THE DAILY GRIND
Barista Handbook – Second Edition
Peter Giannakis
THE DAILY GRIND
Peter Giannakis
THE DAILY GRIND
A Barista’s Handbook – Second Edition
Peter Giannakis
The information contained in this guide is for informational purposes only. Any advice given is the opinion of the author based on personal experience. Always use this
information to complement manufacturers’ recommendations. Users of this guide are advised to consult their user guides for their particular machines and grinders.
Although every care has been made in the preparation of this book, the author does not accept any liability for any errors, omissions or misunderstandings on the part of the
reader. By reading this guide, you agree that the author and his company are not responsible for any injury damage or loss resulting from the material provided or implied
within this book. No part of this publication shall be reproduced, transmitted or sold in whole or in part in any form without the prior written consent of the author.
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THE DAILY GRIND: A barista’s handbook
About the Author
Hi, I’m Peter Giannakis. I have a serious passion for coffee, and I
love helping others ignite theirs. I am excited to introduce you to
the amazing coffee plant, and to show you around the big,
beautiful world of coffee.
My aim with this book is to share the knowledge I’ve amassed
through my years in the coffee industry. With a loyal and
indispensable business partner I own and operate nine successful
cafes and a thriving coffee school. I love what I do. I wake up
every morning energized, with a smile on my face, and I love
getting feedback from others learning and sharing my passion.
Thank you for downloading this e-book. I sincerely hope you
benefit from my knowledge. If you have any questions regarding
this publication or would like to contact me, you can reach me
via e-mail at info@hgcoffee.com.au
Peter Giannakis
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Contents
About the Author .............................................................................................................................................................................................. 3
1. The History Of The Bean ............................................................................................................................................................................... 8
In the Beginning…. ....................................................................................................................................................................................... 8
Coffee Timeline ........................................................................................................................................................................................... 10
2. The Birds and the Beans - Where Coffee Comes From ......................................................................................................................... 19
How & Where Coffee Grows .................................................................................................................................................................... 20
What could possibly go wrong? : Pestilence & Parasites ..................................................................................................................... 24
Harvesting the Fruit ..................................................................................................................................................................................... 26
The Ethics of Coffee Cultivation ............................................................................................................................................................... 28
3. Coffee Chemistry – The Science and Art of Roasting and Blending .................................................................................................. 30
Roasting: Culinary Alchemy ...................................................................................................................................................................... 32
Blending ....................................................................................................................................................................................................... 34
4. A Brew of One’s Own – Methods of Extraction ...................................................................................................................................... 38
Brewing Methods ........................................................................................................................................................................................ 40
The Grind...................................................................................................................................................................................................... 45
A Word about Freshness…. ....................................................................................................................................................................... 48
Espresso ........................................................................................................................................................................................................ 49
A Word about Cleaning Non Commercial Equipment ........................................................................................................................ 56
5. The Perfect Shot – How to “Pull Espresso” ............................................................................................................................................... 57
Basic Steps to a Perfect Shot .................................................................................................................................................................... 58
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1. Grinding ................................................................................................................................................................................................... 58
2. Tamping ................................................................................................................................................................................................... 60
3. Setting ...................................................................................................................................................................................................... 64
4. Pour........................................................................................................................................................................................................... 65
Troubleshooting Your Shots ....................................................................................................................................................................... 68
6. Textured Milk............................................................................................................................................................................................... 70
How to Texture Milk..................................................................................................................................................................................... 72
Latte Art ....................................................................................................................................................................................................... 76
7. Espresso 101 – The Coffee Menu .............................................................................................................................................................. 81
Espresso or Short Black ............................................................................................................................................................................... 82
Ristretto & Doppio ...................................................................................................................................................................................... 83
Long Black, Café Lungo or Café Americano......................................................................................................................................... 84
Flat White ..................................................................................................................................................................................................... 85
Cappuccino ................................................................................................................................................................................................ 86
Café Latte ................................................................................................................................................................................................... 87
Piccollo latte ............................................................................................................................................................................................... 88
Short Macchiato ......................................................................................................................................................................................... 89
Long Macchiato or Macchiato Lungo .................................................................................................................................................... 90
Espresso con Panna ................................................................................................................................................................................... 91
Mugaccino .................................................................................................................................................................................................. 92
Vienna Coffee ............................................................................................................................................................................................ 93
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Mocha.......................................................................................................................................................................................................... 94
Hot Chocolate ............................................................................................................................................................................................ 95
Flavoured Coffee ....................................................................................................................................................................................... 96
Iced Coffee ................................................................................................................................................................................................. 97
Iced Espresso or Icepresso ........................................................................................................................................................................ 98
Affogato ...................................................................................................................................................................................................... 99
Babyccino ................................................................................................................................................................................................. 100
8. Machine Housekeeping .......................................................................................................................................................................... 101
Steam Wands ............................................................................................................................................................................................ 101
Rinsing Shower Screen and Cleaning Filter Baskets After Every Coffee Made ............................................................................... 103
Back flushing your machine .................................................................................................................................................................... 104
Cleaning the shower screens ................................................................................................................................................................. 106
Cleaning your group handles and filter baskets .................................................................................................................................. 107
Drip Tray and Drainage ........................................................................................................................................................................... 108
Cup Warmer .............................................................................................................................................................................................. 108
Counter and workbenches ..................................................................................................................................................................... 108
Knock Box .................................................................................................................................................................................................. 109
9. Barista Employment.................................................................................................................................................................................. 110
The Job You Want .................................................................................................................................................................................... 110
The Employee They Want ........................................................................................................................................................................ 112
A Lesson from Adam ................................................................................................................................................................................ 113
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Ready your Resume ................................................................................................................................................................................. 116
The Job Hunt—A Job in Itself................................................................................................................................................................... 122
Information Age Pitfalls ............................................................................................................................................................................ 126
Making Cold Calls .................................................................................................................................................................................... 127
Searching the Newspaper ...................................................................................................................................................................... 131
Nailing the Interview................................................................................................................................................................................. 132
The First Day of Work and Beyond.......................................................................................................................................................... 137
10. Nationally Recognised Certification (Australia Only)........................................................................................................................ 144
Organise and prepare work areas ........................................................................................................................................................ 145
Provide customer service and advise customers ................................................................................................................................ 145
Select and grind coffee .......................................................................................................................................................................... 146
Extract coffee ........................................................................................................................................................................................... 146
Texture milk ................................................................................................................................................................................................ 147
Serve and present espresso coffee ....................................................................................................................................................... 148
Clean and maintain espresso machine ................................................................................................................................................ 148
Appendix I ..................................................................................................................................................................................................... 150
Cover Letter Samples ............................................................................................................................................................................... 150
Standard Operating Procedures for Baristas ........................................................................................................................................ 152
Appendix II..................................................................................................................................................................................................... 155
Additional Resources ............................................................................................................................................................................... 155
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1. The History Of The Bean
No one can understand the truth until he drinks of coffee's frothy goodness.
~Sheik Abd-al-Kadir
In the Beginning….
As in most epic stories, the birth of coffee is a bit mysterious. Tales of origin are often a mixture of
fact and legend, and they vary from place to place. In the case of the coffee plant, most of them
have this in common: it starts with goats.
These goats belonged to an Ethiopian goatherd named Kaldi, who spent his days looking for ways
to fill their eternally empty bellies. One day, he led the herd to a place with lots of bushy ground
cover. They were munching the morning away, as always, when Kaldi noticed an odd thing. Those
goats were jumping! Yes, goats always jump…but this was energetic even for them! They were
practically dancing in the field. Kaldi was a curious fellow, and so he inspected the bushes they
were nibbling and found patches of red berries.
