top of page

SCA Barista/ Brewing Level 1+ Cafe Business (3 Days)

Program Coursework
Foundations of Coffee

Laying the groundwork for a life in coffee, Foundations of Coffee serves as the introduction to all of the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) pathways and builds a vocabulary, both spoken and sensed, that will serve each subsequent class in any chosen course of study. Lectures touching on varied subjects that impact coffee such as agronomy, earth sciences, economics, and sociology will bring to life the seed to cup journey as students explore the many steps along the global supply chain.


Foundations of coffee coursework will shift to a closer inspection of how the senses and chemistry collide, examining how coffees are evaluated through tasting exercises, cupping protocol, and a thorough introduction to flavor perception, as well as the theoretical and practical workings of brewing and extraction. By launching coffee careers with the right tools, Foundations of Coffee will prepare students for their chosen pathway with a comprehensive overview of the macro and micro forces key to the craft and global industry.


Duration: 8-12 hours

CB100 - Seed to Cup

A fundamental skill of any specialty coffee professional is to be able to identify key points and explain the journey of coffee from seed to cup, having a basic grasp of concepts of coffee’s history, growing conditions and chain from farmer to consumer. Engaging, educating and enriching consumers of specialty coffee are inherent in the work of baristas, roasters and retailers, and this class provides accurate, concise information that surveys the custody of coffee, from farmer to barista. Having this basic framework of knowledge will help newcomers to the industry to position new information as they learn on the job from others.


Two alternatives to meet this requirement are: (1) attending Coffee Farming RP206 & Coffee Processing RP207 at past events or on eLearning platform; (2) attend Origin Trip (Request for credit | Origin Trip).

CP151/152 - Brewing and Extraction Principles | Principles Applied

This class is the foundation for all coffee brewing and is essential for any newcomer to the coffee industry. Coffee professionals need to have a strong knowledge of the principles governing optimum brewing methods and must be able to brew coffee to SCA’s vetted standards. CP151 provides this critical instruction and practice. CP152 continues to explore the six essential elements of coffee brewing, both through mechanical and manual brewing methods. Students get hands-on time with the equipment (CP151 required).


Recommended prerequisites: CP100, GE103

GE103- Customer Service Essentials

Outstanding customer service is a critical component of creating the specialty coffee experience. Students will identify common keys to great customer service and also steps of service recovery for when things go wrong. During group discussions, students strategize how to improve customer interactions and exchange experiences and approaches that have been successful. The class focuses on the specialty coffee barista, but is relevant for all members of the specialty coffee community.

Recommended prerequisites: CP100, CP101, CP102

CP103- Orientation to SCA Cupping

Cupping is the Specialty Coffee industry’s standard for evaluating green coffee. Using the SCA Cupping Protocol and exploring two flights of coffee, participants are introduced to and practice the SCA protocol, and focus on basic vocabulary from the Coffee Tasters Flavor Wheel for objective, professional coffee quality evaluation.


Recommended prerequisites: CP151/152

Required prerequisites: CB100

CP101/102- Introduction to Espresso and Milk Steaming Fundamentals

Exceptional espresso preparation is a requirement for anyone in specialty coffee retail. Students work closely with station instructors in small groups, pulling shots, steaming milk and preparing espresso beverages in this laboratory-style class. CP101 is designed to enable students to:

  • Discuss SCA espresso standards and current industry trends for established retailers and baristas

  • Demystify espresso machines, grinders, and espresso preparation techniques for beginners

  • Provide hands-on experience under guidance from SCA instructors to prepare espresso, milk and café drinks

  • Administer preventive maintenance to espresso equipment, including essential basic cleaning steps

  • Explain the importance of workstation cleanliness

  • Learn the essential elements of a quality espresso and milk beverages

  • Craft espressos and basic milk drinks using SCA protocol

This class takes approximately 6 hours to complete. Recommended prerequisites: CB100, CP103, CP151, CP152, GE103

Barista Level 1 Practical and Written Exams

The Barista Level 1 practical exam evaluates practical knowledge and skills of a barista at the level of essential competencies. The written exam covers knowledge aspects of all Barista Pathway Level 1 classes. Based on the Barista Certificate Level 1 curriculum, completion of ALL classes is recommended prior to testing. In order to receive the full certificate, students must attend the required classes: Seed to Cup (CB100), Customer Service Skills (CP103), Brewing and Extraction Principles (CP151), Brewing and Extraction Principles (CP152), and Orientation to SCA Cupping (GE103). The only class for which candidates may “bypass” is Espresso and Milk Steaming Fundamentals (CP101-102). Bypass candidates are highly encouraged to attend the online intensive test preparation class, which covers the knowledge and performance content tested in the written and practical exams.


Recommended prerequisites: CP101, CP 102, or CP200


Required prerequisites: CB100, CP103, CP151, CP152, GE103

bottom of page