I grew up spending my summers riding horses at camp at the Walking G Ranch in Plumas County, California. The girls slept in a bunkhouse, and the boys had a cabin on the other side of the pond. We had chores in the barn in the morning, we’d ride trails til the heat set in around 2, and then we’d head to Antelope Lake to water-ski and tan (this was the 80s, after all). I didn’t know it at the time, but when I look back on those summers, I realize now that the only thing missing was a cold one.
I’m sort of kidding. Camp is such an awesome place to be—for the people, the activities, the craziness, the hook-ups, the cabins crammed full of bunk beds, the mess tent, all of it—that it’s already perfect, sans beer. But I’m betting there’ll be some cans poppin in the evenings this October at Barista Camp, which honest-and-truly is a real thing, that you can go to, and have the time of your freakin life.
YES! Yesyesyesyesyesyes!! After years of wondering when baristas will finally get their own version of the Roasters Guild Retreat (which is, btw, taking place this coming weekend), Marcus Boni and the SCAA and Barista Guild of America have come through big time, with what is officially being called Camp Pull-A-Shot, and takes place October 18–21 in Santa Barbara, California, at this totally beautiful and amazing looking place, El Capitan Canyon.
It’s not gonna be all panty raids and pie eating contests though—there’ll be some serious learnin’ going on at barista camp! In fact, Baca said it best in his blog post: “It will definitely NOT be a bunch of cool baristas running around partying all day telling each other how cool they are. It WILL be focused and educational with multiple classroom and hands on learning sessions each day.” Well put, Baca.
Here’s the schedule (subject to change)…
Monday, October 18
Arrival at camp/Open registration—12–7 p.m.
BGA Level 1 Certification Test—3–5 p.m.
Orientation for Beginning Level Baristas—5–6 p.m.
Opening Reception & Dinner—7–9 p.m.
Barista World Cup Team Competition—9–11 p.m.
Tuesday, October 19
Breakout session #1 (“Intro to Espresso, Part 1” for Level 1 baristas; and “Espresso Bar Efficiency & Workflow” for Level 2 baristas)—8–11 a.m.
Breakout session #2 (“Intro to Espresso, Part 2” for Level 1 baristas; and “Beginning Basics of Coffee Farming” for Level 2 baristas)—11:15 a.m.–1:15 p.m.
Group session #1: “Exploring Manual Brewing Methods and Extraction”; “Entering the World of Barista Competitions”—2:15–4 p.m.
Breakout session #3 (“Intro to Customer Service” for Level 1 baristas; and “BGA Milk & Latte Art” for Level 2 baristas)—4–6 p.m.
Break/Jam time with instructors/Free Swim—6–7 p.m.
Barista World Cup Team Competitions—8:30–10 p.m.
Wednesday, October 20
Breakout session #4 (“Intro to Cupping” for Level 1 baristas, and “Grind, Dose, Tamp, Extract” for Level 2 baristas)—8–11 a.m.
Breakout session #5 (“Intro to Coffee Brewing & Extraction” for Level 1 baristas, and “Exploring Espresso Equipment” for Level 2 baristas)—11:15 a.m.–1:15 p.m.
Lunch—1:15 p.m.–2:15 p.m.
Group session #2: “Beyond the Beverage: Exploring the role of the barista as a true service professional”—2:15–4 p.m.
BGA Level 1 and Level 2 Certification Tests—4–7 p.m.
Break/Jam time with instructors/Free Swim—7–8 p.m.
Barista World Cup Team Competitions/Closing Ceremonies & Awards—9:30 p.m.–midnight
Thursday, October 21
BGA Credentialed Examiner Certification—8 a.m.–12 p.m.
Pretty cool, huh? And don’t be fooled by the word “America” in the Barista Guild of America—this camp is open to any barista, anywhere on the planet. And hey, even though you’ll drop some dough on that plane ticket, the cost of the actual camp is incredibly cheap for all that it includes: lodging, all meals, roundtrip airfare transfer from LAX only; and most importantly, ALL COURSES.
The price tag is as follows:
$575 for BGA members in quad occupancy cabins (2 sets of bunk beds per cabin) or $750 for non BGA members (and, uh, since it only costs $40 to become a BGA member, you’d be foolish to pay this price)
Or if you’re too good for bunk beds, $1050 for BGA members, single occupancy cabins with a queen bed
One more option: $550 (BGA members) for a double occupancy safari tent with shared bathroom. (Think glamping)
So go, go, go and sign up today!! This event is just around the corner—October will be here before we know it!