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Deciding that what’s good for goats has got to be good for the goatherd, he tried them himself.
And, like the goats, he experienced a burst of energy. Thinking he had discovered something very
special, Kaldi took the berries back to his village, where their popularity soon spread.
Was there a real Kaldi? Was he a composite of multiple individuals who found and tasted the
berries of this plant? We can’t know for certain…but the Ethiopians were likely the first culture to
consume coffee; their preparation—a mix of animal fat and ground berries—was likely in use
before 1000 AD.
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Coffee Timeline
We may not know when Kaldi watched his goats dancing in a caffeine frenzy, but we know that
the world was introduced to coffee sometime around 1000 AD.
~ 1000 AD: Arab traders bring coffee plants back from their travels and begin to cultivate it on their
own farms. They boil the beans in water to make a stimulant beverage—probably the
first culture to do this.
1555: The first known coffeehouse is established in Istanbul. Ottoman scribe İbrahim Peçevi writes:
Until the year 1555, in the High, God-Guarded city of Constantinople, as well as in Ottoman lands
generally, coffee and coffee-houses did not exist. About that year, a fellow called Hakam from
Aleppo and a wag called Shams from Damascus came to the city; they each opened a large
shop in the district called Tahtakale, and began to purvey coffee.1
The demand for coffee around this time escalated. It became so important that a woman
had a legal right to divorce a husband who could not provide her with daily coffee.
1
Bernard Lewis quotes Peçevi in his book Istanbul and the Civilization of the Ottoman Empire.
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~ 1600: Italian traders returning from the Ottoman Empire bring coffee into Venice. The Vatican
initially declares it an “infidel threat.” Pope Clement VIII—perhaps a coffee lover himself?—
proclaims the beverage acceptable for Christian consumption.
1645: The first coffeehouse opens in Italy.
1650: England’s first coffeehouse, The Grand Café, opens in Oxford. (It still exists, though it has
evolved into a wine bar.) A subsequent coffee boom happens across the country, and cafés
begin to open across England. Admission costs a penny, making them popular with every
class of British subject. These earn the nickname of “Penny Universities”, for their popularity as
places to share news and debate important ideas.
1652: Pascal Rosea, a Greek from Ragusa, opens the first coffeehouse in London, in Cornhill.
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1668: Edward Lloyd opens Lloyd’s Coffee House in
Lombard Street, London. It becomes a popular
haunt for ship owners and sea merchants, whose
wagers on sea voyages will eventually birth the
modern casualty insurance industry. The same year,
coffee replaces beer as New York City’s favourite
breakfast drink.
1672: Pascal Rosea expands his business, opening the first
coffee house in Paris, France. It remains the city’s
Did You Know?
In 1674, a “Women’s Petition Against
Coffee” circulated London, claiming
that English men’s mania for coffeedrinking was ruining their domestic
happiness. It claimed that hanging out in
coffee houses kept them from home, the
influence of caffeine made them too
talkative, and worst of all, affected their
masculine
vigour.
The
pamphlet
complained, among other things, that:
“their Amunition is wanting;
peradventure they Present, but cannot
give Fire, or at least do but flash
in the pan, instead of doing Execution.”
sole public coffee source for more than 10 years.
1675: Vienna’s first coffeehouse is opened by the Greek merchant Ioannis Diodato. Vienna
establishes the practice of filtering the grounds out of the drink, and of adding sugar and
milk. Even today, “Vienna coffee” is a popular way of referencing coffee made with cream.
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1686: Café Procope opens in Paris, and becomes the preferred hang out of historical figures such
as Voltaire, Denis Diderot, and Rousseau. Still in existence, the Café Procope also claims to
be the birthplace of Diderot’s Encyclopédie, the first modern encyclopedia.
1690: Dutch traders smuggle coffee plants out of the Arab port of Mocha, transplanting them to
farms in their colonies in Ceylon and Java. That “java” is a common nickname for coffee is a
sign of the country’s importance as an origin for the bean.
~1700: The French begin brewing their coffee grounds in small cloth bags, which produces a
clearer brew.
1714: The mayor of Amsterdam gives Louis XIV of France a small coffee bush as a gift. The plant
becomes a favourite of the monarch, and finds a comfortable home in the royal
greenhouses.
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Did You Know?
Beethoven an
avid coffee
lover was noted
as having
always counted
60 beans to
each cup of
coffee he
prepared.
1723: A French captain stationed in Martinique convinces the king’s
physician to source a cutting from Le Roi’s pet plant. After a perilous journey
over rough seas, a thwarted theft attempt, and a pirate attack, the French
captain finally settles his cutting in the rich, volcanic soil of the island. It
flourishes and becomes the probable sire of the 19 million trees counted in
the last official survey, and the source of many other plantings in the region.
Some estimates suggest that up to 90% of the world’s coffee may have
originated from this single source.
1727: A pivotal year in coffee tree history. A series of border disputes occur between France and
Holland in the colony of Guiana. Lieutenant Colonel Francisco de Melo Palheta, an arbiter of
the dispute, becomes entangled with the French governor’s wife. As a parting gift, she offers
him a bouquet of flowers trimmed with live coffee tree stems. Seeing an opportunity, Melo
nurtures the stems, and on his return to Brazil, introduces his country to the plant. But even he
cannot anticipate the eventual outcome: Brazil eventually becomes the world’s largest
single producer of coffee.
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1750: The first drip pot, which runs hot water through the grounds and into a separate chamber, is
used in France. From this machine and its progeny, including the French press, Espresso will
evolve.
1773:
In their anger over heavy import taxes on tea, American colonists stage a revolt—the
“Boston Tea Party”—and pitch the colonies’ latest shipment of tea into the harbour. They also
declare that it is every American’s patriotic duty to drink coffee. The event not only sets the
wheels in motion for the eventual American Revolution, but leads to the adoption of coffee
as the nation’s choice drink.
1884: Angelo Moriondo of Turin, Italy patents the first steam-driven coffee machine; he exhibits a
prototype at the Turin General Exhibition of that year. This method of fast brewing is called
Espresso, the Italian word for “quick.” Some historians give the French credit for the earliest
espresso makers—first a crude machine invented in 1882, and then a more sophisticated
model at the Paris Exhibition of 1855. But Moriondo holds the earliest patent.
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1901: Working from Moriondo’s model, Luigi Bezzera tinkers with a series of improvements to the
espresso machine. He sells his patents to Desiderio Pavoni, whose company begins
producing and selling “La Pavona” models by 1905.
1903: On August 11 Satori Kato, a Japanese chemist working in the US, files for a patent on “Coffee
Concentrate and Process of Making Same.” This is the first viable instant coffee. While watersoluble coffee is already available, the existing product has a short shelf life and goes rancid
very quickly, so the concept is really a nonstarter. Kato identifies the problem as a need to
remove the natural fat in order to create a concentrate that resists spoilage. His application
explains his solution:
I separate the volatile oil and the fats from the coffee and remove the fibre and reduce to a
hard substance. This hard substance is reduced to a finely divided condition and a portion
thereof is pulverized and thoroughly mixed with the pure volatile oil and dried, after which this
mixture is mixed with the remainder of the hard substance and used in this granulated or flaky
form or pressed into tablets.
