by Alyssa De Jager, Head of The Barista School
Finding a balance between independent learning and a helping hand.
Baristas are briefed when receiving the requirements of certifications on what is expected. Now as each of us are more experienced in certain areas than others (roasting : extraction : technical : production etc.) we are there to help baristas along the way by pointing in the right directions. The point of completing levels to encourage baristas to open up, study, and experience different and more technical aspects of the coffee industry.
Using the roasting side as an example, a barista should have already researched the roasting process before even approaching the roastery so that they are already asking the right questions. I don’t believe spoon feeding information helps make the information STICKY. Rather, I suggest that they do more independent reading on a topic before moving on; or experiment, watch videos, research, to achieve a better understanding.
There must be some level of eagerness to learn from their side by preparing before-hand, asking for assistance, never mind a signature. These levels do take time for a barista because it must be done properly and responsibly. Ascending the levels requires authentic curiosity and a commitment to self-improvement. Keep that in mind.