1951 Coffee Barista Training Program

Our Barista Training Program teaches refugees, asylum seekers, and other humanitarian immigrants the fundamentals of brewing coffee, using an espresso machine, the history of coffee, providing customer service, and navigating the American workplace. Our training is 100% FREE to all participants and is based on barista standards set by the Specialty Coffee Association. 

Since our first cohort in 2016, we have trained over 375 barista graduates from 46 countries. After completing the training program, graduates embark on a rigorous job search through our employment program.

Customer Service

Brewing Coffee

Building Community

If you or someone you know is interested in participating in our next Barista Training Program cohort, please email  evelyn@1951coffee.com to set up a meeting. Cohorts take place monthly from January to October.

You must meet with our program manager Evelyn in order to register for our training program.

To be eligible, participants must fulfill all of the following requirements:

  • Must be a refugee, asylee, asylum-seeker with work permit, SIV holder, or other humanitarian immigrant authorized to work in the United States
  • Be 18 years or older
  • Have conversational English speaking and comprehension
  • Be willing and available to work part- or full-time in a coffee shop
Meet Your Instructor


Originally from Guatemala, Evelyn graduated from the 1951 Coffee program in 2020. She worked at the 1951 Coffee shop as a Barista and Lead Barista for 2 years before taking over as the Barista Training Program Manager in 2022. Evelyn brings a wealth of experience to the program from growing up on coffee farms to being an excellent coffee artist.

Barista Training Program FAQs

The Bay Area is home to one of the United States’ most diverse communities! To date, we have trained people from over 46 countries.

Our program currently takes place in the Lake Merritt neighborhood of Oakland, California. We hope to one day expand to other cities with a robust coffee scene and a large refugee population. Interested in helping us grow to your area? Send us an email at info@1951coffee.com

As of February 2024, we have graduated 375 baristas from our barista training program.

We accept referrals from community members, refugee assistance agencies, and other non-profits that work with the refugee community. Many of our referrals come from our past program graduates. Interested in applying? Email evelyn@1951coffee.com

No, we don’t require English fluency! Our trainees have a broad range of familiarity with English, and our program is designed to be a hands-on educational experience that presents all English language learners with new tools needed to find a job in the coffee industry.

Our training program is 100% FREE for students.

We are able to offer this training (valued at $2000 per person) at no cost thanks to customers purchasing coffee in our cafe and generous contributions from community members in addition to grants from the James Irvine Foundation, the Yerba Buena Fund, First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley, Regeneration Church, Torani, and Chobani among others.  

As a non-profit social enterprise, proceeds from our cafe, donations from individuals, and contributions by public and private foundations enable us to offer our training classes for free.

At any given time, our cafe is staffed with 10-13 of our program graduates. In addition to opportunities at our cafe, we also connect graduates with opportunities at one of our amazing cafe partners.

The goal of our program is to prepare graduates to work in the greater coffee industry. Although we love having them work in our own cafes, we are not trying to compete with other companies - instead, we are training a pool of hard working and committed baristas to help the industry grow.

Interested in hiring a graduate email evelyn@1951coffee.com

Thank you for your interest! Email evelyn@1951coffee.com to learn more.

Yes we do! Click here to donate money. If you would like to donate supplies or equipment to the training program please email evelyn@1951coffee.com.

Yes, you can come see the training program in action at one of our Friday Open Houses. At our Open Houses you can get a free cup of coffee and have a chance to meet and mingle with our newest barista graduates. To find out when the Open Houses are happening follow us on Instagram or email evelyn@1951coffee.com.

Want to help keep this program FREE for all students?

Join the journey and become a one-time or monthly donor so that we can continue to help the newest members of our community thrive.