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The same year, Ludwig Roselius develops the first successful
decaffeination process in Bremen, Germany. Working with Karl
Kimmer, the coffee merchant creates a process that uses
benzene or methylene chloride as a solvent to remove the
caffeine from the unroasted bean. Roselius creates a
company
to
market
the
product,
Sanka.
Did You Know?
Owing largely to New
Year’s resolutions
decaffeinated coffee
sales are at the highest in
January of each year.
Chemical
decaffeination processes will eventually be replaced by other
methods.
1909: George Constant Washington, an Anglo-Belgian living in Guatemala, launches Red E Coffee,
the first commercial instant coffee venture. Initially inspired by his observations on the
powdery build up in his own coffee pot, as well as the work of predecessors like Kato,
Washington’s venture is timely, as caffeine is considered a necessary asset on the battlefield
during World War I.
1938: Nescafe improves on Washington’s process and begins marketing its own instant coffee
brand. World War II increases instant coffee consumption in the western world.
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At the same time, M. Cremonesi tackles the most significant problem of early espresso—a
frequent bitter, burnt flavour caused by exposing the grounds to boiling water.
He develops a piston pump that pushes hot—not boiling—water through the machine. It
results in a much-improved taste. Achille Gaggia adopts these machines for his own coffee
house in Italy, and does some of his own fiddling. While all of his early machines will be lost in
WWII bomb raids, Gaggia will eventually take his patents (which include a brass screw piston
and a hand operated press) and form the Gaggia Machine Company.
1940: US coffee imports grow to 70% of the world’s yearly harvest.
1947: Gaggia introduces a series of new innovations, including a spring operated lever and piston
mechanism, as well as an attached boiler. His pressurised system produces a much finer,
smoother brew, with the distinctive, light crema on top. This is the espresso that coffee lovers
today know and prize. Pavoni and other manufacturers soon follow suit.
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2. The Birds and the Beans - Where Coffee Comes From
Coffee is real good when you drink it, it gives you time to think. It's a lot more than just a drink; it's something
happening. Not as in hip, but like an event, a place to be, but not like a location, but like somewhere within
yourself. It gives you time, but not actual hours or minutes, but a chance to be, like be yourself, and have a second
cup. ~ Gertrude Stein
For most people, coffee starts as that dried, ground up powder that turns into go-go juice when
you add hot water. Ask them where coffee comes from, and they will probably tell you that some
guy named Juan Valdez brings it on his donkey, doesn’t he? They don’t really think about where
that powder came from, or what it looked like in its previous incarnation, or how it got to them.
They should…especially if they really enjoy quality coffee! Coffee is a lot like wine or beer; it is
influenced by terroir, by blending, by method of preparation. Do these things well and you end up
with something that is as much an experience as a hot beverage. Do it badly and you may ruin
someone’s day. As with a good quality wine or beer (or whiskey, or cheese, or cigar…), knowing
where it came from and how it is prepared can actually enhance a person’s enjoyment of coffee.
People are starting to crave that knowledge—they want to become connoisseurs—and they look
to their baristas to educate them.
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How & Where Coffee Grows
Coffea plants are considered shrubs, or small trees, that grow about 3.5 metres tall. They have
broad, shiny green leaves and produce bright red fruit called “cherries,” which contain 1-2 seeds.
These seeds are the source of everyone’s favourite stimulant beverage (nope, there are no actual
beans involved). There are dozens of species in the coffea genus, but only a handful can be
processed into coffee. Of these, coffea Arabica (“Arabica”) and coffea canephora (“Robusta”),
are the dominant crops. Other species—caffea liberica, excelsa, stenophylla, mauritania, and
racemosa—can also be used to make coffee, but have little to no market share.
No matter the variety, the plants need a temperate climate and lots of moisture. They love the
green, verdant belt that circles the earth’s middle, between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of
Capricorn, and have a special fondness for volcanic soil. Coffee plants are perennial, and can
produce crops for 10-20 years, depending on the varietal.
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The first known plants originated in Ethiopia, and through various trade
routes made their way through Central Africa to India and Indonesia,
Central and South America, and the Caribbean. Arabica is the more
delicate species, requiring higher altitudes and lower temperatures. It is
also more vulnerable to disease. Robusta can handle a warmer climate,
but cannot self-pollinate efficiently and must be nursed through methods
like cutting or grafting. Arabica has the more delicate, complex flavour
profile; Robusta tends to be bitterer, but has denser body and more
caffeine; it is also less expensive.
In the wild, coffee bushes tend to grow in the shade of larger trees. Plants put out a fragrant white
flower; when fertilized by bees, wind, birds, or other methods these become small green fruits. The
cherries ripen slowly, over the course of several months. Under optimal circumstances, the plants
will complete several cycles of bloom and fruit production at once, resulting in multiple crops each
year. Farmers discovered early on that full sun exposure causes the crops to mature more quickly,
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which means that many commercial growers prefer to clear-cut the land and irrigate for maximum
production. Shade-grown coffee has a reputation for better flavour, however.
It also has a smaller environmental footprint. The largest commercial coffee producers tend to rely
on full sun growing methods; smaller, pricier producers favour shade-grown product.
Did You Know?
Eighty per cent of all
coffee is produced
on small family farms
of less than 13 acres.
As a domesticated crop, caffea requires careful tending and
cultivation. The plants grow easily in the right kind of soil, but they need
a lot of TLC in order to produce their valuable fruit. Plants need fertilizing
two to three times a year, and the mix of nitrogen, phosphorus, and iron
must be calibrated to the local soil. And since weeds love the same
nutrient-rich earth, only constant weed-pulling can keep the persistent and sneaky little green
devils from choking out small, delicate trees. Coffee plants also need frequent pruning to
encourage bloom and disease resistance. When the bushes age and become unproductive, they
must be cut down to a stump in order to encourage re-growth, and culled when they finally reach
an advanced geriatric stage.
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If the local area receives insufficient rain, then irrigation ditches must be dug and maintained. And
pests! The same temperate climate that nurtures plants also encourages a veritable army of
critters, crud, and blights that can lay waste to a whole plantation.
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What could possibly go wrong? : Pestilence & Parasites
Over 900 species of insects worldwide have been known to attack caffea species. In addition, the
plants are susceptible to several forms of fungus, virus, and bacteria.
 Nematodes – tiny worms, these attack the roots of plants. Different species exist in the soil of
almost every geographical area, and several varieties native to the tropics are dangerous to
caffea.
 Leafminer – the caterpillar of the leafminer moth, these eat the leaves of coffee plants,
especially in Brazil.
 White stem borer – present in Africa and Latin America, these winged insects are most
destructive in India. They chew and undermine the integrity of the stem.
 Coffee wilt disease – also called Vascular Wilt Disease, this fungus yellows the leaves of the
plant. It is a particular problem for Robusta plants in Africa.
 Coffee berry disease – this is also a problem among African crops. The fungus invades the
plant, but symptoms do not show up until the cherries emerge. They spot and wither before
maturity.
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 Most pernicious of all, Coffee leaf rust – causes a yellow, powdery build-up on the underside
of leaves. Eventually, the infected leaves die and fall away, killing the plant. This fungus is
present in all coffee growing countries and can lay waste to whole fields of plants.
Most of these infestations can be treated with pesticides, but in many cases the chemicals do
more harm than good, as they tend to kill beneficial species that help pollinate plants. Carefully
pruned, shade-grown crops seem to be the most resilient.
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Harvesting the Fruit
A coffee cherry is ready for harvest when it is firm and a deep, bright red. In order to collect the
seeds, these cherries must be pulled from the bush and the meat (or mucilage) removed. This can
be done by several methods.
