An article published in tomorrow’s The Age (Australia) explores the growing popularity in home espresso equipment — and in new training courses and centers for the home barista: Cafe society, BYO machine – Epicure – Entertainment – theage.com.au.

For example, Lavazza has been running courses in Australia for industry and home enthusiasts for the past decade. Many of these Australian academies use commercial machines in their training courses, while others, such as the Home Barista Institute, use domestic machines — and their instructors also offer advice for purchasing a home machine. Course prices vary from $75 to $150 (Australian) for two- to six-hour courses.

America has been slow to pick up on this concept — despite the number of people in the local industry who have shared their ideas with me to develop home machine showrooms/training centers. But with the likes of Starbucks looking for ways to differentiate themselves from the onrush of premium coffee purveyors in fast food-land, combined with the growing consumer interest in home machines (I receive at least one home machine recommendation e-mail a week), the opportunity is there.

I know, because my wife, looking up possible gift ideas, etc., has researched many of the home barista training options in the area over the past few years. What’s there is in very limited supply and slants heavily towards the professional. Given growing interest and demand, I do not suspect this to be the case for much longer.