What is SCA Brewing Skills Foundation all about?
“A course and test for brewing coffee? Even a child can do that!” Well, not exactly if we are aiming for a high quality cup. Let me walk you through what we do on SCA Brewing Foundation course.
Barista is a guide to coffee heaven
When talking with random people about this they all tend to have the same faulty image: barista is the one pushing a button on the espresso machine. Well – true. They do that, but so much more, too. Being a barista means and requires many things. Passion, dedication and professionalism to start with. It usually a lifestyle, too.
Being good and getting better takes hours and hours of hard work.
It is about finding the perfect recipes for all brewing methods that the café has on the menu. They can vary from several espressos to automatic batch brewer and manual brewing methods like pour over and aeropress.
It is about understanding the different brewing techniques and knowing your water. Of course there are many other skills that you have to have besides the ones connected directly to coffee but let’s not go there - at least this time.
Things affecting to the Coffee brew
It all comes down to the flavor of the coffee. There are many variables on our way towards the perfect cup.
- Ingredient: what coffee are we using, where does it come from, how it was processed and roasted as well as how it was stored
- Coffee to water ratio
- Method and technique
- Grind level and brewing time
- Filter type (or no filter at all!)
- Water temperature and composition
- Cleanliness and functioning of the equipment
We can evaluate the coffee by using sensory analysis but there are also some measuring methods that give us an idea if we are on the correct path. We can measure the TDS i.e. strength of the coffee. By using that information it is possible to count the extraction percentage. These two numbers tell us a lot about what is going on in the cup. We will be publishing blog posts about extraction and TDS in the early 2019 so stay tuned if I grabbed your interest :)
Let’s not forget about the importance of serving method and the multisensory experience of enjoying coffee. Have you read Gediminas’ blog about senses?
Brewing Skills Foundation
Then combining all of the above. Brewing Skills is one of the six modules of Speciality Coffee Association Coffee Skills Program (SCA CSP). At the moment Paulig Barista Institute arranges courses in Finland but the setup can be taken to other countries and given in English, too. If you are interested, send us email! At the end of the course the attendees take written and practical tests and if everything goes well, they achieve their international certificates that are valuable addition to the CV where ever they work - all around the world.
The Foundation level is perfect for those eager to get the basic pieces put on their place but also digging a bit deeper to evaluating and measuring the coffee. This is all about the best practices; no matter if you are brewing filter coffee or espresso.