Putting the skills to the test…

Madness has been happening lately. For instance, I just passed my triangulation test for the Intelligentsia Los Angeles Barista Certification. Five sets of three cups sat on the table. One cup in each set was different. We’ve been doing this a lot lately, but with coffees we know. This was with new crop coffees. Stuff most of us were yet to taste. I did, however, successfully guess 4 of the 5 cups. The rockstar of the day was Jules Manoogian who nailed all 5. The test was part two of the massive seasoning we are all going through this week.

It all started yesterday with a written exam, which, we are all waiting for our results on. The test was 100 questions long. It took me about 2 hours to complete and when I was finished I felt more drained than I ever did in college. The first page looked simple, matching column A to column B. A was 8 of the coffees we are currently offering and have been cupping for the past few weeks. B was the altitude, soil, and region of where that coffee comes from. Thank you Geoff for writing such detailed nods and making this relatively simple.

The following pages were a series of short answer questions, ranging from customer situations to simple answers about protocol. For instance, one the questions was, “A customer comes in who tells you they regularly drink flavored french roast and they are looking to buy a pound of coffee. What coffee would you advise them to buy and why?” Other questions touched on home brewing methods, how to handle questions on Fair Trade, Organic Certified, Shade Grown, and so on.

Then came a multiple choice/true or false section… This is where I think I may have suffered the most, as many of the numbers were very close together and I may have confused a couple things… Oh, well.

Post that section, the test author, Stephen Morrissey, decided to drop a couple bombs to wrap the thing up… Questions like, explain one of the major decaffeination processes in as much detail as possible and name a company who does such. The other great one was explain, as much as you can, as to how coffee is ‘wet processed.’ Followed by name three other processing methods and share what is different about each one…

Well, it’s lunch, so I’m gonna run to the Super King for something delicious. Hopefully, we’ll hear soon whether we passed or not. The only redeeming factor is that if we did fail, we do get to retake the test in a week or so… but seriously, I would prefer not to have to do anything like that again… at least, not for a good while, or with a pen and paper… typing is so much easier… Peace kids.

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One thought on “Putting the skills to the test…

  1. WOW! I had heard that Intelligentsia had rigorous training for their baristas, but really… wow. That is the highest level of detail and understanding demanded out of baristas that I could imagine. I thought that I had learned a fair amount about coffee… I guess I have quite a ways to go yet.

    I’m looking forward to Intelligentsia LA opening their doors for business and also looking forward to experiencing the Clover machine and also some latte art! =)

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