I was doing a demo seminar at the Bar Show in Earl’s Court last week and as I stood before the little theatre full of people I felt like I often do – like a bit of a fraud.
You end up talking like you know all the answers, like you know exactly what is right and what is wrong but I know I still have such a huge amount to learn.
Granted, I may know more than the people I am talking to, but is it enough? Qualifications in the field of training baristas are non-existant. I must be an expert because I say so.
I genuinely want people to make better coffee, I have nothing to prove, and if people want to disagree that is fine, as long as they can give me good reasons because I believe I can give reasons for what I am saying.
I’m never going to brew the perfect coffee, nor am I going to teach anyone how, but I hope I do inspire a little passion, a little more care.
Latte art in training is a great example of this. No one is going to learn it in a day. No one. But showing people it makes them want to learn, makes them want to go away and practise steaming milk properly.
But that is also a double-edged sword because you are often encouraging them to run before they can walk. Often teaching people to foam milk (which is very simple) overshadows all the information you’ve tried to get across on espresso, on grind, on cleaning etc etc.
I wish there were more discussion groups set up by the people who train so we can get some decent, useful, working qualifications out there, get a syllabus, decide what is fact and where the grey areas really are (they are numerous and large!).
My only other thought on all this is how odd my voice sounds through a mic and PA. Weird.