It's not everyday that you're invited to bring a group of 12 students to a state of art coffee training lab and facility. This rare opportunity came to us through longtime friend, partner and a mentor of ours—Josh Littlefield. Josh leads Retail Training & Operations at the beloved and New York-based Irving Farm Coffee Roasters. We long spoke about a day where we would put together and run a simulation of the four-hour barista fundamentals intensive workshop, which has become a staple class offering (among others) of Irving Farm's The Loft. The Loft, as it is so affectionately called, is less than a year old, situated near the outskirts of Union Square consisting of two training labs and one cupping lab where the team meets on a weekly basis to review, taste and undergo quality control. The sheer space, equipment and caliber that Irving Farm is able to execute at The Loft is unlike any other in the city.
When we opened registration up for 12 lucky individuals within our membership of over 1,000—spots went quick, closing within a 5 minute window. These 12 lucky individuals did not only have the pleasure of making new friends with coffee stewards and sweethearts Josh, Rachel and Demba but were able to get schooled on espresso theory, dialing/pulling espresso, steaming milk, and putting these separate applications together to create latte art—some succeeding more than others.
All in all, regardless of whether the latte art represented a heart did not matter. When it was all said and done, everyone took away an invaluable lesson: the beauty, the complexity, and a sense of community that is the world of coffee. For many, it was their first coffee "class," their first interaction with an espresso machine, and perhaps their first step into a coffee training lab. It was a time for many firsts and certainly an experience that will last a lifetime.
Always a special thanks to Josh and Irving Farm for their unconditional love and support in everything that we do. Learn more about Irving Farm's mission and locations: http://irvingfarm.com