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MCHS student undergoes barista training for student-led coffee shop

by Alexus Underwood Special to McDonald County Press | February 2, 2023 at 9:00 a.m.
Submitted photo by Kasey O’Brien Sherry Lemm, MCHS business teacher, undergoes barista training at Airship Coffee. Both Lemm and Gilgen trained alongside Abbott.

PINEVILLE -- Lexie Abbott, a senior at McDonald County High School, joined her business teachers, Kristy Gilgen and Sherry Lemm, in hands-on barista training at Airship Coffee in Bentonville. The group, alongside student chamber representative Kasey O'Brien, took the day to learn all about how to roast beans and make a good cup of joe.

Abbott went with her teachers on Jan. 17 for Lemm and Gilgen's supervised business experience class.

"We are putting together a coffee shop with the Chamber of Commerce with a grant that was given," Abbott said. "I am the student leader, so we will all be working in the coffee shop, whether that's working as a barista, doing the delivery, doing the marketing. I will be over that, doing that with them as well."

Abbott said that, while undergoing training at Airship, she learned more of the science behind making a good cup of coffee and the complexity that comes with it.

"When we went, we were expecting to learn just how to make the coffee, but we learned the whole science behind all of it," Abbott said. "We learned about how to make a good espresso, how to prepare to make a good espresso, we learned how fine to grind the coffee, we learned how to froth milk, how long coffee should be sitting out, and more."

Abbott said that, in addition to learning techniques behind making coffee, the team also learned how to run the machinery effectively.

Kristy Gilgen, co-teacher of the supervised business experience class, said she didn't know much about making coffee before the training, and she learned how much is truly involved. "We had no earthly idea everything that was involved, and when we went, we learned how much truly is involved," Gilgen said, laughing. "It's not just creating a cup of coffee, it's the way you put the coffee in, the way the water runs through the coffee, the way you froth your milk, all of it has a process that has to be done in a certain manner."

Gilgen said she and Lemm underwent the training with Abbott so they could train future students that are involved in the student coffee shop.

"If someone is going to buy their product [Airship Coffee] and is going to use their product, they will do the barista training with them," Gilgen said. "They're providing all the coffee, we get any of the supplies as far as coffee is concerned with them, they're even helping us with the equipment purchase."

Gilgen said the student coffee shop, which will be located on Pineville's square, will require community support. The date for the shop's opening has yet to be determined.

"We really need the support of everybody in the community on this project," Gilgen said. "We would love for people to come and give our kids a chance to create their special coffee drink, whatever they choose. We would love for people to come in and take advantage of this."

  photo  Submitted photo by Kasey O'Brien Lexie Abbott undergoes training at Airship Coffee. Abbott will help teach the students in her class what she learned during training.

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