How to Make an Incredible Cup of Coffee (the Secret’s in the Training)

Sitting at Tryst’s curved copper bar for lunch this week, I had the privilege of watching an accomplished barristo train a new hire at the industrial-size espresso machine across the counter from me. 

It was remarkable because the barristo was teaching the newbie not just how to operate the machine but how to make an incredible cup of coffee. And he did it with grace.

The barristo was supportive of the newbie’s latte attempts, he tested him on café au lait, and he let him make a classic cappuccino mistake. He showed him how to be exact, clean, and classy by teaching him about each machine and input the barristi control (e.g., water temp, grinder settings) and by showing him how to tweak each to get certain results. Then he allowed him to test and learn.

Too often we train people on process and not fundamentals, which makes them less critically minded and flexible. It also makes them less useful to the business in the long run. Any newbie can learn the steps to making a cup of Cuban Coffee, but being able to recommend the perfect drink to a groggy customer and make it fabulous takes more artistry than rote memorization. 

Effectively, the barristo was giving the newbie context and fundamental tools to delight customers. How many of your managers are training their new hires like this?

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Photo credit: i spy things dc.

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