[Homeroast] Amateurs/Professionals & Craftsmen/Artists

Ryan M. Ward silvercro_magnon at hotmail.com
Sat May 1 10:41:16 CDT 2010


I should mention, there are some really bad baristas here locally. I tend to speculate that the typical Amateur is better at making coffee drinks than the typical professional barista, but I do so skeptically. I have a bias in a sense because there are not very many truely skilled baristas here locally that I have met. Now that I brought it up I am not really even sure that I want to make the assertion above. 
Now that I think of it, I don't think I believe that the typical amateur is better than the typical barista. I also do not believe the converse... need more evidence.

-- 
Ryan M. Ward

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> From: silvercro_magnon at hotmail.com
> To: homeroast at lists.sweetmariascoffee.com
> Date: Sat, 1 May 2010 15:29:29 +0000
> Subject: Re: [Homeroast] Amateurs/Professionals & Craftsmen/Artists
> 
> 
> I too question the validity of the statement: "In most cases the non paid person who is performing a task will have a higher competency level than a comparable paid person" a great example is mathematicians (also a pathelogical case I know). I have know many "amateur" mathematicians- many of whom are pretty good what they do. I am only familiar with two amateur mathematicians in history that ever published anything significant. your brain surgery example is also great, although if I ever met someone claiming to be an amateur brain surgeon, I would start running away very quickly!!
> 
> ""Holding a job" in our society commonly means being paid to work for someone else. "
> I am not so sure of this either. 
> First off, I looked up the word 'job' in the dictionary and the definition is a little vauge but did not seem to preclude working for oneself. I am sure the Oxford English Dictionary would hold the definitive answer here- I do not own a copy.
> Speaking personally (acknowledging that I alone do not represent society as a whole), I agreed with Rich's definition with a slight exception (that being that I don't feel that being paid to do something is enough, that payment should be significant, and constitute a significant portion of one's livelihood. I would not consider someone who works in a coffee house one hour a week to be a professional barista, that is an amateur barista with an allowance).
> 
> "I highly doubt many if any would have the skill to come close to matching any of the six finalists in the recent US Barista competition, all professionals."
> Well, I imagine you are right, but again these people are almost pathological cases. Rich stated: "In most cases" This does not mean, amateurs are better than professionals always. It means take a random amateur, and a random professional and compare them. Statisitically, I doubt any of those six, or any of your Baristas would be chosen at random. Most likely a Starbucks employee would get drawn honestly. Although I think you do have a very valid point in that there appears to be some kind of an upper limit to the skill levels of amateurs that has been exceeded by the skill levels of professionals- considered as one large set. Its just this apparent exceeding of skill is being done by a very small subset of the professional population.
> 
>  Think what it boils down to is interest and ambition. Amateurs make coffee because the are interested in coffee- this is their hobby, so they tend to get good at it if they approach it correctly. They start tinkering in the kitchen and coming up with come really cool ideas. 
> Some baristas are interested in coffee but honestly, many are just holding jobs(This is what I have noticed working in coffee). They know that if the customer does not complain, they are home free. Maybe they like coffee, but minimal work is sufficient for them. They have little ambition to advance their skill. I think this is the phenomena we are noticing. 
> Those baristas who are interested; however, have the financial support, and the equipment to take their skills to the next level, beyond the typical amateur. They can afford to make coffee all day and practice their art. Most of us amateurs have other professions. We get to make coffee when we get home from work.
> 
> -- 
> Ryan M. Ward
> 
> *Note: This email was sent from a computer running Ubuntu Linux 9.10 (Karmic Koala)
> http://www.ubuntu.com
> 
> **Note: This signature was placed here by me and is not automatically-generated-annoying-end-of-email-spam placed here by anyone other than myself. I am a Linux nut and am doing my part to support open source software and the Linux and Ubuntu communities by getting the word out with each email I send, I encourage you to do the same.
> 
> 
> 
> 
> > From: mcKona at comcast.net
> > To: homeroast at lists.sweetmariascoffee.com
> > Date: Sat, 1 May 2010 00:45:47 -0700
> > Subject: Re: [Homeroast] Amateurs/Professionals & Craftsmen/Artists
> > 
> > Actually, "holds a job" is not a defining qualification of being a
> > professional. "Holding a job" in our society commonly means being paid to
> > work for someone else. 
> > 
> > Tom is most assuredly a coffee professional. Tom is self employed and hence
> > does not have a "job".
> > 
> > Most doctors are considered professionals. Many doctors are self employed.
> > 
> > Most attorneys are considered professionals. Many attorneys are self
> > employed.
> > 
> > Etc.
> > 
> > While I agree being a professional does not assure competence the statement
> > "In most cases the non paid person who is performing a task will have a
> > higher competency level than a comparable paid person" is baseless hogwash.
> > 
> > Most people would be fail miserably performing brain surgery or defending
> > themselves in court. 
> > 
> > As far as coffee is concerned I've observed and experienced a rather large
> > sampling of both amateur and professional skills over the last decade. While
> > I agree there are many competent and even some exceedingly excellent highly
> > skilled home barista I highly doubt many if any would have the skill to come
> > close to matching any of the six finalists in the recent US Barista
> > competition, all professionals. I also highly doubt many if any would match
> > the skill of even some of my baristas. 
> > 
> > Slave to the Bean Kona Kurmudgeon miKe mcKoffee
> > www.NorwestCoffee.com
> > URL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer, some recipes etc:
> > http://www.mckoffee.com/
> > 
> > Ultimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must
> > first not know. And in knowing know I know not. Each Personal enlightenment
> > found exploring the many divergent foot steps of Those who have gone before.
> > 
> > Sweet Maria's List - Searchable Archives
> > http://themeyers.org/HomeRoast/ 
> > 
> > 
> > > -----Original Message-----
> > > From: homeroast-bounces at lists.sweetmariascoffee.com 
> > > [mailto:homeroast-bounces at lists.sweetmariascoffee.com] On 
> > > Behalf Of Rich
> > > Sent: Friday, April 30, 2010 4:28 PM
> > > To: A list to discuss home coffee roasting. There are rules 
> > > for this list,available at 
> > > http://www.sweetmarias.com/maillistinfo.html
> > > Subject: Re: [Homeroast] Amateurs/Professionals & Craftsmen/Artists
> > > 
> > > A "professional" is simply a person who holds a job and receives 
> > > remuneration for doing it.  An amateur is unpaid.  Neither 
> > > term implies 
> > > skill and/or competence.  Look in the general press and you will see 
> > > that "professional" is used to imply skill and/or competence, 
> > > this use 
> > > of professional is incorrect.  Check your Webster Dictionary. 
> > >  One more 
> > > indication that the talking head is empty.
> > > 
> > > In most cases the non paid person who is performing a task 
> > > will have a 
> > > higher competency level than a comparable paid person.
> > 
> > 
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