Barista Camp is aimed at baristas of all levels offering skill building workshops and a place to learn among industry experts and peers. It's pretty amazing if you're as in love with coffee as we are, everyone comes back excited about their craft and the industry we work in. Put on by the Barista Guild of America and the Specialty Coffee Association of America, Barista Camp teaches attendees the industry recognized standards, provides the tools to work towards BGA certificates, and develops the skill set of a coffee pro. We've been sending baristas to camp every year since it started because we truly value the knowledge and enthusiasm they come back with. Last week, we sent Nicole Dutram and Joe Smith from our management team to this year's summer Barista Camp held at the Pocono Manor in Pennsylvania.

High in the remote hills of Pocono Manor, PA, gathered coffee professionals and enthusiast from across the world. Together they participated in the BGA sponsored Barista Camp of 2015. I was lucky enough to be one of them. We congregated at the beautiful and rustic Pocono Manor Inn which boasted scenic views and a haunted history which intrigued my colleagues and I. It was the perfect place to be immersed in coffee, free from the considerations of the outside world, with about 250 other people passionate about the industry. By day I took classes, part lecture and part lab to learn more about the brewing of coffee as well as the standards set forth by the Specialty Coffee Association of America. By night the other participants and I congregated in the various common rooms, commandeering large leather chairs to talk shop and share anecdotes. We shared where we came from in coffee and, to some extent, helped shape where we all are going, together, as coffee professionals. These days made me feel confident in what I have learned about coffee up until now, but also showed me that, in terms of my career as a barista, there is still so much more to know. Camp made me feel more connected to the industry than I ever have before and it served to reaffirm my love of the art and science that is making coffee.

Nicole Dutram Assistant Store Manager, Chapel Hill