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Wegmans Schools Employees on Coffee

Wegmans Food Markets has launched a training program to equip its associates with the skills to brew up a superior cup of coffee, said Mary Ellen Burris, the Rochester, N.Y.-based chain's s.v.p. of consumer affairs.

In her weekly online column, Burris said the three-day "Coffee University" program, which Wegmans created in concert with its coffee roaster, Yonkers, N.Y.-based Barrie House, provides the first of three certification levels of barista, as well as covering the American cup of coffee "from the ground to the cup."

Burris added that as the program expands to train more workers, customers "should notice improvement."

To develop the program, Barrie House visited Italy's Instituto Nazionale Espresso Italiano, which trains espresso experts in a stringent certification program. The company also availed itself of the training and certification of the International Institute of Coffee Tasters as well as the Centro Studi Assaggiatori, or Taster Research Center.

After returning to the United States, the supplier developed a new espresso blend for Wegmans. It also found a way to measure the quality of each shot of espresso through a spectrometer measuring total dissolved solids extracted into the cup.
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