Dear Friends and Supporters,
For those of you who I have not yet met, my name is Marc Langlois and I’m excited to be working at Cafe au Play as the Barista Training Program Manager. I moved to Portland from my long time home in New England in the summer of 2013 and joined the Cafe au Play team in November. I made my way into food service as a cook in 2004 and found that the pace and the challenges of the food service industry were a perfect fit for me. After obtaining a BA in communication arts at the University of New Hampshire, I moved to Providence, Rhode Island. There, I worked as a barista at Seven Stars Bakery and completed an extensive Barista Training Program through the New Harvest Coffee Roasters training center. This experience influenced me to further pursue a career in coffee and gave me the drive to teach others the ins and outs of coffee and food service. Taking over the Barista Training Program has given me the chance to improve upon my own training skills and allowed me to provide others with the opportunity to enter the world of specialty coffee.
Although the Indiegogo campaign to extend our hours and create Night Grounds (an evening student-run cafe) was put on temporary hiatus while we ran our holiday fundraiser and made changes to the program, we still plan on fully moving ahead. We are working towards the official launch of the campaign which we anticipate to occur during the summer.
In preparation for the launch, we are growing and perfecting our Barista Training Program. In order to make this program stronger and offer a more intensive work experience to our students, we have added two levels to the program. The levels are as follows:
Introductory Barista Training Program
This is the first 150 hours of training where we will be teaching the basics of making orders, learning about espresso and milk steaming, and building fundamental skills such as customer service, speed, and efficiency. This part of the program is primarily teaching participants how to master café work flow and develop basic food service and barista skills. Upon completion of our Introductory Program, you may decide, with consent of the staff, whether or not to move on to the second part of the program.
Advanced Barista Training Program
This part of the program is a total of 250 hours of training. This more intensive training program will require a minimum of 4 hour shifts and will teach you more advanced skills such as baking, mentoring and shift management, expert espresso skills, and will help you truly master the skills that you learn in the introductory program.
As well as making this fundamental change, we have created new daily goal sheets and evaluation materials to help ensure students are on track and meeting their goals. We have also been adding new students to the program and increasing the 1-on-1 instructional time. In addition, we are creating the means to build a stronger sense of community within the program by offering students the opportunity to create and host their own after hours public events at the cafe.
We are excited about these new changes and hope to further develop our program by launching the Indiegogo campaign. A successful campaign will allow us to extend our hours and fund the necessary staffing and cafe expenses to operate Night Grounds, our evening student-run cafe. Extended hours means more students can participate in our program, and we can provide additional training and work experience to these students. This will also allow us to implement youth programming which we have not yet had the opportunity to put in place. This student-driven after hours time will offer great initiative-building experiences to those participating in the program.
Aside from implementing all of the changes to our Barista Training Program, we have one major challenge to meet before we can complete the Indiegogo campaign. This challenge is to create a video that explains our barista training program and what we can accomplish through our student-run evening cafe. This video is crucial to the success of our campaign because it is the best way to concisely communicate the goals and mission of Night Grounds to the local and national community.
In order to create this video, we have to either raise funds for a professional videographer or rely on the donation of resources (professional video equipment) or time from our supporters who are interested in helping make this happen. If you or someone you know has professional video equipment or experience and is interested in supporting this project, please send us an email at CafeauPlay@gmail.com. Thank you!
We will keep you informed as we make more progress towards the launch of our Indiegogo campaign and we hope you all have a great transition into the spring!
Marc Langlois and the Cafe au Play Staff