 Selective (hand) picking – this is the most meticulous and
time-consuming method. Pickers move from plant to plant,
pulling only the ripe cherries and leaving green ones. The
seeds are separated from the fruit via a wet fermentation
method, soaking them in water until the exterior pulls away.
The plants can be continually harvested, but it is slow work
and cost prohibitive for large-scale commercial growers.
 Strip picking – this is also done by hand, but involves the removal of whole branches from the
bush. This means that the ripe cherries, green cherries, overripe fruit, and blossoms are all
pulled at once. The branches are spread in the sun, where the fruit dries. Green coffee beans
from the ripe fruit will be collected by pounding the cured branches; unfortunately, seeds
from unripe or overripe fruit also end up in the final harvest.
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 Mechanical – two different methods of mechanical harvest exist. Combing involves a large,
flexible metal comb (sort of like a rake) that removes cherries from the bush. A more recent
innovation uses vibration to shake the bush, loosening the fruit. While these methods collect
fewer green fruits than stripping, both permit the presence of over- or under-ripe cherries in
the final harvest. They tend to be used by large operations that prioritize volume over
individual quality.
 Civet – the most unusual method of gathering the seeds, this is unique to a specific kind of
coffee in Indonesia. The initial picking is done by civets, cousins to the mongoose. The animals
eat the coffee cherries, nature takes its course, and harvesters gather the partially digested
beans from the ground. The resulting coffee is rare, expensive, and has something of a cult
following.
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The Ethics of Coffee Cultivation
The countries established in the same areas of the world that nurture
coffee plants are the ones that face some of the most persistent social
and economic difficulties. Bluntly put, most coffee is consumed in the first
world and grown in the third world. The daily wages of many harvesters
are less than the average price for a latté, and fluctuating bulk prices
barely noticed by consumers worldwide can have a devastating effect
on small growers.
Did You Know?
Coffee is the
second only to oil
as the most traded
commodity, and
second to water as
a beverage.
The largest producers of the world’s coffee also
practice the most ecologically damaging methods of cultivation and
harvest.
What does this mean for the café owner, barista, and coffee lover in Australia and elsewhere?
Should you give up the bean? Boycott coffee for the sake of little Juan in Costa Rica? Of course
not—plenty of individual growers and pickers still need their wages. Fortunately, the practices that
produce high-end coffee—the really premium product that attracts budding connoisseurs—tend
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to be the ones used by small growers. Hand-picked, shade grown beans are the best raw
ingredients for quality roasts and specialty blends.
The most important choice that business owners, baristas, and consumers can make is to ask that
their products originate with fair trade beans, grown and harvested using sustainable methods. The
Rainforest Alliance, a non-profit organisation dedicated to conservation and sustainability, has a
certification process that can help consumers identify responsibly farmed coffee. These can be
identified by a seal with a small frog on the packaging. The products will be more expensive, yes.
But most enthusiasts are already willing to invest in quality. These considerations—sustainability and
fair trade—are a natural part of that equation.
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3. Coffee Chemistry – The Science and Art of Roasting and Blending
A cup of coffee—real coffee—home browned, home ground, home made, that comes to you dark as a hazel-eye,
but changes to a golden bronze as you temper it with cream that never cheated, but was real cream from its birth,
thick, tenderly yellow, perfectly sweet, neither lumpy nor frothing on the Java: such a cup of coffee is a match for
twenty blue devils and will exorcise them all.
~Harriet Beecher Ward
There are four basic components to coffee character: aroma, body, acidity, and flavour.
 Typically, the initial human contact with food is aroma. Small particles inundate the air and
reach the nose. Much of our sense of taste is actually located in our olfactory organs. The
tongue can only distinguish 5 basic flavours, while the nose can detect hundreds of distinct
scents. So much of coffee’s complex personality is concentrated in the aroma.
 Body refers to the “mouth feel” of the liquid. Different preparations have their own weight
and texture. Some coat the tongue with an oily emulsion. Others feel clean and sharp. Body
can be somewhat subjective, as it is partly a matter of individual preference. One person
may love a dense, buttery texture while another detests anything that clings to the tongue.
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 As with scotch, acidity is an important aspect of coffee
character. It is judged by the presence of zest and
sharpness, that slight burn or stimulation of the taste buds
and throat that occurs as liquid moves from mouth to
Did You Know?
Coffee is a most complex
beverage, boasting over 800
flavour characteristics. In
contrast wine has only 150.
stomach.
 Flavour is the most complicated characteristic, and is tied to both the tongue and nose. A
given coffee can have elements that stimulate sweet, sour, and bitter receptors on the
tongue. Its qualities can be described as earthy or fruity, chocolate or caramel, bold or
subtle—a whole world of adjectives. One flavour may dominate the first sip, while another
emerges after several mouthfuls. Or, a number of flavours can emerge in a single taste. Like
wine, exploring a coffee’s flavour profile can be the most pleasurable part of the experience.
Of course, none of these things—aroma, body, acidity, and flavour—will be obvious while the
cherries are still on the bush. The potential is there, but those hidden seed pairs have a long way to
go before they become coffee. A raw bean is green, and has a thin silver skin to protect it. Its
flavour is bitter and raw; unless you dip it in chocolate, most people will find it rather unpalatable.
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Roasting: Culinary Alchemy
Ask a chef or food scientist about heat. They will tell you that it can transfigure a raw ingredient.
The results can be magical: sugars break down, acids dissipate, textures evolve. They can also be
disastrous; too much heat or too prolonged an exposure, and you end up with an unidentifiable
dark lump that no one wants to put in their mouth.
Did You Know?
1 kilogram of
roasted coffee
requires 4,000 5,000 coffee beans
The roasting process takes raw seeds and transforms them into coffee as
we know it. It requires a watchful eye and careful attention to
temperature. Different varieties require slightly different treatments, but
generally speaking the beans must be heated to 190-220º C. This can take
anywhere from 90 seconds to 15 minutes. Moisture inside the bean
converts to steam, causing it to puff. The silver skin crumbles into chaff
and falls away. Sugars, proteins, and other chemicals break down and form new bonds, which
enhance the aroma and darken the surface to a rich brown. Oils and fats inside the bean leak out,
leaving it glossy and bright as a new car. As soon as the right degree of roast is reached, the beans
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must be removed from the heat and bathed with cold air or water to stop these chemical
reactions; an unchecked molecular breakdown will ruin the flavour.
An oven works well for roasting a small number of beans; anyone wishing to try a little at-home
experimenting can do so with a shallow pan and a handful of fresh, green coffee beans. But
commercial roasters, even boutique operations, need more specialized equipment. Many use
large, rotating drums and pump hot gasses into the central chamber as the beans are turned.
Others prefer a fluid bed roaster, which tumbles a thin layer of beans in a current of hot air.
Whatever the mechanism, temperatures must be carefully monitored.
Using a sensor or their own ears, the person directing the roast waits
for the “first crack”, the moment when the heat triggers the first major
change in the beans. They darken, swell, and make a crackling
sound a bit like popcorn popping. Roasting will continue until after
the “second crack”, in which the beans darken further and release
their oils.
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Did You Know?
The longer coffee is roasted
the more caffeine is burnt out
during the process, thus
darker roasts have less
caffeine content.
At this point, the individual must decide how much longer to
heat the beans. The longer they roast, the darker and less bitter
they will be. But roast them too long, and the sugars and
aromatic compounds will burn away. A slightly greener roast is
more pleasing to some palates, while others prefer a dark,
thorough roast.
