Raising the Barista: 5 Great Online Coffee Courses 2021

Raising the Barista: 5 Great Online Coffee Courses 2021

Making a delicious, creamy cup of coffee is an art form, one that is often overlooked and underappreciated by coffee drinkers. Whether you enjoy a strong flat white on your morning commute or a caramel macchiato for an afternoon pick me up, we can all appreciate how a cup of coffee can instantly improve our day.

In order to make a decent cup of joe, there are several different elements to consider, including the origin of the beans, the roasting temperature, the dosage, the brewing time, and even the milk type.

If you’re only just starting out in the hospitality industry, or if you’re in the process of considering a hospitality position, you might be wondering what it takes to become a barista. If you’re looking for good courses to train your staff, some of our options would be suitable for that too. You may also wish to learn about how to make coffee at home as a hobby or just a machine you’ve just invested in.

The easiest way to learn more about becoming a coffee barista, and making a quality cup of coffee, is to complete an online barista course. We’re here to show you best five we found.

Choosing an Online Coffee Barista Course

Before you begin to work or practice being a barista, the first thing you need to do is learn the fundamentals of what makes a good coffee. This means understanding the different brewing techniques used by baristas and the different equipment used to brew different coffee variants.

Taking an online coffee barista course is a quick, fun, and effective way to learn. Not all online coffee barista courses are created equal, and it’s important that you choose a course which suits your schedule as well as your professional or recreational objectives.

When considering an online coffee barista course, the following features can be a helpful guide in determining whether it’s right for you.

Knowledge Level

The type of course you need to complete will depend on your current level of coffee knowledge and barista training. If you’re completely new to the world of coffee, a more comprehensive course — one that covers the history and science of coffee — may be useful before you begin to delve into coffee brewing variants and techniques.

If you’re already an experienced barista or you’ve just had a break from the coffee industry, you may only need a top-up course to refresh your memory. If you already have the background knowledge and you want to brush up on your skills or learn a specific technique, your best bet is to opt for a shorter, more specialized course.

Length

Most online coffee barista courses can be completed within 1-4 hours, with some reaching up to 30. However, if you work or study full-time, most courses allow you to take the course at your own pace, meaning you can extend the course over as many hours or days as you’d like.

If you’re interested in a brush-up course or you’re looking for a course that addresses a specific barista skill, you can expect to spend up to an hour or less on a course. Conversely, courses geared towards beginners will include a lot more information and will likely run closer to the 2-4-hour mark depending on the focus and depth of the course.

Cost

Each of the five courses listed in this guide require either an up-front cost or an ongoing subscription fee. Courses offered on subscription websites like Skillshare have the added benefit of unlimited access to a massive catalog of additional courses, ranging from soapmaking to digital marketing. If you’re pursuing coffee making as a hobby or side hustle, opting for a subscription service is often the best way to get the most bang for your buck. Subscription services like Skillshare start at as little as $19 a month or $99 annually. This may also include a free trial period in case you change your mind.

Alternatively, if you’re more interested in becoming a full-time barista, a one-off payment for a coffee barista course is usually the more logical and more affordable option. Fortunately, many online learning platforms offer courses for a one-off, low-cost payment, with pricing typically ranging from $15 to $130.

Additional Equipment

Completing a coffee barista course at home means you don’t have the benefit of provided equipment. Of course, if you already work in a coffee shop, you may be able to take advantage of a commercial-grade coffee machine and steamer.

However, if you don’t work in a coffee shop, you’ll need some way to practice brewing coffee at home. In this case, your equipment requirements will depend on the type of coffee methods being taught in class.

Investing in a high-quality coffee machine and steamer is a worthy investment if you intend on making a career out of coffee. However, if you’re learning to “barista” as a hobby, or you’re not sold on a long-term career in a coffee shop, you may wish to start with a simpler brewing method, such as a French press or percolator.

Even if you don’t have a proper espresso machine at home, it may be worth investing in a good coffee grinder. In addition to being less expensive, whole beans will often yield a better-tasting brew. This is because whole beans are typically sold as single-origin, while pre-ground beans are usually a blend. What does single-origin mean, you ask? Let’s explain that and some other terms you might encounter on your course.

Key Terms

There are a few key terms that you should understand before you begin your journey as a barista, particularly if you’ll be working in a coffee shop that uses multiple brewing methods. To help you make a more informed choice when selecting your coffee barista course, we’ve listed some of the most commonly used terms in the world of coffee.

