Illy's UniversitÁ del Caffè was founded in Trieste in 2000 and so far has schooled 7,000 baristas; the aim is to open further branches in Brazil, China and India. The course is led by Illy's UK head of quality, Marco Arrigo, and the London course is adapted to suit the UK coffee market.
The course is designed to guide baristas, restaurateurs and coffee enthusiasts to master the art of coffee preparation and serve world-class drinks.
Illy's UniversitÁ del Caffè was founded in Trieste in 2000 and offers complete theoretical and practical tuition to a huge audience; to date Trieste has schooled more than 7,000 people, from growers living in coffee producing countries to everyday coffee enthusiasts. The aim of spreading and developing coffee culture has lead Illy to open further branches of the University throughout the world, in destinations including Sao Paolo, Shanghai and Bangalore.
The half day UK course costs £75 per person.
The course is lead by Illy's UK head of quality, Marco Arrigo, who first introduced the world-famous brand to the UK; it is now imported by Eurofoodbrands. His course will also, unlike several of the barista training courses now available, look beyond the making of coffee and will also address the management and operation of the modern coffee bar.
"The logical starting point for the course is a discussion of the current UK coffee market, looking at America's influence and it's reclassification of coffee as a milky, sweet and frothy breakfast drink. The preparations favoured by American baristas and coffee houses are in total contrast to the traditional Italian methods of making a coffee. The emphasis of my tuition lies on purist Italian coffee, the way it should be," said Arrigo.
"What needs to be taught is not just coffee, but the operation of a coffee bar," he told Coffee House magazine. "I spend hours watching how people work behind their bars, and seeing how many times they collide with each other. As a result, we have started drawing white lines on the floor of some sites, so if the bartender on one side crosses over, we say 'what did you do that for?' and if he says 'to get the syrup', we then put the syrup on his side of the line.
"We have found lots of inefficient things that bar staff do. In one, we tried to move a glass that was blocking the working space and they said no, that's Kate Moss's latte glass. We asked when she last came in, and when they said 'two years ago', we moved it!"
Andrea Illy has said that he hopes to put 25,000 students through his various courses worldwide by 2010.
Illycaffè sells over six million cups of espresso coffee a day, in more than 140 countries around the world and is available in more than 50,000 of the best restaurants and coffee bars. Espressamente Illy, the chain of franchised Italian-style coffee bar, is now present in 32 countries and comprises 175 outlets.
By Ian Boughton