Blending
It is an unsavoury truth that not all coffee is created
equal.
Arabica has a richer, more complicated
flavour than its bitter (but higher octane) cousin
Robusta. Like wine grapes, each varietal has a flavour
profile. And like grapes, coffee cherries take on the
qualities of the environment in which they are grown.
The acidity of the soil, chemicals in the air, even the
neighbouring vegetation, can all influence the taste of
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the seedpods. A pleasing cup of coffee depends not only on proper roasting technique for the
beans, but on blending beans of different type and origin into a harmonious mix.
It is certainly possible to roast and serve coffee from a single crop on a single estate. But it isn’t
really commercially viable to do so. Consider also that a number of factors will influence the
character of the beans: varietal, environmental factors, picking methods, wet vs. dry curing,
roasting.
To create a consistent, appealing beverage, most purveyors
must blend different batches of beans together in a way that
minimizes defects and accentuates their best characteristics.
Most of the large distributors rely on inexpensive, hardy
Robusta as a base, and add small amounts of more flavourful
stock to season the blend. Their goal is to create an
affordable
product
with
a
uniform
taste,
even
Did You Know?
The International Olympic
Committee has banned
Caffeine. The threshold limit for
athletes caffeine testing can be
reached after drinking about 5
cups of coffee.
with
components from all over the world.
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Small, specialty companies use blending, too, in pursuit of new and unique culinary experiences.
The combination of different varietals, of harvests from different countries and estates, will result in
deviations of aroma, body, acidity, and flavour. They experiment with different fusions, and release
the best results as small batch coffees. Drinking a cup of skilfully blended coffee is rather like eating
a dish prepared by a talented chef. The allure comes from the promise of a new, memorable,
especially pleasing experience.
Most initial blending is done after roasting. Blending specialists combine batches of beans and/or
cupped liquid, sampling different mixtures and noting the character of each result. When
successful combinations are found, blenders note the ingredients and proportion.
The roasted beans are then combined and packaged for public distribution. For large, massmarket coffees, once the recipe is established some of the mixing may be done with still-green
seeds. But this is rarely done for small batch coffees, as different seed lots will vary in physical size
and chemical make up. The variations necessitate a different roasting process for each batch.
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Roasting and blending are the crafts that take an unpalatable raw product and turn them into
something we can’t wait to consume. Coffee is one of the world’s best-loved libations; in different
preparations, it can be a daily necessity, a social lubricant, and an epicurean treat. Roasting and
blending are largely responsible for those distinctions. But they are two steps on the journey to
transforming coffea into your cup of java. Those solids still have to become liquid, a process with its
own difficulties and delights.
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4. A Brew of One’s Own – Methods of Extraction
In most households a cup of coffee is considered the one thing needful at the breakfast hour. But how often this
exhilarating beverage, that "comforteth the brain and heateth and helpeth digestion" is made muddy and illflavoured! ... You may roast the berries "to the queen's taste," and grind them fresh every morning, and yet, if the
golden liquid be not prepared in the most immaculate of coffee-pots, with each return of morning, a new
disappointment awaits you.
~ Janet McKenzie Hill, Practical Cooking And Serving
Most cafés do a brisk trade in espresso-based drinks, with smaller demand for drip brew (your
regular java). As a barista or business owner, you should know that an espresso machine is better
than a lover. It is your livelihood; if you know what you’re doing, you can coax it to flow with
ambrosia, but if you get it wrong your clientele will denounce you as a poisoner. The second half of
this chapter will explain the anatomy of an espresso machine, and break down how it works. You
need never fear your machine again.
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But first, we need to explore multiple
methods of extraction. Those roasted beans
won’t steep themselves, but most people
(including you) want to be able to drink
their coffee at home as well as in your café.
A
smart
barista
understands
several
methods of extraction, knows which one is
best for the specific blend/roast in question,
and can instruct customers on how to treat
those beans when they get them home.
(A side note: this information is also a sure-fire way to impress overnight visitors to your own flat. Who
doesn’t like coffee in bed?) We will need to discuss proper grinding techniques—which we will do
in the next section. For now, let’s talk about equipment.
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Brewing Methods
1. Drip Filtering – This is the most common method. Unless
your mum keeps a tin of instant in the cupboard, she
probably has an electric coffee pot with a drip filter. Lots
of office break rooms have them (again, if they don’t go
cheap and get instant). Gravity provides most of the
action here. Heated water passes through a basket full of
ground coffee, and drips down into a carafe below. A
filter (made of paper, metal mesh, or plastic) prevents the
grinds from infiltrating the finished pot. The best benefit of drip filtering is the speed with which
the brew occurs. The biggest limitation is the difficulty in controlling water temperature.
Anyone electing for a drip filter pot for their daily coffee routine should choose one with an
adjustable temperature setting. Also, select your filters carefully. Plastic and some paper filters
can affect the flavour of the brew. If all of the coffee will not be consumed immediately,
transfer it to an insulated jug instead of leaving it on the built-in warmer. This can scorch the
brew, ruining the taste and giving you a terrible case of file clerk breath.
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2. Vacuum Filtering – the apparatus looks like it belongs in a
high school science lab. Two glass globes are connected
vertically with a tube in the centre. Ground coffee goes in
the top globe, the funnel. Filtered water goes in the
bottom globe, the carafe. The whole apparatus sits over
an open flame or stove, and heats for approximately 3
minutes. Steam and water will rise into the funnel from
below. When the apparatus is removed from the heat,
the cooling brew will descend into the carafe, leaving the
grinds behind. Vacuum pots are delicate and hard to find
(check an antique store), but produce a smooth, elegant
cup. They are coming back into vogue with certain cafés,
where enthusiasts can find large, elaborate vacuum
apparatuses in use. They are more a conversation starter
than a practical means of commercial coffee service, but
they do offer a certain point of distinction with one’s competition.
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3. Percolation – like the vacuum pot, percolator pots
begin with the water on the bottom and the ground
coffee in a basket on top. The pot is placed on a
heat source, and the resulting steam pushes water
upward. But that is where the comparison ends.
Percolator pots must remain in contact with heat for
the process to occur, and the water frequently boils.
Brewed coffee is forced back through the grinds,
destroying much of the aroma and flavour. Better
methods of brewing have developed, so no one
need bother with a percolator for their personal
coffee unless they are back country camping. Big
metal percolating urns are still in common use for
many large-scale catering operations (which explains why even the good coffee at most
banquets tastes of boiled running socks).
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4. French Press – these carafes, sometimes called plunger
pots, are easy to use at home and make a lovely cup…as
long the grind and water temperature are carefully
prepared. The set up is simple: a glass or metal beaker, with
a plunger fitted into a snug-fitting lid. The plunger has a
round mesh filter at the base. Coarsely ground coffee is
measured into the bottom of the beaker, and freshly
heated filtered water poured in (it can be recently boiled,
but should have cooled slightly before use). The lid is fitted
over the top of the beaker with the plunger raised. The
mixture should infused for 3-5 minutes (depending on the
blend and the drinker’s strength preference). The water can
be stirred or agitated slightly in mid-brew, if you wish. When
the infusion time ends, the plunger is pressed, the filter packs the grounds down, and the
particle-free brew is left above. Pay attention to the proportions of ground coffee and hot
water, or you may end up with a drink that is too strong or too watered down. French presses
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make a lovely, aromatic brew if the water and grounds are properly prepared, but most are
not well insulated. Be careful touching it when you pour, and drink the coffee quickly or
transfer it to an insulated carafe. Clean up for the beaker and filter can be a chore, but most
French Press users find it worthwhile.
