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Custom House Coffee Education & Training

Education & Training

Our training programs are targeted primarily for coffee and food-service businesses. The courses are relatively short but crammed with useful information, with emphasis on hands-on training to get you and your staff up to speed as fast as possible.

A. Barista Training

Your staff is instrumental to your success, and they need to be trained properly so they will delight your customers with their superior skills. Not all barista training is created equal. There are a lot of poor techniques being taught out there, so you must consider who is doing your training.

Our barista training is conducted by Custom House Coffee founder Bob Mastin, who was trained personally by Ellie Matuszak, currently the Director of Professional Development at the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), the main trade group for the industry. Ellie was also a Midwest Barista Champion and the head trainer at Intelligensia Coffee of Chicago, which regularly dominated the US Barista Championships while Ellie was there training them. Bob teaches the same techniques he learned from Ellie, arguably one of the best trainers in the industry. You will learn how true professionals create perfect espresso beverages.

Our baristas are experts at pulling the perfect shot of espresso topped with rich, caramel crema. Custom House Coffee has been voted Best Cappuccino or Best Latte in Newport County by Newport Life Magazine nearly every year since opening 12 years ago. Your staff will gain the confidence and the skills to impress your customers with superior espresso beverages.

You will learn why espresso is such an exquisite extraction technique and what makes it stand apart from all other brewing methods.

Espresso Basics Course Outline

A. What is espresso?
B. History of espresso
C. Espresso blends
D. The espresso grind
E. The various espresso drinks
F. Hands on session
1. Selecting & Grinding beans
2. Dosing into portafilter
3. Tamping & compaction
4. Extraction
5. Steaming milk (latte vs. cappuccino)
6. Latte art basics


Class Schedule and Fees

Classes are usually held on Wednesday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., by appointment only. Classes are limited to six people to allow sufficient individual hands-on training. Training for all current wholesale customers is free, and we encourage our customers to send employees on a regular basis for refresher training. For non-wholesale customers the cost of the course is $195 per person. Group rates are available as follows:

Number of people Cost per person
1 $195
2-4 $150
5-6 $100

One half (50%) of the course fee will be credited to the account of any business that becomes a wholesale customer within six months of the course date.

B. Consulting. In addition to our standard courses, we are available for consulting services as you require. Our areas of expertise span a wide range of areas:
1. Site selection, evaluation, and lease negotiation.
2. Designing and laying out the store.
3. Equipment needs and specifications.
4. Staffing requirements, training, and scheduling.
5. Operational systems and checklists.
6. Marketing, advertising, and publicity.
Contact Bob Mastin for more information (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). We offer lots of free advice to our wholesale customers to make them more successful. After all, the more successful they are the more coffee they will buy from us!

C. How to brew perfect coffee.

Our customers–both retail and wholesale–frequently ask us how to brew coffee so it tastes as good as it does in our stores. It really isn’t difficult as long as you’re willing to duplicate what we do with every brew. We get the best possible flavor essences from our coffee by following a strict procedure that you can duplicate for the same superb results:

Outstanding green beans. We source only the finest high-grown arabica beans from growers who take pride in the quality of their coffee. Every varietal we purchase is sampled and cupped before acceptance.

Fresh roasted beans. We hand roast our beans in the Middletown roastery with two state-of-the-art Diedrich roasters, following specific roast profiles for each varietal. We have limited our bean selection so that we can roast each of them frequently. The freshness of the roast is critical to achieving the best flavor—and we proudly display the roast date on every batch of beans.

Grinding just before brewing. We grind only enough coffee for each brew. Once ground, coffee stales quickly, so avoid grinding beans ahead of time.

Use good water. Brewed coffee is mostly water, so you want to make sure it tastes good. A good filtration system is recommended for most municipal water supplies.

Sufficient grounds. We use more grounds in each brew, because the result is a richer flavor, not stronger. Bitterness is actually caused by overextraction–too much water in relation to grounds. It is always better to use too much coffee than not enough. At home try one-half an ounce (two tablespoons) of coffee per eight-ounce cup, then adjust to taste. In a coffee shop use 3.5 oz. for a 64 oz. airpot or carafe.

Keeping the coffee warm. Avoid brewing into a glass carafe that sits on a hotplate unless you plan to consume the coffee immediately or transfer it to an insulated airpot or carafe. Otherwise, the brewed coffee will get “cooked” and will be ruined fairly quickly. An insulated container will not destroy the flavor, so the coffee can be used for iced coffee after it cools down. No waste!

Airtight storage. The main enemy of freshness is oxygen, so keep your beans in an airtight container, in a cool, dark place.

Follow these steps and you will consistently get outstanding coffee.

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