Third Wave
A digital learning platform aiming to alleviate the training costs of cafes.
Figma, after effects
february 2020 – april 2020
Product design
project details
the problem
With the increasing prevalence of third wave coffee establishments and specialty coffee roasters, the required skills and knowledge of incoming baristas continues to increase – which costs cafe owners more time and money.
the goal
How might we make the barista training experience widely accessible, while retaining a hands on approach to learning?
Short Video Demo
The app

The app is best used on iPads at it allows for better displays of information due to the larger screen, as well a larger target for touch gestures.

ingredient preparation

Subtle animations aid in guiding the barista in training through each step in preparing their brew.

interactive brewing module

Paired with any smart coffee scale, the app takes input from the scale and judges the user's pouring speed.

As the user pours, the meter fills up, changing colour to indicate correction along the way.

review your coffee

Cafe managers can taste and evaluate their trainee's coffee and provide them with feedback as well as an overall score.

view your report

The trainee receives a report of their brew with feedback generated from the app as well as their managers.

The app identifies points in which critical errors were made and offers correction.

Secondary Research
Time Required to Train a Barista
3 months – 1 year
Cost of Barista Training Courses
benchmark analysis
view document
User scenarios
view document

After identifying the users, I began to develop the core functionality of the app based on the current coffee brewing processes used by baristas as well as the evaluative process of coffee tasting.

The biggest challenge was creating an interface to aid in real time brewing that could replace the use of a traditional scale and timer but would not distract the barista during brewing.

With these iterations, I was particularly struggling with retaining important information while minimizing clutter on the screen. While I believed that this information was still useful for reviewing brewing results, it would be difficult to pay attention to everything on screen in real time.

UI Kit
colour palette
Functions as the background colour across the app.
Used primarily for copy throughout the app.
green gradient
The primary accent colour used – indicates correct pouring speed.
orange gradient
Acts as a secondary accent colour, and indicates a fast pouring speed.
blue gradient
Solely acts as an indicator for slow pouring speed.

animations were used as a means of explaining the procedures behind both operating equipment and brewing coffee correctly.


Due to complications with COVID-19 I was unable to follow through with user testing arrangements that I had made with baristas based in Toronto. I had planned to simulate using the app with a pour over system in hopes of further improving the interface to better align with the current mental model for making pour over style coffee.

What I would do differently

Moving forward with this project I would like to conduct research on design's role within the realm of education; specifically how it can be leveraged to aid people who are deemed visual learners. With this information I would love to further develop the "digital textbook" – a feature that would give the user access to essential knowledge on coffee and one that I was unable to flesh out due to the time constraints of the project.