5. Turkish – prepared in a special, small carafe called an ibrik.
Also called Greek coffee, this is perhaps the oldest brewing
method, and is still used in the Greek and Arab world.
Ground coffee and water are mixed together in the carafe
(sometimes with sugar), which is heated until the brew
foams and then quickly removed from the flame. This
process is done three times in succession, and then the syrupy, foamy brew is poured into
small cups and immediately drunk. The grinds are present in the finished beverage, which has
a thick, muddy appearance. Some swear it’s the only way to drink coffee; others find it
repellent. Try it and decide for yourself. Turkish/Greek style coffee has been re-discovered by
boutique coffeehouses in recent years; you will find it in an increasing number of cafés.
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The Grind
To extract the material from a roasted bean into a beverage, it is important for as much of the
bean’s surface as possible to come into contact with the hot water. This is why the beans are
broken up—ground—before adding liquid; more of the bean touches the water, and more of its
chemical essence will transfer. Of course, you don’t want too much of the coffee essence moving
into the liquid, or the bitterness will overwhelm all of the other characteristics. So each brewing
method needs a grind suited to its process.
1. Drip Filtering: For most paper filters, use a medium grind. The beans should look like coarse
sand—small, irregular pieces but not powder. Certain specialty filters will need a coarse grind.
When in doubt, read the instructions provided by the filter manufacturer.
2. Vacuum Filtering: Use a coarse grind. The beans should be broken into large, chunky
particles. Basically, imagine the way a bean would look if you accidentally stepped on it
while wearing heavy boots.
3. Percolation: If you must…use a coarse grind.
4. French Press: A medium or a coarse grind may be better depending on the boldness or
mildness of the blend. Also, personal preference for stronger or more subtle brew has an
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impact. Experiment a bit until you find a grind you like. That’s one of the best things about a
French press; you can tinker with things until you reach your ideal cup.
5. Turkish: Superfine, powdery grind. The beans should resemble flour.
6. Espresso (which will be discussed in more detail below): A fine grind works best for
home/manual espresso makers as well as commercial units. The coffee should look have a
texture like salt or granulated sugar.
Most cafés will have large, industrial grinders with multiple settings. Many of the latest model
commercial espresso machines have the ability to grind a pre-calibrated measure of beans at the
moment of extraction, insuring a fresh-tasting cup.
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For personal coffee extraction, there are three basic kinds of grinders: hand grinders use manual
cranks; blade grinders and burr grinders are electric. Any of the three will serve the purpose as long
as you pay attention. Since many small blade grinders can be bought quite cheaply, the only
reason to use a hand grinder is personal preference. Burr grinders are the most efficient, but are
generally much more expensive. For your own home, or when advising your customers on what
model to buy, the wisest course is to determine the kind of regular use a grinder will get. Only
planning to keep one kind of coffee in the kitchen? Then an inexpensive blade grinder will do fine.
But if you want to serve multiple types or coffee or use different extractors at different times, then
you might invest a bit on an adjustable burr grinder that can produce different grinds. The best
advice for all is to purchase the unit that best fits your style and budget.
A café should also offer to grind beans for customers at the time of purchase. Not everyone can
be bothered to grind their own coffee; it adds time and mess to the process. If you do grind beans
on a customer’s behalf, remember to ask what kind of brew method they will use and grind
accordingly.
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A Word about Freshness….
Roasted coffee beans are unlikely to rot, but they are perishable. Over
time, beans lose their flavour and aroma, especially once the vacuum seal
on the packaging is broken. Air, light, and humidity will trigger the start of
chemical breakdown just as with any other food item. Customers should
be cautioned to use beans within a week or to store them carefully,
especially if they buy them pre-ground. At the very least, beans should be
Did You Know?
Storing green
coffee is a very
simple process as
insects are naturally
repelled by
caffeine.
kept in an opaque vacuum seal container; as an extra precaution, they
can reside in the freezer. The key point is to use them quickly. After all, the same process that
exposes coffee essences to water will expose them to air. Ground beans go stale much more
quickly than whole ones. If a customer is particular about freshness, encourage them to invest in a
grinder and purchase small amounts of whole beans. If someone does not understand that the
flavour of tomorrow’s cup will be different from the flavour of a cup two month’s from now, you
may receive an angry visit in a few weeks time.
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Espresso
As you learned in Chapter 1, the term “espresso” means “quick” another interpretation is “under
pressure” and refers to a process for extracting coffee. This is absolutely essential knowledge for a
barista. Espresso is not a particular varietal, roast, or blend…though experts have developed both
blends and roasts that work especially well for the method. It is a process that uses high pressure to
move hot water quickly through coffee grounds, producing a concentrated liquid in 30 – 45 ml
doses. This can be served “straight” (undiluted) as a distinctive coffee with a pungent aroma and
bittersweet character. Alternately, it can be mixed with milk or other substances into a variety of
beverages.
Espresso machines range from the deceptively simple to the startlingly complex. All share three
basic components: a basket for coffee grounds, a reservoir for hot water, and a pressure engine.
The actual anatomy of different machine types can vary, however.
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 Manual Lever/Piston Pump – These models rely on
human effort to provide the force that moves the
water; the earliest espresso makers had a manual
pump. Most of these do not have a built-in heating
element; the water must be boiled separately and
then introduced into the reservoir. The operator
presses on an exterior pump handle, which drives
the water through the basket of grounds and into a
waiting cup below. These require considerable skill
to pull a quality shot; The water temperature,
pressure, and timing must be monitored directly by
the operator for the whole procedure.
Operated
well these machines produce exceptional coffee
extractions.
These machines are appearing more
frequently in new boutique cafes.
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 Pumpless Electric – tiny countertop models with a simple electric coil. As water turns to steam,
it passes through a basket of grounds. It then condenses and drips into the carafe below.
Some have little steam wands for texturing milk. As pumpless electric models are much more
affordable than other semi-automatic espresso makers, they are frequently purchased for
home use. But they lack “oomph” and are not very reliable. Most end up collecting dust in
cabinets or shunted off to garage sales after a couple of months use.
 Machinetta Stovetop Pot – also called Moka pots, they look rather like
their evil cousins, the stovetop percolators, and the physical principle
is a bit similar to that of a pumpless electric. The metal pot has three
sections, and is shaped like an hourglass. Water goes in the reservoir
in the bottom section. The grounds get packed into a screened
compartment in the middle. As the water boils, steam moves through
the grounds, condenses in a little pipe, and drips into another
reservoir on the top. this may be the most reliable way to make espresso at home. But
cappuccino enthusiasts will have to find a separate means for texturing their milk.
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 Semi-automatic Pump – a number of older commercial models fit this description, as do many
of the better home models. Water is either poured into the reservoir by an operator, or fed in
through a connected hose. It passes through a heating chamber with adjustable
temperature settings, and exits before it reaches the boiling point. An electric pump then
forces the water through a removable porta-filter—a long-handled metal basket for grounds.
An operator fills this porta-filter with grounds and packs them down tight, a process called
“tamping”. He or she then connects the filter to the machine. The shot filters through the
grounds and into a waiting cup below, while the operator monitors the timing and
temperature. Most semi-automatic machines can pour two shots in one extraction, and have
an attached steam wand for texturing milk. This accesses the same reservoir as the espresso
extraction apparatus, but superheats the water and converts it to steam.
