The Florence Road Market coffee scene, in shorts weather.

The Florence Road Market coffee scene, in shorts weather.

There are approximately three of us on the Pro Baristas team, and we worked with more than 250 potential baristas last year. That includes a wide spectrum of people, some serious about rapid employment in coffee, others with major support needs for whom coffee skills are a way of moving forward in life. Given the massive scope of this work, we can sometimes forget to pick our heads up and look around!

When we do, it looks a bit like this:

  • Brighton has a coffee festival coming up, which seems both long overdue and a bit mystifying. Brighton rarely does things like London does them, so what does the “Brighton” version of a big coffee industry bash look like? Will it grease the skids for a bit more collaboration on the local scene? Will we feature some very different coffee experiences on our stall? (Yes. Yes, we will.)

  • There’s a new Brighton Coffee Guide out. Fully one-fourth of the baristas pictured in it are people we trained. That’s fun!

  • That factoid shouldn’t be a surprise, I guess, because out of 75 people who went into formal, certified SCA training with us last year, 56 found employment — that we know of! (People sometimes get jobs and forget to tell us). Guys, there are a lot of coffee jobs out there …

  • The Jobcentre, the government, employment charities, special needs schools — everyone wants more barista training. But how to make sure this leads to more meaningful, durable jobs? Post-Brexit, how do we fight the urge to just rush the market with labour units, insisting instead on building satisfying careers?

  • Has anyone dropped into our pop-up coffee cart at Florence Road Market lately? It may easily feature the tastiest espresso around right now, served by a certain well-travelled barista competitor and coffee importer who is working with us on vital, compelling, hands-on new curriculum design. This happens every Saturday, even in arctic weather.

  • Is there room in Brighton for a training cafe with built-in support structures? A training roastery? A matchmaking service to put talent in the right shops? We’re exploring; stay tuned.