With Australia now emerging as one of the most discerning and profitable coffee locations in the world, and staggering amounts of money being spent on coffee every year in the country, having expert barista's on staff is becoming an integral part of business within the industry.
Datamonitor’s 2010 report ‘Hot drinks in Australia to 2013’ recently reported sales for 2008 surpassed AU$1350m, a figure expected to grow to AU$1473m in 2013. Furthermore according to BIS Shrapnel's 'Coffee & Beverages in Australia' 2010 report, Australian consumers spend $10.7 billion a year on coffee when combining the spend of coffee at home and away from home.
With these figures circulating, highly certified barista training courses have emerged as an integral part of the Australia culture, with the ‘gun’ barista now a hot commodity on the local cafe scene.
Andrew Benefield, Managing Director of Mrs Fields , says his company has placed a firm emphasis on barista training in Mrs Fields franchises across Australia due to the modern barista’s ability to make, or break, a shopfront reputation.
“Australian coffee drinkers are extremely tough, so Mrs Fields Australia has focused largely on guaranteeing each coffee meets the standards the typical customer now expects. All Mrs Fields baristas are professionally trained. If you want to present a serious coffee offering over here, this is essential,” he says.
Mrs Fields’ signature coffee blend was developed in conjunction with Victorian coffee roasters Daily Roast Coffee and World Barista judge Justin Metcalf. Metcalf has also designed a barista training program tailored to Mrs Fields for TAFE.
In February Mrs Fields Daily Roast blend was selected to be distributed to other international Mrs Fields operations, including those in China and Pakistan .
According to Benefield, cleanliness is the key weapon a good barista must possess, perhaps more important than sound technique and a knack for producing the perfect crema.
“They say the perfect coffee ultimately comes down to two key factors: blend and cleanliness of the machine. Cleaning the machine can influence the taste of coffee by over 70%,” says Benefield.