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 Automatic/Super Automatic Pump – these are the latest evolution of the commercial
pump….same principles and mechanics, but loads more functionality. Many have built in
grinders that measure out single or double shot portions of grounds from a hopper of whole
beans. The machine fills and tamps the porta-filter, and an operator attaches it to the
extraction apparatus, then presses a button to start the process. The machine automatically
measures the temperature, times the shot, and releases the water. When the pour is
complete the operator cleans the porta-filter and sets up for the next round. These typically
have attached steam wands; some will automatically heat and texture a carafe of milk with
very little human participation. A number of these have built-in water filters, eliminating the
need for the water to be purified before it enters the machine.
Large, automatic commercial models make the best and most consistent shots (when used by a
competent barista). Rarely do homemade espresso drinks taste as fresh and flavourful as the ones
made in a café where the beans are fresh ground, the water pressure and temperature are
precisely controlled, and the preparation handled by properly trained personnel.
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If you or your customers do wish to use a home espresso maker, a machinetta or good quality
semi-automatic machine will be the safest bet. To get the highest-quality shot possible, always
follow these guidelines:
1. Grind the beans right before you make the shot, and only grind enough for the current shot.
2. Tamp the grounds down evenly with appropriate pressure.
3. Use filtered water.
4. Time the process. Be watchful.
5. Pour and serve the shot as soon as the process ends.
I believe humans get a lot done, not because we're smart, but because we have thumbs so we can make coffee.
~Flash Rosenberg
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A Word about Cleaning Non Commercial Equipment
No matter what brewing method you and your customers use, it is absolutely imperative to keep
your equipment clean. Any glass components (such as a beaker or carafe) should be washed with
hot water and soap after each use. If you get scale or build-up over time, you can soak the
container in a vinegar and water mixture, or buy a de-scaler such as Cafetto. Fixed metal parts,
like a steam wand or group head, should be scrubbed with a brush, then wiped down with a clean
cloth soaked with hot water. Removable metal parts, such as the porta-filter, should be cleared of
spent grounds and immersed in hot water after each use. Some people use soap to clean
removable metal parts; others do not, for fear of a build-up of residue overtime. If you feel
compelled to disinfect your metal components—with soap, vinegar, or any other product—be sure
to rinse them thoroughly when you are done.
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5. The Perfect Shot – How to “Pull Espresso”
Nothing’ll make a father swear before the children quicker than a cup of poor coffee.
~ K. Hubbard
The perfect espresso is a combination of several elements:
 high quality coffee beans,
 clean, filtered water,
 a spotless and sanitised porta-filter,
 correct coffee dosage,
 correct grind consistency,
 firm tamping of ground coffee,
 correct extraction rate,
 keeping your equipment clean and in good working order.
Monitor all of these elements carefully and use the following procedures, and you should be able
to produce a perfectly drinkable espresso no matter what equipment you use.
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Basic Steps to a Perfect Shot
There are five basic steps in pulling an espresso shot: Grinding, Tamping, Setting, Pouring and
Serving. Here is the process for completing each one successfully:
1. Grinding
The grind controls the quality of the shot. The amount of ground
coffee that is dispensed from your grinder is vital to achieving the
perfect extraction. It is important to understand and master the
grinder in order to achieve optimum espresso extraction; if your
grinder is not set properly you will struggle to achieve a quality
coffee. If the grind is too fine the water will have a hard time pushing
through and will over-extract the espresso, giving a burnt and bitter
flavour. If the grind is too coarse the water will find loose channels
and run straight through leaving all the flavour of the coffee behind.
Remember that an espresso grind should be relatively fine, with the
consistency of sugar, but not powdery.
As roasted beans are
dehydrated, depending on atmospheric pressure and humidity beans can expand and contract
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and this affects the way they are ground. It is for this reason as a barista you may need to adjust
your grinder many times a day. How exposed your bean hopper is to the outside environment will
have a direct bearing on how often and dramatically you will need to adjust your grinder.
If you need to adjust the grinder, always move the dial one notch at
a time while grinding a dose. Failing to do so can cause the blades
to jam and your adjustments will be ineffective. Once you have
made an adjustment empty the chambers to grind a new dose and
re-test your extraction time. A good commercial grinder will allow
you to adjust the dose of coffee as well as the consistency. Set the
dose carefully, so that the proper amount of grounds will be
dispensed. Too much coffee can lead to over extraction and too
little coffee will lead to under extraction. The perfect amount of
ground coffee is when the filter basket is full to the brim before it is
tamped, but not overflowing. After levelling your coffee grounds, you should be able to run a
finger or spatula over the top of the porta-filter lip without knocking loose any grounds of coffee.
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2. Tamping
Tamping refers to compacting ground coffee in a tight, even layer in
the porta-filter. This must be done before setting the porta-filter into
the group heads of the machine for brewing. Proper (or improper)
tamping has a direct effect on the quality of the espresso. A firm,
tight layer of coffee will force the water to flow evenly through the
grounds. This is necessary to extract the best of the coffee's flavours.
Tamping is necessary because water enters the porta-filter with great
pressure. It will behave much the same way a stream of water does
when moving through dirt. It pushes loose particles out of the way
and creates channels. Water will moves faster through any weak
areas, causing under extraction within the channels, and over extraction around them. Your
resulting cup of espresso will be bitter and acidic. All of the good stuff will be left behind in the
porta-filter. Firm and even tamping guarantees that water will flow uniformly through the grounds. It
is up to the barista to guarantee the quality of each espresso, by adjusting the grind correctly,
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monitoring the machine for proper function, and tamping the coffee well. Here is a step-by-step
guide:
Step 1: Use a flat-faced hand tamper and a flat surface, preferably a countertop. Find
something that is low enough for you to lean into the tamper with your body weight. Keep
your arm straight. The tamper should be held in your relaxed hand as an extension of the arm.
Always apply the tamper face straight into the coffee using a 90° angle, because any
canting will result in an area where the coffee is thinner.
Step 2: Tamp with firm even pressure. This evenly
compacts all of the coffee giving the water a uniform
bed to percolate through. The appropriate force is
about 30 pounds/15 kilos.
Use a small scale if you
want to practice precision. A specialty tamper like an
Espro tamper will “click” when the job is done.
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Step 3: Gently tap the side of the porta-filter with the
back of the tamper, so any loose grains on the edge
will fall into the filter basket. Use a light touch, or you will
create channelling in the grounds. Avoid tapping the
lugs of the porta-filter. If you dent them, they will no
longer fit into the group heads.
Step 4: Tamp once more with the same pressure, then
twist the tamper. This smooths the surface of the
compacted coffee.
Step 5: Examine the tamped coffee in the filter. If the surface is uneven—if one side is
shallow—you will have to clear the porta-filter and start again. If the grounds are even and
smooth, then you can mount the porta-filter handle into the group head and move on to
brewing your espresso.
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Step 6: When you remove the porta-filter from the group head,
examine the spent grounds. First, look for any channels or
threads in the surface. Then, turn the filter over and knock
them out. A properly tamped dose will look flat and smooth,
like a hockey puck or chocolate biscuit.
The diagrams show a modified group handle and how channelling
affects your extraction. The first diagram shows burnt coffee only
coming down from one small area due to channelling, the second
diagram shows a nice even extraction collecting flavour from the
whole basket of coffee.
