By: Sheryl Sowell | Category: Restaurants | Issue: April 2012
Kent Berry, barista instructor, at the Campus Blend Coffee Shop at Clary Sage College.
Do you have a passion for coffee? If your goal is to become a true artisan in the coffee industry, Clary Sage College has an exciting, innovative program for you. Their brand-new barista program is the only one of its kind in Oklahoma and one of only a few such programs in the nation. “The coffee industry is the fastest growing market segment of the food industry,” explains Barista Instructor Kent Berry. “This program is designed for those who desire to become artisan coffee makers. They may want to open their own coffee business, get into coffee shop management, or simply have an edge in the job market. Some coffee shop owners do not hire anyone unless they are career-driven baristas.”
According to Kent, the coffee industry movement is currently experiencing its third wave. “The first wave was gas station coffee, the second was the rise of big chain coffee shops such as Starbucks, and the third focuses on artisan roasted coffee,” he explains. “What our barista students learn is that creating coffee is an art form, similar to wine-making.” Students will gain a basic understanding of all things coffee – the history, botany, lingo, effects of caffeine on the body, brewing techniques, business and marketing aspects, and much more, including tea and smoothie techniques.
The three-week barista program consists of 65 program hours – 20 hours of theory and a 45-hour internship at the Campus Blend Coffee Shop at Clary Sage College, located at 3131 S. Sheridan in Tulsa. The program is a distance learning course; all of the theory portion can be completed online. This allows people from out of town – or even out of state – to complete the program. “In this case, we will work with the student to find a coffee shop in their city where they can complete the internship,” Kent adds.
After graduating from the program, barista students will be able to prepare hand-crafted espresso beverages by properly grinding, dosing and tamping ground espresso, pulling the perfect shot and steaming the perfect milk; prepare frappe blended drinks and smoothies; grind and brew coffee using a variety of brewing techniques; be able to discuss and describe coffee by region or blend to help a customer find the perfect coffee for their taste; discuss the science of coffee from crop to cup; and discern coffee jargon.
Kent’s personal love of coffee began early in life. His grandparents were restaurant owners, and as a child he was always fascinated by how their customers would sit and talk for hours over coffee. “These memories are how I came up with the name of my coffee blog – they were the ‘coffee mafia.’” (Check out Kent’s blog at clarysagecoffeemafia.com.) As a student at Texas Tech University in 2000, Kent’s enthusiasm for coffee resurged with the opening of a nearby Starbucks. He became a regular, and later worked as a store manager for the company for several years. “I developed a real passion for coffee. When the opportunity for a barista instructor opened at Clary Sage College, I knew it was a perfect fit for me.” Kent did extensive research to develop the curriculum for the barista program and wrote the theory portion of the course.
As with all Community Care College and Clary Sage College programs, the barista program offers continuing education opportunities, as well as lifetime career services to graduates. The barista course is a cash-pay program with no financial aid dispensed, but payment plans are available. Classes start every Monday.
For more information, visit www.communitycarecollege.edu or call (918) 610-0027.
Sheryl Sowell was born and raised in Tulsa, OK. She graduated from Will Rogers High School and received her Bachelor of Arts in English from Northeastern State University in 2007. She has worked for Value News as editor, writer and advertising copywriter since 2008. She enjoys meeting and interviewing people for Value News articles, learning about their backgrounds, and helping to promote their businesses and local events. In her free time, she enjoys reading, trying new recipes and crafts from Pinterest, attending concerts and sporting events, and spending time with family and friends. Sheryl lives in Tulsa with her fiancé Paul, their daughter Scarlett, and their two dogs, Gunner and Boo.