Small World Coffee

Archive for the ‘Training’ Category

In The Mood for Love

By Jacqui | Thursday, January 31st, 2013 at 5:12 pm

Heart pouring practice!  In anticipation of the opening of the Love Show next Friday, our baristas spent some time at the Roaster Coffee Lab in Rocky Hill, pouring hearts into the foam on their cappuccinos.

To paraphrase Tim, using the very scientific method of ‘everyone pointing at their favorite one’, Thomas was crowned the King of Hearts.  Find a heart in your Small World drink?  Share it with us on Twitter @swcoffee!

What Makes A Worldling? Part II

By Jacqui | Friday, April 20th, 2012 at 12:03 pm

In an earlier post, Small World Coffee’s lead trainer, Tuc, introduced us to the concept of ‘the worldling’, describing what it takes to be one of the red apron-wearing employees at our cafes.  Without further ado, here’s the second installment of Tuc’s series!

“I recently asked several seasoned worldlings what they remember feeling their first day, or week at Small World Coffee and these are some of the responses they gave:

“I felt overwhelmed.”

“It was terrifying.”

“Everyone was so cool. I didn’t want to let them down.”

“I don’t know if I can do this.”

“What did I get myself into?”


I have difficulty remembering these worldlings’ first clumsy days considering they have grown into some of the finest people I have ever had an opportunity to work beside. What I take away from their comments in light of their success on the job is the seriousness of their work ethic.

Working in a coffee house is not rocket science. The multitude of skill sets which comprise the job, like any other job, can be performed well or poorly. The excellence is found in the details. The challenge resides in being able to pay attention to the myriad of details of the situation surrounding you; developing and maintaining that awareness takes practice. The cafe has many nooks and crannies where the tools we use in providing the coffee goodies we sell dwell. We have our arcane lingo which we use to call drinks and convey other important information. If you spend any time in the cafe one common phrase you might hear is, “can I get a freshie!” It’s formatted as a question, but in the context of the barista behind the counter it is treated as an imperative.

If you are a frequent visitor to the cafe you may have noticed a recent influx of new faces behind the counter. Myself and Tim, Small World’s other trainer, have been quite busy over the past two months orienting and developing the latest batch of worldlings. They are a good bunch, one of which is the brother of a previous worldling. I mentioned he had big shoes to fill. He replied, “that’s good because we have the same size feet.”

For the past 16 or so years I’ve greeted each new batch of fledgling worldlings – “newbies” we call them – with a general greeting along these lines: “Welcome to SWC. My name is Tuc and I’ll be your trainer today. As far as I’m concerned you’ve just landed on planet Small World. I don’t expect you to know the language, culture, or geography, but we’re going to change that.” In general, it takes upwards of three months for a newbie to become a full worldling and that is when the real learning begins because each transaction with a guest is a learning opportunity…”

The Cap-Off Winner Is…

By Jacqui | Wednesday, April 11th, 2012 at 10:48 am


Last Tuesday we held our annual Cap-Off contest to determine which of our baristas makes the best cappuccino.  The competition is fierce, and the competition style is not unlike the barista championships held in the world of specialty coffee.  The rules are strict.  All of our coffee trained employees are eligible to compete, which means there are roughly 30 competitors, broken down into brackets.  Our judges, our own master roaster Jon along with former roaster Michael and former worldling, Nicos, sip each drink in seclusion, ranking them for their composition and quality.  One by one, the brackets get smaller until we have crowned a new champion.

So who made the best cappuccino & took home the trophy last week?  This year’s competition proved to be quite a show, and when the winner was announced, the crowd went wild.   And the winner is….
Tuc wins!


Despite the fact that Tuc has trained each and every one of our coffee makers, he has never won the title of Cap-Off champ!  More pictures (courtesy of Kathy Altimirano) in the gallery below.

Small World Coffee’s ‘Cap-Off’ Rules

By Jacqui | Monday, April 2nd, 2012 at 10:30 am

Every year, our worldlings gather for an in-house, bracket-style competition to see who can pour the best cappuccino.  We call it the ‘Cap-Off’, and at our staff meeting this Tuesday night, it’ll be time for this annual showdown.  It’s an event that is widely talked up by the crew, as the winner earns bragging rights for an entire year… and everyone else has an entire year to hype themselves up to be this year’s biggest threat! (more…)

An Interview With Tuc

By Jacqui | Thursday, March 8th, 2012 at 7:29 pm

Tuc, our lead trainer at Small World Coffee, recently gave an interview to Suzanne of In this piece, you get a sense of why Tuc has become the heart of our company. This most dedicated employee has trained generation after generation of our worldlings, and has consistently reinforced our mission – to give the highest quality of service possible – in leading by example.

Read the full interview here, and find out what makes Tuc tick!