Coffee School | Coffee Course


The Scottish Barista Academy is a coffee school owned and run by Jim Watson. Jim has trained over 6000 people in the last twenty plus years and is an Accredited SCA and City & Guilds Trainer and oversees all the training courses provided by the Scottish Barista Academy.

Jim’s love of coffee, expert knowledge and dedicated enthusiasm shines through everything he does.


A day out on Ben Vorlich led to the Scottish Barista Academy.

Jim’s love of hill walking led him to his love of coffee. If it weren’t for hill walking, he probably wouldn’t have started his coffee school!

He’d been for a day out on a cold, damp day in March, walking on Ben Vorlich and Stuc a’Chroin at Lochearnhead. He was cold, wet and fed up, and he was looking forward to a good mug of hot coffee but got a cup of coffee so horrible that it could have been “acid”! It was terrible!

He complained to the café owner who said, “Can you do any better?” and, not a man to turn down a challenge, Jim said, “OK, I’m going to get you some decent coffee.”

He went back later with some Kenyan and Columbian coffee, sourced from a coffee supplier friend, and showed the café owner how to make a good cup of coffee. And the rest is history.  (The café owner? He became a good customer for Jim.)


Jim was working with General Datacomm back in the ‘80s, installing data communications when he decided to work for himself. He really wanted to do something different.

His wife, Maggie, and Jim, both enjoyed coffee but really didn’t know much more about it. However, they both decided that getting into the coffee industry was a good idea at the time. That was 1988.

From there, Jim and Maggie built a successful coffee school and coffee roasting and supply business that grew into today’s Scottish Barista Academy, established in 2013.


We are different because we care. We care about ensuring that you gain your coffee qualification and that it takes you to where you want to be.

We take people who may have a business already, and want to extend their income with a coffee shop. Once we train them at our coffee school and they get back to their business, it’s not uncommon for the coffee shop income to exceed the first business income.

We also take people that are unemployed, train them through Jobcentre Plus, and get them some pretty good barista jobs.  Some are now managers and supervisors in the coffee world.

At the Scottish Barista Academy, our coffee school trains anyone who has a love of coffee and wants to have a career in the coffee industry.

Our students attend our coffee school because they know who we are, what we have done, and that we can take them from knowing absolutely nothing to gaining their Coffee Diploma. They keep in touch with us and we follow and support their development in the coffee industry.

There are 7 billion people in the world and only 300-400 people have a Coffee Diploma, and a good many of those have been trained by Jim.

Jim guarantees that you’ll pass your exams – he won’t let you out until you do!

From booking your course at the coffee school, to finding your accommodation, to picking you up from the airport or railway station, we’ll give you a dedicated personal service to ensure you have the best experience.

We care that you pass the courses and make a success of your coffee career. This attention to detail is what differentiates us from the competition.

Don’t just take our word for it, our testimonials speak for themselves.

Join our coffee school today. Advance your career in the coffee industry and choose your coffee course from our courses here.

For more information about the coffee school, please don’t hesitate to call us on 07720 509457 or email us at

Coffee School | Coffee Course


“I had never drunk coffee prior to enquiring about a course at the Scottish Barista School but I was looking to open up my own Coffee House in Edinburgh so needed to develop my skills in the art of coffee making. From the first phone call with Jim I was blown away by his passion for his trade. Very quickly Jim opened my eyes up to the world of coffee and I completed two foundation courses at the school.
Jim’s passion is unerring and his ability to impart his knowledge and develop the complex skills required to brew and serve coffee is exceptional. Not only has he taught me the specialist courses but he has offered continued support throughout my coffee journey, always on hand to offer guidance and advice in order to develop me as a barista. Furthermore, the coffee he produces is out of this world and I wouldn’t be the success, and have achieved my 5-star reviews if it wasn’t for him!”

Nick Keenan
My Front Room