate how process, roast, species and altitude impact on coffee character. Full colour "Coffee Community" training guide with SCA Flavour wheel to suggest appropriate sensory descriptors. Coffee Flavour and Brewing handout with discussion of scientific brewing principles and the opportunity to workshop filter brew manipulations under supervision.
How to book - As always our full range of training courses can be found on the website training calendar and as of February 2022 should be booked directly through our webshop using the links above.
SCA Courses - Modular Courses are designed to support SCA Barista Skills courses and are excellent preparation for prospective SCA exam candidates. Core Barista skills is equivalent in complexity and scope to SCA Foundation Barista, Advanced Espresso and Advanced Milk operate at SCA Intermediate Barista level. More information about SCA Courses can be found here.
Bespoke Training - Although we'd strongly encourage you to make use of our spacious and well-equipped training facilities at the Roastery there is still the option of off-site training or tailoring a training session toward your specific needs. If you can't find a scheduled course that works for you please do continue to contact me directly - email@example.com