There are several courses available for aspiring baristas to take. I am interested in opening a farmer's market coffee stand, I have zero Barista experience, however some of these courses are very pricey but are backed by organizations such as the Specialty Coffee Association of America. I have come across other options at local community colleges under the Barista I and II guise. At the surface, these two classes do not look that much different, is there anything specifically that I should look for when enrolling in a course like this

From SCAA, Barista I

Learn the basics of espresso preparation, milk, and drink building in the Level 1 Barista Pathway. With access to the best tools, coffees, and industry leaders, Level 1 Barista students receive expertly lead training and a comprehensive introduction to the espresso craft.

From a local community college, extension program

Learn about coffee, how to prepare and serve espresso and espresso based drinks. Program will show how to use espresso/cappuccino machine at a commercial level, and will make you confident around coffee and equipment. Completion of Barista program will include a Basic Barista Certification, which can be used for employment referral. Class will be instructed by a Specialty Coffee Consultant, who has more than 15 years of experience in Italian espresso, espresso equipment (at an engineering level)and barista training in over 80 restaurants and coffee shops.

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    Hi Geoffery! Your question is a little ambiguous and might be worded better. Are you interested in what to look for in a barista class/course or whether or not one certified by a professional organization is better than similar options?
    – N. York
    May 11, 2016 at 2:46

2 Answers 2


The SCAA-certified classes will be of more benefit to you if you're looking for employment at a coffee shop as a barista, roaster, etc.

Given that you're interested in learning the fundamentals of coffee in order to open a farmers market coffee stand, I would say go with the cheaper option. Both will teach you what it is you seek, but only one will set you back thousands of dollars gaining certifications.

Note: The SCAA has strict guidelines that some coffee shops simply cannot meet for reasons of cost or another. From the SCAA's education website:

All Campus locations have successfully completed the SCAA Certified Teaching Laboratory program, demonstrating a calibrated teaching environment to teach within SCAA standards and protocols.

Campuses also are required to employ only SCAA Certified Specialized Instructors for class offerings, ensuring the highest quality of instruction regardless of which Campus a student attends.

Basically, an excellent instructor with all the best equipment who can't afford to take the SCAA classes or meet the space requirements for a teaching space can't teach said classes.


As far as I know, SCAA/SCAE and similar bodies offer somehow worldwide recognized certificates. Local courses may not have such reputation. To learn the basics for yourself, they may both work for you.

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