Specialty coffee is seeing a wave of grassroots, boots on the ground organizations whose sole purposes are fostering and strengthening community. In the competition sphere, Glitter Cat Barista Bootcamp has spent the past two years supporting historically underrepresented competitors (and has been wildly successful in doing so). Getchusomegear compiles used and no longer needed gear to provide to marginalized baristas. And now there’s GYST, an Atlanta-based education program providing baristas with the tools and training necessary to advance their careers along the path of their own choosing.
Created by Glitter Cat alum Jacob King of Bold Monk Brewery and Academy Coffee ATL’s Connan Moody, GYST offers hands-on “pro-bono training for those looking to hone their craft as coffee professionals.” Instead of offering certification for a pre-made lesson plan, the curriculum at GYST is one-on-one, tailored to the goals of the individual; trainees will have “full control over the subject of their training session” and will be assigned an instructor best suited to their goals and needs. To this end, King and Moody have enlisted the help of fellow coffee professionals like Diana Mnatsakanyan (Oatly), James Simmons (1000 Faces), Marvin Duncan (East Pole), and Alex Maes (Revelator) who will be offering their time and expertise.
Connan Moody tells Sprudge:
At GYST we are committed to strengthening the coffee community in and around Atlanta by sharing our experiences in meaningful ways. We want to advocate for baristas to take their education into their own hands. We are committed to creating the platform for growth in productive and inclusive ways. Nothing should stand in between you and your best barista self. Not money, not job title, not which wholesale company you work with, but whether you want to take this opportunity to learn. We may just be a drop in the bucket of coffee knowledge but what we have is yours to share.
As the project gains momentum, classes will be offered in hour blocks between 3:00pm and 7:00pm on Mondays at Academy Coffee, with hours and locations expanding as the need arises. To take part, interested individuals will be able to reserve one-hour training sessions via GYST’s website.
To celebrate the new initiative, GYST is holding an official launch party this Thursday, February 27th at Bold Monk Brewing Co. Kicking off at 7:00pm, it will be a night of food, drink, and “shenanigans.” Like the educational programming itself, the GYST kick-off party is completely free to attend.
For more information on the official launch party or the training sessions, visit GYST’s official website.
Zac Cadwalader is the managing editor at Sprudge Media Network and a staff writer based in Dallas. Read more Zac Cadwalader on Sprudge.