The Artisan Coffee School

Spilling the (coffee) beans with Artisan, Europe’s leading coffee school

The Artisan Coffee School covers everything that is caffeinated – from introductions and latte art lessons, to home brewing and barista basics. Here, head of training Laura Bratti spills the (coffee) beans on all things caffeine.

I definitely have OCD – obsessive coffee disorder, that is. I love the stuff. I NEED the stuff. My weekday intake is a required stimulus to get the grey matter going and the productivity levels up, and come the weekend it’s an indulgent treat - I have been known to walk for miles and queue for an extortionate amount of time in order to get my mitts on a good cup. And when I say good cup – I am not talking about Starbucks here.

So you might have gathered that I like coffee rather at lot…but can I make it taste as good at home as it does in my local coffee shop? Absolutely not. But that is where the Artisan Coffee School can help…

The Artisan Coffee School was set up by Edwin and Magda Harrison whose passion for specialty coffee led them to establish Europe’s leading SCAE (Specialty Coffee Association of Europe) accredited coffee school; a laboratory-come-workshop with state of the art equipment based in Ealing, West London. Laura Bratti is Head of Training.

My position involves the daily running of the school, which basically boils down to sharing and teaching the art, science and passion involved within specialty coffee; to students as well as our lovely team!” she explains.

“The world of specialty coffee is so broad, and there is so much still to be discovered! That’s what I love about coffee. Every morning when I walk into the school, I go in with an open and creative mind, and I discover something new each day.

Artisan offer a wide range of caffeinated up courses ranging from complete beginner to professional levels, as well as private and personally tailored classes for groups, large and small. From professional brewing and barista skills, to home brewing and latte art lessons; Laura and her team offer it all. Their varied classes run throughout the year, and if you can’t make it to London then fear not! Laura assures me that they can in fact come to you. Latte art class at your next party, anyone?

Laura Head Of Training Artisan Coffee School

Just last year one of our trainers travelled to Helsinki to deliver Barista skills classes. We are open to most things!” she laughs.

“The one thing missing in so many baristas is a lack of training. Without somebody there to push baristas to their limits, light the passion inside them and give them the skills they need, the final product will always be a let down.

And she’s right of course – there is nothing worse than a bad cup of coffee.

As trainers we pride ourselves on our ability to not only teach the process of coffee making but also explaining ‘why’ every single step of the way. You can ‘tell’ somebody how to pull a shot of espresso, but it’s not until you’ve explained each and every little instruction that you actually ‘teach’ them.”

Artisan Coffee School Coffee Cups

I had often dreamed of working in a chocolate shop, until I met someone who actually worked in one, and my enthusiasm was met with a sigh and a surprisingly miserable monologue about how she can’t even look at chocolate any more without feeling sick. I am pleased to say that despite living, breathing and teaching coffee - Laura does not feel the same.

My average working day involves waking up bright and early to make time for my morning coffee at home before I even leave for work!” she laughs.

This moment is a sacred part of my morning ritual and I always make time for it. And when I’m off, my day starts quite similarly, quite early, and with a carefully prepared Aeropress. I find manual brew methods a very purposeful way to make coffee. Kind of like the difference between playing a song on Spotify and putting on a record.

In recent years coffee has become increasingly popular and is, at time, painfully cool. These days it is often associated with mustached hipsters baring colorful tattoos, who would probably have a heart attack if you asked for vanilla syrup to be added to your brew. Awareness and appreciation of good coffee has also sky rocketed; no longer satisfied with the likes of Costa and other high street chains, people now flock to independent coffee shops searching for small batch craft coffee, roasted and brewed just right, served with milk at the correct temperature.

“The recent appearance of more and more specialty coffee shops has got customers intrigued and curious, and so they want to know more.” Explains Laura. “It’s easy to tell there is a difference between the high street chains and the specialty shops”

“Plus once you’ve had a taste of the ‘good stuff’ other coffee just won’t cut it anymore! This has prompted the rise of customers turning into coffee enthusiasts, which has pushed the level even higher and baristas need to keep up.”

From Frappuccinos and espresso martinis, to latte art and Nespresso capsules, coffee has come on leaps and bounds, but what does Laura think 2017 holds in store for the brown stuff?

There is currently a lot of hype about barista skills and latte art competitions, and I think there will be new, outside-the-the box ideas coming up in terms of competing. I think we’ll also see a rise in specialty coffee beyond the coffee shop, moving further into hotels, pubs and across all aspects of hospitality, and into people’s home.”

Artisan Coffee School 8

Artisan Coffee School Copy

Artisan Coffee School Coffee

Artisan Coffee School Coffee Art

Artisan Coffee School Cup

Perfect timing then for TOAST’s Inspire Me guide to unleashing your inner barista featuring Laura’s expert knowledge and top tips, which you can find over on The Edit now! For more information on the Artisan Coffee School head to their page in TOAST’s Little Black Book


Posted in Spotlight

by Sophie Farrah
on on 16 January 2017

  artisan coffee making, coffee art, coffee expert

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