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Jan 5, 2011 08:26 AM

Home Barista Training in LA

So I have a new espresso machine and I really want to learn latte art. Does anyone know any shop or other place that does training for home baristas? I tried Intelligentsia, but they told me they don't have that in LA.


Oh, here's the machine:

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  1. Jones Coffee in Pasadena

    Nice setup, my friend has that machine as well :)

    1. Latte art is all about how you steam the milk, and each machine could have a different approach; a commercial machine takes mere seconds to create microfoam, while the Silvia takes 30sec or more. That's why I don't necessarily think a training program would help you unless the barista were familiar with the machine.

      The quickest way would be to have a Silvia owner come over and teach you.

      Meanwhile, you can peruse coffeegeek's latte art boards:

      There are plenty of posts on steaming with the Silvia. Many videos on youtube as well.

      7 Replies
      1. re: ristretto

        Yeah, I've seen the videos, read the coffegeek and home-barista stuff, and I think I get pretty good microfoam. It's actually making the designs that I don't have down yet. Maybe I'll post something on one of those forums and see if I can find a local Silvia user.

        1. re: sku

          Ahh, didn't realize you were that far ahead. If you're producing microfoam with a velvety smooth consistency resembling latex paint, then it's really a matter of mechanics and the machine is out of the equation.

          There are probably thousands of posts on technique. What exactly is happening when you pour?

          BTW, some cafes that do latte art will let you pour the milk they've steamed (not Intelly, though). They might be able to critique your method.

          1. re: ristretto

            I'm not saying that my milk isn't necesarilly the problem, but this is why I need some hands on attention; I feel like I've done as much as I can do in terms of reading about it.

          2. re: sku

            Did you find anything? The classes in LA I'm finding are all either too basic or too expensive. My mom sounds like she's about where you are- getting good foam but can't make the designs- and I want to buy her a class for xmas.

            1. re: katwong85

              speak to anyone at Cognoscenti at Atwater/Chinatown. They will send one your baristas to your house, and the cost isn't prohibitive.

              if you're on the true east side, check with de Baristas Cafe in MPK.

              if she just wants to do latte art, it should be easy breezy.

              1. re: TonyC

                Check out Klatch, they send me emails on barista training classes every now and then. I recollect its around $200-$300

                1. re: Sgee

                  a one-on-one day with heather ex barista champ will run you $1200-ish, which, i s'pose is cheaper than 1 days with Vivian Ward, but.. still.

                  not to mention to gotta drive out to effin BFE in the (909).

                  trust me, a day with the Cog team is a lot cheaper, and they might bring you leftover Proof croissants.

        2. It's geared more for the coffee professional, but you can call the Specialty Coffee Assocation of America and ask if their classes might cover what you're seeking. If not, they might have leads for a shop that will work with you. They're located in downtown Long Beach.

          Also - Coffee Klatch in San Dimas has a barista who's won a world championship. Since they are expanding to other locations, I imagine they train their own staff on the finer points of pulling espresso. Perhaps you can charm your way into a lesson?

          Coffee Klatch
          806 W Arrow Hwy, San Dimas, CA 91773

          3 Replies
          1. re: Professor Salt

            Thats a great idea, Coffee pro's are often very willing to share their knowledge IME. You could also talk to your favorite barista into coming over off hours for side work.

            1. re: Professor Salt

              You must be thinking of Heather Perry, although she never won a world championship. She finished second, which was the highest an American ever scored although an American has since won the Barista world championship.

              She's also in charge of training for her family's stores, but IIRC, she charges $500 to train outsiders.

              1. re: Professor Salt

                Klatch sends me emails on barista training every so often - I think they're worth checking out