Counter Culture Coffee Professional Certification
Coffee is a complex, fascinating beverage with a rich history. The origins of coffee, its myriad flavors, and the details of coffee preparation and enjoyment are important aspects of the experience of coffee consumption. Because of this, a consumer’s enjoyment of coffee is enhanced when a friendly, knowledgeable expert helps guide the intrepid coffee drinker through the experience of choosing, preparing, and enjoying coffee. We’re passionate about developing coffee experts with the skills and knowledge necessary to guide coffee lovers through the coffee experience; it’s the reason we started our Counter Intelligence Coffee Education program.
We recognize two primary occupations through which a coffee expert can help bring great coffee to consumers; the occupations of barista and coffee steward. We’ve built an education and certification program around these two vocations, and those who are recognized with these titles have taken specific coursework and passed practical and written tests we have designed specifically with these professions in mind.
Counter Culture Certified Coffee Steward ProgramThe coffee steward is the sommelier of the coffee world, and their role is to guide the coffee drinker through the myriad flavors of coffees from around the globe. The Counter Culture Certified Coffee Steward Program includes coursework in coffee history, botany, trading, brewing, and tasting. Successful Certified Coffee Stewards have attended classes in Coffee Extraction, Cupping, Origins, History and Trading, and have demonstrated their knowledge of these subjects in a written exam. In addition, the Certified Coffee Steward has demonstrated their knowledge of the cupping process, and their ability to taste and describe coffee flavors accurately. The Certified Coffee Steward is also qualified to serve as a coffee expert in a retail, restaurant, or coffee bar setting, and guide consumers through the experience of selecting, purchasing, brewing, and tasting specialty coffees.
- All Certified Coffee Stewards will receive a certificate of recognition and a cupping spoon engraved with the Counter Culture Coffee logo.
Coffee Steward Qualifications:
- Completion of Coffee Origins, Brewing Science I-II (equivalent to Extraction lab prior to October 2011), and Cupping Leader’s Labs
- Written exam based on lab materials and knowledge of Counter Culture Coffees; exam includes a 500 word essay and a practical, cupping-based portion. 85 percent passes. If a candidate does not pass the certification exam, they may reschedule a makeup exam for a later time.
The coursework behind these two certifications is a solid foundation of coffee knowledge for the working coffee professional. We believe that this base of knowledge is essential for anyone who seeks to be a professional in the coffee industry. We are proud to maintain these programs, and are dedicated to supporting the recognition and development of Certified Baristas and Coffee Stewards throughout the industry.
Counter Culture Certified Barista Program
The barista is the chef of the coffee world, and skilled baristas make a career of creating delicious coffee beverages for consumers. The Counter Culture Certified Barista Program focuses especially on espresso education and preparation. The individual who achieves this certification has attended classes in espresso and milk science, has passed a written test on the course content, and has performed successfully in a practical test before a panel of three professional taste and technical judges. The Certified Barista has therefore demonstrated their knowledge of espresso preparation and their ability to prepare drinks to exacting standards in an examination environment; understands the classic espresso menu; and is well qualified to create and serve high-quality espresso drinks in a coffee bar.
- All Certified Baristas will receive a personalized tamper courtesy of Counter Culture Coffee.
- Counter Culture Coffee employees who pass certification may have membership in the Barista Guild of America subsidized by the company.
Certified Barista Qualifications:
- Completion of Beginner Espresso Lab, Intermediate Espresso Lab, and Milk Chemistry Lab.
- Written exam based on lab materials (86 percent passes)
- Practical exam* (50 percent passes)
* The practical exam is formatted to emulate a modified United States Barista Championship. The barista will have both technical and sensory judges (1 technical, 2 sensory), and will follow rules and guidelines and partial format specified by the USBC, with the following exceptions: number of drinks served; the barista will present two espresso shots, two cappuccinos, and two "wildcard" beverages to standards (café latte, espresso macchiato, or Americano) Scoring criteria will be available for in advance of the exam. If a candidate does not pass either the written or the practical portion of the certification, they may reschedule a makeup exam for a later time.