Coffee Academy in Tempe Offers Courses for the Aspiring Barista

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Coffee nerds, listen up. Did you know there's a coffee academy with ties to the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe operating in Valley?

Well there is, in Tempe to be exact. And the International Barista Coffee Academy is the only certified coffee school for SCAE in the Americas. If you're wondering how you can get in on that coffee knowledge, you'll be happy to know they recently announced their spring course schedule. Classes start today.

See also: - Slideshow from the Latte Art Competition at Crêpe Bar - Video Offers a Peek Into Specialty Coffee Culture - Coffee Chop Helps You Become a Coffee Know-It-All

The IBCA, or International Barista Coffee Academy, teaches and certifies all five of the types of courses offered in the SCAE - that's the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe - diploma system. The school opened in 2010 and offers classes from coffee basics to Sensory Cup Tasting and two levels of roasting courses. Their current schedule covers only the basics but they plan to expand their offerings when they move to a larger location in the summer.

Founder Patrick O'Malley, an Arizona native, holds one of fewer than 50 diplomas conferred by the SCAE in the world and founded Espresso Italia in 1998. The Espresso Italia Brands company now includes the IBCA, Infusion Coffee+Tea and LiquidTech, which provides maintenance and repair services for coffee and espresso machines.

The Barista Level 1 course includes classroom time where students will get the low down of coffee history, green coffee, roasting, grinding, brewing, extraction and preparation, milk, water, service skills, presentation, cleaning and sensory technology. The second half of the day will be spent at the espresso stations learning, among other things, how to pull the perfect espresso shot. Naturally.

Students also lean about milk, steaming, texturing and how to prepare the perfect traditional cappuccino and latte. Most importantly you'll get into the basics of latte art, allowing you from thence forth to make foamy leaves and impress the pants of all your friends.

O'Malley recommends the class for everyone from baristas looking to up their coffee game to "residential coffee geeks ." He does not, however, recommend the class for beginners with no prior coffee experience.

Perrry Czopp, owner of The Coffee Chop, offers coffee tours and coffee workshops geared mainly toward coffee consumers. He called IBCA's space, "pretty awesome, at least from a coffee nerd...perspective."

"Patrick, the owner of Espresso Italia, as well as his amazing staff have been in the business for quite sometime; although their new courses are fairly young. They are good teachers, helpers, and are very knowledgeable as well as just being cool people in general," Czopp says.

IBCA Spring 2013 class schedule:

February 7th Barista Lv 1 15th Grinding and Brewing Lv1 22nd Barista Lv1 28th Barista Lv1

March 2013 11th Barista Lv1 30th Roasting Lv1

April 2013 6th Barista Lv1 19th Batista Lv1 27th Grinding and Brewing Lv1

The one-day Barista Level 1 course costs $595 a person and includes an SCAE course diploma. Classes will be capped at 12 students per session. For more information visit the International Barista and Coffee Academy website.

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