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Baltimore Coffee Alliance launches to support training for local baristas

This group is aiming to help bolster the training and opportunities for Baltimore's baristas.

A group of Baltimore coffee pros are starting an organization that will encourage local baristas to take their latte art and brewing skills to the next level.

David Anderson, previously the coffee director at Artifact Coffee and Woodberry Kitchen, teamed up with a few other leaders in Baltimore to launch the Baltimore Coffee Alliance. The group will work to further education and training among the city's baristas, and teach the public more about craft coffee.

Anderson said he's watched the local coffee scene ebb and flow over the years. After he talked with fellow coffee professionals like 3 Bean Coffee general manager Philip Glenn and Jared Cate of Ceremony Coffee, they decided to create a more formal group to bolster the professional development of local baristas. 

"I got to the point where I was like, I should really be trying to help accelerate things more,” Anderson said.

The alliance will host a kickoff event Oct. 2, after which it will aim to host monthly competitions and workshops for local coffee professionals, as well as customers interested in learning more about craft coffee. The group will also publish podcasts with topics including coffee sourcing and taste profiles.

Anderson said the group will host three competitions between the October kickoff and next spring. The goal is to send local coffee pros to national events, such as the U.S. Barista Championship or the Barista Guild of America's Barista Camp.

In terms of professional development, the Baltimore Coffee Alliance will focus on competition-style training to improve baristas' brewing choices, latte art, palate development and presentation skills.

"There’s just a lot of talent in the coffee scene," Anderson said. "And I think that to keep people here and to keep things growing, we need to create a reason for more businesses to open up and bring more diversity within the coffee industry as a whole into Baltimore.”

Ultimately, he expects the new organization to offer memberships that come with more exclusive training opportunities, in addition to those open to the public.

The alliance's public kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Oct. 2 at Artifact Coffee, where the founders will discuss its mission and host a team latte art competition.

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