Single Origin: A single-origin coffee means that the coffee beans have been sourced from a single geographic location. This location can be as specific as a single crop or as broad as a single country.

Blend: A blend refers to a mixture of coffee beans from two or more origins.

Body: The body of a coffee is an expression of its weight and texture in the mouth. Some examples of body may be “thin to medium” or “buttery.”

Cupping: Cupping is the act (read: sacred art) of coffee tasting.

Crema: The crema is the creamy, caramel-colored foam that sits on top of a shot of espresso. A crema on top of your espresso is often a good indicator of the quality of your brew!

Foam: The upper layer of froth formed when milk is aerated with hot steam.

Varietal: The varietal of coffee beans refers to the geographical region in which the beans were grown. The varietal system is used because soil acidity, climate, and cultivation are all factors that will affect the taste of coffee beans. Some common varietals include SL28 in Kenya, S795 in Indonesia, and Caturra in Costa Rica.

Tone: The tone simply refers to the color of a coffee after extraction. Tone is referred to as being light, medium, or dark.

Now that you have a better idea of what to look out for when selecting a coffee course, let’s have a look at the best online barista courses for 2021.

Course Comparison at a Glance

Need to make a quick decision? The following table includes descriptions and key information for our top five coffee barista courses.

CourseDescription Quick Facts
Professional Barista Level 1 CertificationIf you’re starting from scratch, this top-rated course covers all the basics without drowning you in complicated jargon.Cost: $59.99/month
Length: 2.5 Hours
Level: Beginner
Skillshare From Plant to Cup, Brewing an Amazing Cup of CoffeePacked with bonus features like menu planning and latte art, creating a strong team of baristas for your business doesn’t have to be a challenge with Online Barista Training. Cost: $59.95/month
Length: 1-2 hours per module
Level: Any
Online Barista TrainingBarista Hustle’s extensive beginners’ course will have you industry ready in a matter of hours — you’ll also get weekly bonus coffee content. Cost: $15/month
Length:30 hours
Level: Beginner/Intermediate
Barista OneIdeal for home baristas or for those who simply enjoy a good cup of joe, Skillshare offers a streamlined masterclass for nailing at home brewing techniques. Cost: $19/month
Length: 1 hour
Level: Hobby/Beginner
Barista Hustle Advanced Coffee MakingFeaturing a scientific breakdown of the different components of coffee grinding and brewing, the Advanced Coffee Making course from Barista Hustle makes standing out amongst professional baristas a breeze. Cost: $149 up-front
Length:30 hours
Level: Advanced

Top 5 Great Online Coffee Courses 2021


1. Professional Barista Level 1 Certification

  • Approximately 2.5 hours $59.99/month Our rating  
  • Course Highlights
  • Combines practical instruction with industry tips
  • Level: Beginner
  • Certificate: Yes

Why we like it

Designed for business owners looking to train a team of expert baristas, this course combines practical instruction with industry tips to deliver a comprehensive education in barista-level coffee methods.

Course Review

When you’re starting out as a barista, a solid grasp of the basics can go a long way. Whether you’re a complete novice or looking to brush up on some amateur skills, the Udemy Professional Barista Level 1 Certification is the perfect jumping off point. This 6-module course covers everything from the history of coffee and the roasting process to the different components of an espresso machine — and that’s before you even begin to learn how to brew a perfect espresso.

Each module contains between 5-8 different lectures, with the length of each ranging from 12 minutes to 30 minutes. At the conclusion of each module, you’ll be required to complete a short quiz to ensure you’ve retained all the essential information. After completing the last module, you’ll also be required to complete a final exam. In addition to answering approximately 20 questions, this exam requires that you send a video of yourself demonstrating various brewing techniques and verbally describing key coffee machine features.

You’ll be talked through each step of the brewing phase by two industry professionals from Umbria Coffee Roasters. Both instructors have over 20 years of experience in the coffee industry, so you can rest assured knowing that you’re being taught by some of the best in the business.

Please note, if you don’t have access to an espresso machine and steam wand, this course may not be right for you. Consider Shillshare’s Plant To Cup online course if you’d rather learn how to brew a great coffee by hand.

