At Josuma, we believe few Americans have ever tasted genuine Italian-style espresso. We also believe this bodes ill for the specialty coffee industry, which usually defines itself by the quality of its product. In our opinion, approximately 95 percent of espresso in North America is poorly made, and, in fact, undrinkable.
There are three major factors contributing to this sad state of affairs: First, most coffee professionals in North America do not understand the difference between real espresso and ordinary coffee. Second, much of the coffee used to make espresso in North America is not specifically blended for espresso. Rather, the coffee is blended as if for drip coffee and then roasted extremely dark, indicating that many roasters believe a dark roast is the most important contributor to espresso quality. Third, most people working behind the counter-the baristi-have been poorly trained, receiving fewer than four hours of instruction, mostly from someone who doesn’t appreciate the distinction between espresso and coffee. It takes more than four hours to learn how to prepare a decent espresso.
That’s why we’re taking our case to the public with a series of intensive espresso training seminars for coffee retailers and espresso bar owners. These sessions aren’t for people with a casual interest in espresso. Each session lasts three days, and covers everything from explaining why the average American espresso is not espresso at all (it’s actually strong coffee) to discussing proper brewing and milk texturing techniques to working in a lab with an espresso machine.
It’s an important seminar for retailers, because serving an excellent product is the best way to ensure repeat business. It also strengthens the coffee industry as a whole, as consumers with high standards generally encourage retailers to raise the bar over the long term.
Each session is strictly limited to three attendees. Every participant gets exclusive access to one espresso machine-grinder combination throughout the afternoon sessions.
Each day of the seminar starts with three hours of discussion in the morning, and concludes with demonstrations and hands-on lab work in the afternoon. Attendees learn of the many elements that go into making a good espresso, and how even slight variations in technique can dramatically alter the finished product.
To Paul Martin, attending one of the intensive espresso training seminars was an easy decision. The Reno, Nevada, resident, who opened Bibo Coffee in the fall of 2003 with his wife, attended an hour-long espresso seminar led by Josuma President Dr. Joseph John at a Las Vegas trade show in March, 2003, and it had a profound impact on him. “We have a firm belief that serving quality coffee is the best way to separate ourselves from other coffeehouses,” Martin says. “And we realized if we want to serve the best, we had to be in touch with Dr. John.”
The thing that really stood out to Martin during the intensive seminar was the ongoing commitment required to serve good espresso. “You need a commitment to each and every pour,” Martin says. “There’s a science to all of it. Having the proper water temperature, the proper tamp, the right grind-it all contributes to every pour.”
Josuma organizes eight three-day sessions a year, each session to be held in San Francisco, California. Fees will be $1,495.00 per attendee.