About Seattle Barista Academy

Latte Art Rosetta

The Seattle Barista Academy is dedicated to educating and supporting today's Baristi and specialty coffee businesses. We are passionate in our constant pursuit of raising the standards in the specialty coffee industry. It is our mission to provide all who aspire to become great in their profession the knowledge and skill which home and professional baristi around the world are expected to achieve.

Why Proper Training is Critical to Your Success

Espresso is an art form and a trade. Having the best equipment available will not guarantee a good product. In fact, a good barista working on a lesser machine is far more valuable than a poorly trained barista using a top of the line machine. Without having properly trained personnel who know how to use the equipment to its maximum potential would be an injustice to your business.

Espresso machines, grinders, tampers, mugs, even the espresso coffee itself, are all tools the barista uses to serve the customer. The barista is the heart of your business. They create the product being served to the customer and wish them a nice day. The barista is your business’s representation. The customer always leaves an espresso bar with two impressions that stick out above all else - the coffee and the service. Without the barista they wouldn’t receive either.

An average sale at a coffee house or espresso bar is between $3.50 and $4.50. By retaining one customer as a regular over the course of one year, that translates to about $1,043 in sales. Whether that customer decides to come back or not will be determined based on the product and service they received.

It is clear that while $4.00 may not make or break one day, each sale made to every customer does make or break your business. Without proper education and training the success of your business will not reach its full potential and may indeed fail. It is the mission of the Seattle Barista Academy to ensure that does not happen. With our many years of experience and success we offer the best in training and education of baristi and management.

At the Seattle Barista Academy we will give you the tools to retain the customers you need for continued success, and give you the knowledge to separate your business from the competition. We will teach you the art of espresso, and the history and culture of coffee. We will help you to streamline your business to ensure continued growth and success

Bob Burgess

bob_burgess_seattlebaristaacademy.jpgSeattle Barista Academy Owner, Founder & President Robert Burgess is a graduate from the University of Washington Business School, achieving a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration.

He has been in the specialty beverage business for over twenty eight years. He is recognized as one of the pioneers of the espresso coffee phenomena in Seattle, which has since become the espresso coffee capital in the United States. He is recognized as the pioneer and leading manufacturer of espresso carts and coffee kiosks nationwide.

His other company, Burgess Enterprises Incorporated, began to import commercial espresso machines in 1984 and began manufacturing coffee carts and kiosks in 1985. . The most common question asked in Seattle at that time was, “What is espresso and will it be a passing fad?”

Burgess served on the board of directors of the International Beverage Dispensing Equipment Association for eight years and in his ninth and tenth years served as President and Chairman of the Board for this association.

He invented the first cappuccino and fruit concentrate for use in granita machines and blenders. He also pioneered bag-n-box juice concentrates in the Northwest, which has now become the industry standard way of dispensing juice in restaurants and bars.

He has written numerous articles for Fresh Cup Magazine, Specialty Coffee Retailer and numerous other publications over the years. He was an advisor for the first specialty coffee magazine in the United States called, Café Ole’. He is regularly sought out to speak as an industry expert. . He has regularly spoken at many tradeshows such as Nascore, Coffeefest and the World Coffee Conference, on such topics as “Barista Quality Control, How To Gain Command Of The Variables”, “Specialty Coffee Opportunities And Possibilities With Carts, Kiosks and Espresso Drive Thru’s and More”.

He has worked with thousands of entrepreneurs in the specialty coffee business over the last twenty years, including such renown clients as Howard Shultz, Jim Stewart of Seattle’s Best Coffee, Tom Okeaf of Tully’s and Ron Demiglio of Espresso Americano, who pioneered Seattle style espresso shops in Japan. Helping entrepreneurs has always been his passion and love. He has committed his career to helping people who want to get into the espresso industry. Having successfully launched two espresso cart businesses of his own, he decided to put a team together to develop the first location guide called, “Sidewalks to Skywalks, How To Land A Location For Your Espresso Cart”, which helps people in a step by step approach to successfully launch their coffee cart business. His company then developed the first operations manual to help people successfully operate and manage their espresso business.

With the emergence of Starbucks, as the undisputed dominant chain and brand of espresso coffee shops in the world, he believes there is now a need more than ever, to help the independent espresso operator. Burgess is committed to the independent espresso operators that are hoping to enter or continue to operate successfully in this competitive market place. He believes that to compete successfully against a brand like Starbucks, the independent has to differentiate, by providing superior quality espresso beverages on a more consistent basis, providing better service, or risk losing out in the long run. He believes that the greatest threat to the independents are the other independents that are doing a poor job and are forcing customers to go to Starbucks. Burgess believes you cannot simply copy Starbucks, you have to do a significantly better job.

This is why he founded the Seattle Barista Academy in 2003. The academy is designed to help train baristas, that are committed to the professional preparation of espresso drinks and to the owner’s professional management of their coffee shops. He has been consulting for many years and with the founding of the Seattle Barista academy he has created an entity where he can continue his passion for helping the independent coffee houses succeed and thrive for years to come.

Read articles about Bob Burgess.


Philip Searchphilip_search_seattle_barista_academy.jpg

Philip Search has a passion for the greater community of coffee and lives his life pushing the envelope to improve the coffee experience for everyone involved. He currently serves time as roaster and innovator for Paradise Café and Espresso Bar in Downtown Vancouver, Washington, a business he co-owns and manages with his wife Elizabeth.


Philip has excelled in barista competitions, and possesses a unique combination of education, specialty beverage, and food service experience. This combined with five years of management and training positions has equipped him with the drive and the experience to assist others in their journey towards quality.


Additionally Philip enjoys writing for industry publications such as Barista Magazine, and designing and constructing barista tools and custom espresso machines.

Read articles about Philip Search


Lorrie McCullaugh

Lorrie McCullaughThe Seattle Barista Academy is proud to welcome Lorrie McCullaugh to our training staff. Lorrie has worked in the coffee industry as a manager and barista for over ten years. She is enthusiastic and passionate about education and has done well in both regional and national barista competitions. As a reflection of her overall knowledge, she has authored and co-authored a number of articles in trade magazines. She recently traveled to Columbia to visit farms and train baristas (see the article in Fresh Cup, January 2008 authored by Titiana Becker: "Sending Baristas to Origin: A Key to De-Commoditizing Coffee") and provided barista training with Philip Search at the Tea and Coffee World Cup Americas exhibition in Miami Beach. This Hands-On workshop was well attended and met with great enthusiasm by the participants.