Pros

  • Suitable for all levels of experience
  • English speaking instructors
  • Rigorous assessment program boosts knowledge retention
  • Experienced, industry-trained instructors

Cons

  • Requires access to an espresso machine


2. Best Coffee Barista Course for Café Owners: Online Barista Training

  • 1-2 hours per module $149 up-front or $200/month for team account Our rating  
  • Course Highlights
  • Provides café owners with strategies to outshine competition
  • Designed for Level: Any
  • Certificate: Yes

Why we like it

Designed by the experts at Online Barista Training, this course supplements an already comprehensive barista training program with additional modules about menu planning and latte art.

Course Review

Whether you’re just starting out in the coffee industry or you’re training a team of new baristas, ensuring that you and your team members can brew a consistent cup of coffee is crucial for cultivating a loyal customer base. That’s where the Online Barista Training platform comes in. Featuring an informative and easy-to-follow module system, you and your team will be ready to create beautiful coffees before you even open your doors.

The interactive Online Barista Training curriculum includes a wealth of essential information, including barista terminology, equipment maintenance, and roasting fundamentals. Once you have the fundamentals mastered, you and your team can have some fun learning and practicing milk foam designs in latte art training.

How long you take to complete each module, and how you consume the materials, is completely up to you. You can take it as fast or as slow as you like, and you can choose whether you’d like to complete each module with your team or let everyone go at their own pace. Like the Level 1 Certification from Udemy, this course includes exam style modules that will need to be completed in order to receive your formal barista certificate.

If you plan on running a team account monthly subscription service, you and your baristas will have constant access to up-to-date coffee news, from discussions on new brewing techniques to long-form interviews with successful coffee shop owners.

If you’re not a business owner or you’d like to study barista training individually, consider the Barista Hustle: Barista One training course for an intuitive, self-directed learning environment.

Pros

  • Updated monthly content
  • Team training or individual accounts
  • Caters to range of experience levels

Cons

  • Costly to maintain a team account


3. Barista One

  • 30 hours $15/month or $149 per course Our rating  
  • Course Highlights
  • Taught by 2012 World Brewers Cup Champion
  • Level: Beginner/Intermediate
  • Certificate: Yes

Why we like it

Using multimedia quizzes and informative guides, this professional course from Barista One will have you café ready in no time.

Course Review

Barista Hustle has created an all-inclusive platform for both the beginner barista and the established coffee connoisseur. If you’re a novice at all things coffee, the early modules and video guides in this course have stripped back the complexity and technical jargon in order to quickly bring you up to speed.

Including more than 50 lessons, you’ll be taught all the basics and more by Matt Perger, an industry professional and the 2012 World Brewers Cup Champion — keep in mind that Matt has a strong Australian accent, so some individuals may struggle to understand him.

The course itself is separated into a range of different chapters, with each chapter including quizzes and tests to ensure the content is being absorbed and understood. You’re required to achieve at least 80% on the final exam in order to obtain Barista One certification. Even after you have completed the course, you’ll still have lifetime access to the module content if you ever want to refresh your skills.

By the time you complete the course, not only will you have learned about the different components and mechanics of a coffee machine, but you’ll also have been introduced to recipe structure, milk texturing, and latte art. That being said, some of the lessons in this course will be difficult to practice if you don’t have access to an espresso machine.

If you’ve mastered the basics and you’re looking to take a closer look at a specific component, Barista Hustle offers a selection of coffee-themed courses that provide more in-depth knowledge, including:

  • Milk Science and Latte Art
  • Water Course
  • Coffee Quality Control
  • Advanced Espresso

If these courses sound interesting, you may want to sign up for Barista Hustle, a subscription service which allows you access to all of the above courses and bonus content.

If you like the sound of a Barista Hustle course but you’ve already moved beyond the beginner-intermediate stage, consider the Barista Hustle Advanced Coffee Making course.

Pros

  • Lifetime access
  • Industry-recognized certification
  • Caters to range of experience levels

Cons

  • Requires access to an espresso machine


4. Best ‘At-Home’ Barista Course: Skillshare From Plant to Cup, Brewing an Amazing Cup of Coffee

  • 1 hour $19/month or $99 up-front for the year (includes 14-day free trial period) Our rating  
  • Course Highlights
  • Provides a range of DIY brew methods
  • Level: Beginner/Hobby
  • Certificate: No

Why we like it

If you’re a coffee enthusiast who’s always wanted to brew café quality coffee at home, this course is the perfect opportunity to master a wide range of easy DIY brewing methods.

