Teaching the art of coffee at SA’s first barista academy

Sylvia Miller prepares coffee for the first customer at Cyclo Coffee and Barista Academy which opened this week in Castle Hills. (Photos by Elena Guajardo)

Sylvia Miller has worked in the coffee business for many years. When she began thinking about opening her own store, she says she wanted to “step it up,” by also offering training to budding baristas and to others who crave a good cup of joe.

This week,  Miller’s new business, Cyclo Coffee and Barista Academy, opened in Castle Hills.

Miller says in her experience, the greatest need in the coffee industry is training and customer service. “I wanted to create a place where people can come and learn. The lack of trainers in San Antonio is pretty big. And, it’s difficult to train a new barista in a high volume store. ”

Students who enroll in Cyclo’s barista training originate from different sources. Miller has put the word out to local coffee houses letting them know that she can train their new employees. Other students come on their own, looking to learn a marketable skill.

Miller’s pupils get a 3-day course in everything related to making coffee. “Students learn all the basic coffee beverages, hot, cold or blended. The course also includes training in customer service,” she says.

In order to give students more real-life experience, Cyclo opens its doors to the coffee drinking public. “People can come in, enjoy a cup of coffee made from organic beans, have a meeting and partake of the atmosphere of the shop,” says Miller.

Cyclo had its soft opening this week. Miller says even though she’s not done much publicity, people who work in the shopping center already have discovered the coffee shop and started bringing their friends and relatives. “Once we get our sign up outside, we’ll have our official grand opening,” she says.

One source of students that Miller hopes to tap is the casual coffee drinker who wants to learn how to make espresso and lattes at home but doesn’t know how. For those folks, Millers has devised one-day individual and group courses which teach them everything they need to know including how to shop for the right coffee machine.

Cyclo offers the following classes:

Barista Fundamentals: Variables: 2 days

Barista Fundamentals plus Drink Building Package: 3 days

Weekend Fundamentals: 2 days

Customized Corporate Training Course: 2 to 3 days customized structured program.

Milk Steaming and Latte Art: 3 hour course

Home Barista Course – Espresso Extraction, Milk Steaming and Latte Art: 3 hour course

Call 210-370-2449 for details, pricing and schedule availability.

Sylvia Miller works with barista student at Cyclo Coffee and Barista Academy.

Sylvia Miller works with student at Cyclo Coffee and Barista Academy.

Cyclo Coffee and Barista Academy, 2211 NW Military Hwy at West Avenue, Suite 114, Castle Hills. Open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. For information about classes, call Sylvia Miller at 210-370-2449.

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