Celebrating as coffee making skills centre gets off ground
Hundreds more expert coffee makers are to be trained each year in the Westcountry as the growing consumer industry continues to buck the economic trend.
Coffee West has unveiled its new training facility in Devon in response to the booming coffee shop market.
The firm now expects to almost double its output of qualified baristas in a bid to satisfy the quest among consumers for the perfect cup.
Restaurants, cafés, museums and leisure centres are among the operations upgrading their coffee-making facilities, as the industry grows by a recession-busting 6% a year.
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Andrew Tucker, managing director and founder of Coffee West, said the growth was forecast to continue. "The bottom line is that coffee is an affordable luxury which is pretty much ingrained in our culture and daily lifestyle," he added.
"People seem to spend as much time sitting in coffee shops and cafés these days than they do actually shopping – and that works in our favour."
Coffee West was created 12 years ago and now employs 16 staff with a turnover of £1.7 million across its two core businesses, including selling coffee machines.
The new purpose-built coffee shop style training facility – the UK Coffee School SW – was unveiled at the company's headquarters in Buckfastleigh last week.
The South West-focused operation will provide inspirational trainers and City and Guilds assessors. Top industry professionals endorsed the centre at the launch, including UK Barista Champion Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood and Andy Fawkes, one of the country's top coffee roasters, from Masteroast.
The school will teach students the foundations which underpin any good coffee – the "four Ms" as the Italians call them – blend, machine, grind and hands.
Mr Tucker explained: "The quality of coffee is important and makes the difference, as does the equipment, but if the machine is running hot you can extract lots of flavours you don't want.
"You can have a great machine and coffee but still annihilate it if you don't know what you are doing – training is absolutely critical.
"This new centre is a big step up from where we have been before – last year we trained 250 baristas but this year we will be looking at 400 – the facilities are much stronger and more streamlined."
The centre has already been nationally accredited by the Beverage Standards Association and City & Guilds.
It will initially offer programmes including: the City & Guilds VQR Level 2 Barista Skills, Introductory and Advanced Barista Training as well as Train the Trainer.