Course Review

The brainchild of expert California Roasters, Blue Bottle Coffee has created this fun yet simple course to introduce coffee aficionados to the art of brewing an extraordinary cup of coffee at home.

Over the course of 11 short lessons, your instructor, Michael Phillips (the winner of the 2009 U.S. Barista Championship), will introduce you to modern coffee theory, different tools you can use to make coffee at home, and the link between your grind and the taste of your coffee. Whether you use a French press, a percolator, or you’re more into pour over coffee, this class is versatile and customizable, making it a great option for people with a scattershot selection of coffee brewing equipment.

While you won’t get a certification at the end of this course, you will have the opportunity to share your progress with fellow classmates on Skillshare’s project platform. Not only is this a fantastic way to get some feedback on your technique, it’s also a great place to find inspiration for your next brew.

Unfortunately, this course largely revolves around making coffee by hand rather than on an espresso machine. If you’re interested in pursuing a career as a barista, you may need a more advanced course, such as the Barista Hustle: Barista One.

Pros

  • Award-winning and engaging instructor
  • Includes interactive hub for sharing progress and techniques
  • Covers all manual brewing methods

Cons

  • No certificate provided
  • Does not cover brewing with an espresso machine


5. Best Experienced Barista Course: Barista Hustle Advanced Coffee Making

  • 30 hours $149 up-front payment Our rating  
  • Course Highlights
  • Explores the science behind coffee extraction and refraction
  • Level: Advanced
  • Certificate: Yes

Why we like it

With a lesson catalog covering everything from coffee science and extraction tips to espresso dosage and advanced manual brewing, this course from Barista Hustle offers something for even the most experienced baristas.

Course Review

Featuring 77 information-packed lessons, this course from Barista Hustle will deepen your current coffee knowledge and teach you the best way to prepare and create a smooth, even brew. Covering extraction, refraction, espresso making, and brewing, you’ll be immersed in the science of coffee making throughout this course. Not only will this allow you to improve your technique, but you’ll also gain a better understanding of what makes a coffee taste great — this information will often come in handy if you like talking coffee with your customers!

You can take this course at your own pace, with the 8 different modules being divided into short, quick lessons. Your teacher, Matt Perger, is highly qualified in all things coffee.

As with the previous Barista Hustle course, you’ll be required to complete multiple quizzes and a final exam to gain your certificate. As this is a more advanced course, you’ll need to obtain a mark of 85% or higher to receive formal certification.

Given the extent and specificity of material covered in this course, it would be worthwhile to pay the outright course fee. However, if you plan on learning more about coffee and other niche methods of brewing, consider signing up to the previously described Barista Hustle subscription service to get the most bang for your buck.

If this course sounds too advanced, you might be more comfortable with the Udemy Professional Barista Level 1 Certification course.

Pros

  • Industry-recognized certification
  • Tailored to experienced baristas

Cons

  • Not suitable for beginners


Top 5 Frequently Asked Questions

Technically, yes, you can be a barista with no experience. You do not need a qualification to become a barista. However, if you have no previous experience as a barista, completing an online coffee barista course and learning how to make coffee to a high standard is the best way to get café ready.

The five barista courses in this guide will all prepare you for a barista role. The “best platform” will depend on your level of experience and what you’re hoping to gain from an online barista course. If you’re looking for a one-off course that’ll teach you the basics, opt for a platform that provides a packaged course with a one-time payment. If you’d rather ongoing support or the opportunity to progress with new skills, a subscription service may suit you better.

An online coffee barista course will certainly set you apart from other applicants! As we’ve previously mentioned, you don’t need certificate qualifications to become a barista. However, completing an online barista course will show potential employers that you are committed and dedicated to a career in coffee.

A barista course will set you back anywhere between $15 to $200 dollars depending on the length and features of a course. However, if you want ongoing access to barista content, a subscription platform will likely be a more affordable option than repeated one-off payments.

According to Glassdoor, the national average annual salary for a barista in the United States is around $20,407. However, this total does not include extra money earned from tips.



Extra

To make the most out of your online course, you should have a basic understanding of different coffee brewing techniques and know the different equipment you’ll need access to. Having a rudimentary knowledge of what to expect will not only make entering the world of coffee less overwhelming, but it will also prepare you for what to expect when you begin a career as a barista.

