Third Wave
A digital learning platform aiming to reduce the training costs for cafe owners.
project details
Product Design
February 2020 - April 2020
Figma, After Effects
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.

Pain Points
Knowledge Retention

Coffee knowledge spans wide, and pinning down the best methods is difficult due to the sheer multitude of resources.

Time and Energy

Training a new barista takes the manager's attention away from selling coffee.

Wasted Coffee

A lack of understanding translates to bad coffee. The more mistakes made, the more coffee ends up down the drain.

The Goal

How might we make the barista training experience widely accessible, while retaining a hands on approach to learning?

Introducing Third Wave

For the incoming barista or coffee fanatic. An all in one learning platform that responds in real time, allowing for efficient practicing and accelerated 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.

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.
Visual Components
Secondary Research
Time Required to Train a Barista
3 months – 1 year
Average Cost of Barista Training Courses
Market Research

Comparing products from within the food space in order to gain insight on how information is presented with the goal of educating its users.

Benchmark Analysis

Providing insight into the existing products within the market.


Imagining circumstances in which an ideal user would use the app.

User Scenarios

Picturing the golden flow of the app.


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.

User Testing

Due to COVID-19, I was unable to user test Third Wave. I had arranged to test on several baristas in the Toronto area, as well as fellow coffee enthusiasts to improve on the following.

real time Brewing

Tweaking the scale and simplicity of the interface to allow for the user to concentrate on brewing their coffee while understanding the information on screen.


Adjusting the copy to ensure that even those without any prior knowledge are able to follow instructions.

Report Screen

Are the rating system and reports easy to understand?


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.