TUCO is proud to have collaborated with Matthew Algie to provide a Two-Day Lead Barista Experience for TUCO members. On 19th and 20th February 2019, delegates from the University of Warwick, University of St Andrews, University of Abertay and The University of Manchester, came together in Glasgow, for two days of hands-on training about all-things coffee.

The group came together early on Tuesday morning at Matthew Algie’s Roastery in Glasgow, and what better setting to complete a training course in coffee than a professional roastery!

The group were welcomed by the Matthew Algie staff, and after introductions and refreshments – and their first taste of coffee – the group dove straight into their coffee immersion with an overview into the history of coffee, followed by a talk about specialty coffee and the basics of roasting.

Following their talk, the delegates were taken on a full roastery tour.

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The tour saw the delegates walk the full production journey from the arrival of Green Coffee into the Roastery, the blending & roasting of the coffee – including the legendary cryogenic grinding of Matthew Algie’s ground coffee – through to the packing and shipping of the coffee to customers. Delegates saw the meticulous attention and controls that are in place to ensure the coffee received by Matthew Algie customers is as fresh as possible. The roastery is a ‘closed loop’ roastery so almost no oxygen can oxidize the coffee before packing while it is also one of the most sustainably run coffee roasters in the UK; with no waste going to landfill and 95% being recycled! Every element of the process is meticulously managed, and the team got to see it all!

The group enjoyed lunch at the Matthew Algie roastery before continuing on their coffee journey. Delegates practiced the art that is ‘cupping’ – A professional practice of observing the tastes and aromas of brewed coffee. They roasted their very own coffee sample (which they were able to take home with them) and go over the brewing basics before studying the importance of freshness.

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Utilising their newly acquired knowledge and professional skills, the group were offered the opportunity to take the SCA Introduction to Coffee exam. Upon successful completion of this exam, delegates obtained 10 points towards an SCA diploma. Matthew Algie explains: “We provide industry-leading, SCA accredited training. Our passionate UK and Ireland team are some of the best in the business.” Matthew Algie has been awarded the prestigious SCA premier Training Campus status and are the first training provider to achieve SCA Campus sites in all 3 cities (and the first operator in Europe to offer multi-site accreditation). The group were confident that they were in good hands! Andrew Wilbraham from University of St Andrews explains; “the teachers on the course were very knowledgeable and had an answer for any question asked”.

After a very intense and rewarding day at the roastery, Matthew Algie invited the TUCO delegates to dinner. Delegates dined at the Corinthain Club, housed within one of Glasgow’s most impressive buildings at 191 Ingram Street. The Club has become synonymous with stylish surroundings and stand out service and provided a perfect location for our delegates to network amongst themselves and take in the day’s teachings.
Following a good night sleep in central Glasgow at Motel One - the city’s largest and newest hotel - the group returned to the Matthew Algie Roastery for the second and final day of training. Delegates were taught how to brew their own coffees and considered what makes a great Lead Barista.

Ken Love, at Matthew Algie told us; “Coffee is one of the most critical products in modern Foodservice; modern consumers have exceptionally high expectations when it comes to coffee as there is, frankly, so much choice now. Coffee is everywhere but the most successful operators will invest in the category to make exceptional coffee, every time. Consistency is not a simple process – there is great skill involved in producing great coffee - from adjusting the grind; monitoring espresso extraction; ensuring clean equipment; delivering consistent milk texturing as well as managing speed of service. It is a complex process that, if managed correctly, will yield massive wins commercially. Investing in a ‘Lead Barista’ or ‘Coffee Champion’ (whatever title you give it) recognises the importance of those skills by training high performing baristas to be custodians of best practice across an institution. Our courses, aligned with the TUCO Academy and SCA (Specialty Coffee Association), help start that journey by immersing prospective lead barista’s in the World of Coffee – From Farm to Cup".

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The group also covered sustainability and its importance in the coffee industry. Matthew Algie have a unique approach to sustainability, the sourcing of sustainable coffee and the benefits of combining sustainability certifications with supply chain relationships. “Sustainability is, and always has been, a core principle of how we do business at Matthew Algie. Our approach starts with coffee and our commitment to be a dependable partner for the farmers in our supply chains, many of whom operate in environmentally, socially or economically challenging contexts. Beyond this, our commitment to sustainability permeates the way we source other products and ensures that we continually pursue reductions in our environmental impact, create a better place to work and meaningfully invest back into our coffee community”.

TUCO delegates studied techniques such as ‘brew ratio’, ‘brewing variables’ and ‘charting espresso’. They also perfected the steaming technique and in a Milk Master Class, whereby they competed against one another to create the perfect Latte Art under the watchful eyes of Matthew Algie experts who taught them some incredible latte art techniques to use back at their institutions.

The group studied quality analysis, troubleshooting and finding solutions; and ended the training with an overview of the learning and teaching styles that they would be able to take back to their own institutions in order to continue developing their coffee skills, sharing knowledge gained with their teams. Pamela Murray from Abertay University told us that she will use the skills gained from this course to “train staff on how to improve on their drinks”. And Viktor Muniz from The University of Manchester details that; “I will help my colleague to understand the difference between coffee beans, origins, extract time and adjustment. As well as be more helpful with customers.”

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All TUCO academy events are created with a focus on a cuisine, catering need or trend, and provide unique and educational hands-on experiences along with invaluable opportunities to network with delegates in similar roles to you at other institutions. To see TUCO’s upcoming study tours, or to book onto any event, please visit www.TUCO.ac.uk/Learn or email the TUCO Academy Team.

"The experience with the Matthew Algie Study Tour was an excellent experience for me overall basically going from knowing nothing about coffee to learning a lot within the space for two days. Both trainers were fab and everyone who works with Matthew Algie are great and welcoming."

- Delegate from University of Warwick

"I really enjoyed the whole experience. I cannot say any negative thing about it. Starting from the human side (front the first person I met to the least), they all were amazing and professional with a massive knowledge on their expertise area. And continue with the Matthew Algie work, ethics and sustainability paradigm, which I think is outstanding and fair for everyone."

- Delegate from The University of Manchester