Coffee has become big business in Australia. More and more people are adopting a cafe culture – indulging in a weekend latte, grabbing a coffee on-the-go before work or catching up with friends over a cuppa. It's no longer just 'black' or 'white' coffee – there's latte, flat white, long black and short mac, just to name a few - not to mention half strength, decafe, soy and "no chocolate on my cappuccino, thanks".
So, if you're simply interested in learning how to use your machine at home, or planning on working in the cafe industry, a coffee course is a great idea. There are different types to suit your needs, and generally they don't take long or cost too much.
I began making coffee at a small cafe years ago, and took a coffee course over a weekend at Barista Basics Coffee Academy. Not only did the course improve my skills with the espresso machine and have me producing silky smooth milk and golden espresso, it boosted my confidence, and knowledge on the history of coffee. I also noted that some of the other class attendees were simply people with an interest in coffee, and an urge to learn more about how to produce a good cuppa at home. So this one's not just for the cafe baristas.
Barista Basics is owned by brothers Matt and Dave Gee, who have owned four espresso bars and written a textbook on how to make coffee using commercial machines. The two main courses offered are Barista Basics (3 hours at $120), and Master Barista (5 hours at $250). Barista Basics focuses on helping you identify the key variables in making coffee (frothing milk and adjusting the grind, for example). Master Barista incorporates these elements, and also teaches you coffee art. Other courses are also offered, and the greatest part is that all courses are TAFE accredited, meaning you walk away with a certificate in hand.
Australian Barista School facilitate more basic sounding courses, run over three hours on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Courses are only $75, and aim to teach you how to "make all the coffees that you would find in a cafe".
Sarina Russo Schools are another institution offering barista training. The "coffee making" course runs from Monday to Thursday (at $300) and focuses on the fundamental skills a person needs to work in a coffee shop or a venue serving coffee.
Of course, a simple Google search for "coffee courses Brisbane" brings up an array of options, and it's a good idea to look around to find one that suits your budget, availability and interests. Good luck!