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Stop in for a cup of joe, walk out a trained barista by OLIVIER J. BOURGOIN

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ASTLE HILLS — At Cyclo Coffee and Barista Academy, it’s no grind to get a cup of joe — or even learn how to brew the perfect blend.

Owner Sylvia Miller said the idea to open a barista training center sprang from a lifelong passion for coffee, coupled with what she perceived as a void in the art of coffee-making. The grand opening for the shop, 2211 N.W. Military Highway, Suite 114, was Oct. 29. “When I started my first coffee shop (near the South Texas Medical Center), I had all these machines I had to maneuver but there was no one to help

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me on how to use them.” Miller said. “I spent hours trying to figure it all out.” That experience convinced Miller that her career path led to coffee. From there she took a job with Starbucks and then debuted her new shop and training center. “Of course we serve customers because the students have to practice in a real-life setting,” Miller said. Novices can pay a minimal fee of $125 for a three-hour course in the arts of frothing and decorating lattes. Tuition of $195 pays for more comprehensive training to become an in-home barista — learning about the perfect method for pulling the ultimate shot of espresso, different types of coffee beans, the finer points of milksteaming and basic coffee-based beverages. Then there is the Cadillac of classes. For $1,295, Miller will guide a student through three days of instruction to become a

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Purchase One Entrée and Receive Second Entrée at Half Price (lesser value of the two will be discounted) 2195 NW Military (@ West Ave) Andy and Mary Paparella Proprietors

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Sylvia Miller (left), the owner of Cyclo Coffee and Barista Academy in Castle Hills, says, 'It's all about the coffee.' She sells java in the front, but also has a teaching lab in the back of the shop where she conducts barista classes (above). Photos by Collette Orquiz

trade-certified barista. Custom weekend classes also can be arranged. Classes of up to five students per session are allowed. “I am open to also do custom training for people who are already working and who want to sharpen their skills or to teach them whatever their employer wants their new hires to know,” Miller said. The name of the shop is a nod to Miller’s interest in bicycling. “I’m a rider myself. I have in mind for us to become a rallying point for local cycling clubs,” she said. Her own bike hangs in the shop. There is no kitchen, but Cyclo Coffee offers bite-size pastries, scones and muffins.

“It’s all about the coffee,” Miller said. “We use organic beans and we make lattes, chai, hot chocolate, Americano frappés with flavors blended-in and pour-over French press coffee, which you can make yourself or we can make it for you.” Hours are 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday — about the same Sunday hours as the neighboring farmers market.

CYCLO COFEE AND BARISTA ACADEMY 2211 N.W. Military Highway, Suite 114 For more, call 370-2449 or email cbarista.academy@gmail.com

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