Different Brewing Methods

If you plan on becoming a barista after completing an online coffee course, it’s important to know and understand some of the different methods of brewing coffee that you may encounter. Many online barista courses will only deal with coffee made through an espresso machine. However, you may also encounter the following methods when working in a coffee shop.

French Press

A French press is a device used to brew coffee grounds which have been steeped in hot water. The grounds are filtered out of the water through a fine filter plunger that pushes the grounds to the bottom of the pot.

AeroPress

An AeroPress is a small, cylindrical which can be used to make a range of different coffee styles. Much like the French press, an AeroPress uses air pressure to extract flavor and push hot water through ground beans.

Pour Over

The opposite of an AeroPress, a pour over coffee involves pouring boiling water over loosely packed coffee grounds. The water and coffee extract is then filtered into a carafe using a paper cone filter.

Percolator

A common method of brewing coffee throughout the United States, a percolator uses heat to push boiling water up into a perforated basket containing ground coffee. This process is repeated over and over until the percolator is full.

Coffee Beans

The coffee beans are the most important element in creating a delicious coffee. By cultivating a basic understanding of the origins of different coffee beans, you’ll be more aware of how the bean is influencing the flavor, texture, and overall drinkability of your brews. If you want a better appreciation of the influence of beans on the flavor of coffee, learning about different varietals and roasting is crucial.

Varietals – Arabica or Robusta?

The flavor, shape, size, and color of a coffee bean is largely dictated by the region in which the coffee was grown. With around 80 different countries (mostly located in South and Central America, Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean) across the globe involved in the commercial growing of coffee, it would be easy to assume that there are infinite varietals with slightly different notes and flavors available. On the contrary, two varietals, Arabica and Robusta, account for the vast majority of coffee beans sold commercially around the world.

While they do not differ greatly in appearance, these two varietals vary significantly in flavor and texture. Arabica beans are generally considered to be sweeter, softer, and more acidic due to a higher lipid and sugar content. For this reason, Arabica is often the preferred choice of coffee bean in the United States.

However, when it comes to making espresso, Robusta has more kick. This full-bodied bean contains twice as much caffeine and will create an extra creamy and rich crema. Ultimately, the bean you prefer to work with will largely depend on your brewing preferences and taste in coffee.

Roasting Time

Regardless of whether your beans are Arabica, Robusta or some other varietal, the roasting time will have a massive impact on the flavor of your coffee. In most cases, a shorter roasting time will result in a more acidic yet cleaner espresso, whereas a longer roast will create a darker, richer brew. From a technical perspective, the variance in flavor across different roasting times can likely be attributed to the degradation of sugars and fats in the bean during the roasting process.

Brewing Equipment

If you’ve got this far, you’ve probably realized that you’ll need access to an espresso machine, grinder, and steam wand in order to complete most of the previously listed barista courses. Unfortunately, depending on make and features, a high-quality espresso machine and steam wand can easily set you back thousands of dollars.

If you’re serious about becoming a barista, you can usually find decent mid-range espresso machines, such as the Breville Barista Pro Espresso Machine for around $800. This particular machine includes an integrated steam wand and coffee grinder, so you won’t have to make additional equipment purchases.

Please note, owning your own coffee machine is not essential if you’re already working in a coffee shop; make use of the professional-grade equipment at hand and practice, practice, practice!

A more affordable espresso machine option is a coffee pod machine like the Nespresso Vertuo Evoluo Coffee and Espresso Machine Bundle. This kind of coffee machine uses pre-prepared coffee pods that are placed in the machine for extraction. This is a great option for those with limited bench space or a restrained budget. Unfortunately, in addition to being terrible for the environment, pod coffee machines are much more limiting for anyone looking to refine their skills as a barista.

If you don’t have the budget for an automatic coffee machine or you simply prefer manual brewing techniques, we strongly recommend investing in an AeroPress or French press.

Another useful tool to have in your arsenal is a milk thermometer. This sits in your milk jug and helps you monitor its temperature as you steam it. Milk is usually considered perfect for a coffee at around 140 degrees Fahrenheit (or 60 degrees Celsius). Anything higher and the milk will taste curdled and burnt. If you’re looking for a top-quality milk thermometer, check out this combined thermometer and pitcher deal.