Most of us have heard of cooking vacations–trips that involve traveling to an idyllic place and taking cooking classes from a local chef or school. Last spring, Elizabeth Berg made us envious (and hungry) when she wrote about attending a cooking school along Italy’s Amalfi Coast. I piggybacked on that story and blogged about cooking vacations closer to home: Napa Valley, New York City, Charleston, Savannah, Kennebunkport, and even our dear Washington, D.C. So, while cooking vacations may be been-there-done-that, I was surprised to learn (while fact-checking an upcoming story) about barista training schools held in cities throughout the U.S. Maybe pairing coffee classes with travel (what I’m branding “coffee vacations,”) will be the latest culinary travel trend. Here are four barista schools that perked our curiosity:
American Barista & Coffee School Portland, Oregon
The American Barista & Coffee School (ABC) calls Portland the “new” U.S. coffee capital (Seattle, beware). The school has attracted over 1,000 clients from 47 states and over 40 countries. While in Portland, the city offers a ton of action mixed with a free-spirit and sustainable conscience. (Check out Jim Conaway’s feature story on Portland for more.) After-school activities: Visit Mount Hood, the Pacific Coast, or Columbia River Gorge, all less than two hours from town.
Ivy League Barista Academy San Diego, California
Like ABC, the Ivy League Barista Academy (ILBA) offers consulting as well as hands-on barista training. While in San Diego, take a break from class to enjoy one of the region’s 247 days of sunshine a year. Visit the San Diego Zoo, La Jolla (be on the look out for sea lions squawking as they lounge on the ocean-side cliffs), and Balboa Park. Consult our San Diego destination guide for more on what to do while on break from coffee boot camp.
Midwest Barista School Holland, Michigan
Like its West Coast competitors, the Midwest Barista School refers to itself by its acronym (MBS) and offers clients both hands-on coffee classes and courses to help entrepreneurs start or improve their cafe business. Alumni (even one from Nepal) praise MBS’s classes for training on espresso basics, milk steaming, and latte art. After class in Holland, Michigan, students can sunbathe or picnic on the beaches of Lake Michigan and Lake Macatawa in summer or stroll the Dutch art galleries at the Holland Museum in winter.
Kitten Coffee Barista School Brooklyn, New York
We couldn’t conclude our round-up of coffee schools without mentioning an East Coast establishment. Around since 2007, Kitten Coffee Barista School offers Espresso 100 and Advanced Espresso classes. Located in Brooklyn near the G subway line just 20 minutes from Manhattan’s Union Station, Kitten Coffee pupils have access to NYC’s infinite array of activities. Adam H. Graham explores New York City beyond Manhattan in a section of our April 2011 “New Yorkers’ New York” feature story. Our New York Ultimate City guide can also help you fill up your time between espressos.
Read Senior Researcher, Meg Weaver’s last post for Intelligent Travel, “Toulouse’s Modern Inspiration.”
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