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3. Setting
The porta-filter must be properly set into the machine’s group heads. Grasp the handle firmly, and
point it toward your torso. The metal basket should face the machine, with one lug on each side of
your hand. Then turn your wrist slightly, angling the whole porta-filter to your left about 45°. Press the
basket up into the group head, and twist gently but firmly to the right to lock the porta-filter in
place. Avoid using too much torque. No need to go Incredible Hulk on it, but do use a steady
hand and a strong grip. The handle should now be pointed toward your torso again. Test it to make
sure that everything is carefully anchored; if the handle jiggles, remove the porta-filter and try
again.
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4. Pour
Once the porta-filter is locked in place, you can press a
button on the face of the machine to start extraction. If your
tamping, dosage, and grind are correct, you should have
optimum extraction, which will release the maximum amount
of flavour from the grounds. In a perfect shot, you will observe
the following:
 Coffee flows 5-7 seconds after starting the brewing cycle
 The coffee flows in a thin, syrupy stream, like honey
 The extraction time takes 25-30 seconds
 The coffee’s colour is dark brown with red flecks
 The crema is golden-brown and has a fine-mousse texture that is 3-5mm thick.
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Many modern commercial machines have automated (some would say idiot-proofed) this
process, but you should still keep a watchful eye as things progress. While the brew cycle will take
25-30 seconds to complete, you should be able to tell after 15 seconds how any given shot will turn
out.
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Watch how long it takes the water to run through the grounds. Examine the colour and thickness of
the liquid. Look at the amount of fluid in the receptacle. If anything does not match the first shot
described above, you have a problem. 30ml in between 25 – 30 seconds is ideally what you are
looking for in a satisfactory shot of coffee. Extraction times may vary slightly to suit different blends.
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Troubleshooting Your Shots
Under Extraction
Under extraction occurs when the water has too little even contact with the grounds. Symptoms of
an under-extracted coffee:
 Liquid flows 1-4 seconds after the cycle starts
 The coffee flows fast, with weak colour and consistency
 The extraction rate is under 25 seconds
 The crema is pale and watery
 The flavour is weak and astringent
Common causes of under extraction include: a grind that is too coarse, an undersized dose of
grounds, tamping the coffee too lightly or a combination of all.
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Over Extraction
Over extraction occurs when the water has too much or uneven contact with the coffee grind.
Symptoms of an over-extracted coffee:
 Liquid flows more than 7 seconds after the start of brewing, or not at all
 The coffee drips into the cup as a thick, syrupy liquid
 The extraction rate is over 30 seconds
 The crema looks dark and stiff
 The flavour tastes burnt and very bitter
Common causes of over extraction include: a grind that is too fine, dosages that are too big, or
tamping the coffee too hard or unevenly or a combination of all.
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6. Textured Milk
Many of the recipes above require heated, textured milk.
Texturing milk involves using steam to heat and alter its
consistency. The result is a silky, airy, smooth liquid with a slightly
sweet character. Textured milk will disperse and absorb the
flavour of the crema, sweeten and mellow a bitter character,
and create a velvety mouth feel.
Textured milk is also the basic building block for latte art, the
pattern on the top of a fresh cup that transforms it from a drink
to an experience. Customers identify a truly skilled barista by
their virtuosity at latte art as well as their ability to pour a proper
coffee.
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Properly textured milk requires several elements:
 fresh milk
 a small jug, filled to half capacity
 a clean steam wand
Always start with a fresh jug of milk, and discard any liquid that
is left at the end of the pour. Re-heated milk becomes
discoloured and stiff. It gains a burnt, sour taste.
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How to Texture Milk
1. Begin with very cold milk. This will allow you to steam it as long as necessary. It is best to keep
your milk in a refrigerator set just above freezing until you are ready to use it.
2. Choose a jug just large enough for one or two pours. Fill it half way with milk. Anchor a
thermometer firmly in the interior. Be careful! Some thermometers read 5-10 ºC behind the liquid
temperature. This means that you may have to turn the milk off at 55- 60ºC.
3. Make sure your steam wand is clean on the outside. Turn it quickly on and off to purge the
interior of any milk remnants. This will stop your wand blowing water and big bubbles into your milk
when you commence.
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4. Immerse the steam wand to the bottom of
the milk jug. Turn the steam on, and slowly
raise the wand so that it is a few centimetres
below the surface of the milk. As air is
introduced, milk will expand and rise.
5. When the milk begins to rise toward the top of the jug, lower the jug so that the wand rests just
over 1 cm from the surface. If the wand breaks the surface, the milk will over-stretch and bubbles
(like soap bubbles) will form. This should not be allowed to happen. The key is to get smooth velvety
milk with only a small amount of foam on top. When poured, the milk should flow into and mix with
the crema of the espresso.
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6. Watch the thermometer carefully. When the
milk reaches 40 ºC, move the steam wand to the
side of the jug and immerse it to the bottom.
7. Begin rolling milk in the jug slowly but steadily,
and continue until the milk reaches 60-65 ºC. Stop
before the temperature increases further; oversteaming limits the sweetness of the milk. If you did
not stretch (aerate) the milk too long, you will hear
a jet engine like sound while the tip is submerged.
That
of
course
occurs
before
boiling
and
overflowing.
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8. After stopping the steam carefully remove from milk and
clean with wet cloth. Remove thermometer from milk. Flush
the steam arm again, and wipe it off. If you forget to do this
after each use, getting the burnt milk residue off at the end
of the day will be a headache.
9. If possible, pour the milk straight into the espresso as soon
as it is steamed. If you must let the milk sit for a moment, the
froth and milk will separate. Then you must swirl the jug by
hand so that it mixes again. Also if any bubbles are visible
pound the jug on the counter several times. Swirl after
Did You Know?
Some
customers will want their
beverage
“extra
hot.”
Optimum
sweetness and flavour happens at
60-65 ºC, which is very warm, but not
hot. You can alert the customer to this,
but if they want a higher temperature,
don’t argue. It may be they have to
carry that coffee for some time, and
don’t want it to cool before it reaches its
destination. Keep them happy; give
them what they want, even if it alters the
character of the drink.
pounding.
10. If any milk is left in the jug, discard it.
You can’t take the milk back from the coffee.
~Jamaican Proverb
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Latte Art
Textured milk can be used to create beautiful artwork on the top of the beverage; this process is
called “latte art.” Latte art is a fantastic marketing tool. Customers will remember a business that
serves a beautiful cappuccino presented with flair. Baristas must master proper milk steaming
techniques in order to create patterns, so it is also a means of perfecting drink-making skills.
Additionally, skilful pouring makes the job more fun, interesting, and challenging.
Once you have mastered the art of extracting the perfect espresso and texturing the milk you can
start to practice latte art. Let’s begin with basic preparation for latte art.
Given that the canvas that we work on for latte art is the crema it is very important that your coffee
is extracted perfectly with fresh beans.
When preparing our milk we aim to get 10- 20% micro-foam in relation to milk in our jugs. If we
have too much foam it is far too difficult to control the flow and too little foam will not allow us to
create our designs.
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Always use small to medium sized milk jugs, and I would suggest only filling the jugs half way with
cold milk. After stretching the milk you may notice that you have more milk than is required to pour
one to two cups of coffee. For optimal control of the pour allowing us to tilt the jug as much as
possible and control the flow, we ideally want to start the artwork with the jug half full.
(The jug is always half full )
When pouring coffee into the cup, tilt the cup towards the jug so the spout of the jug is as close to
the coffee as possible. We want to avoid pouring from heights and forcing the foam to the
bottom of the coffee cup which is the opposite of what’s required for latte art.
Be careful to pour steadily without any sudden movements. Do not pour too fast, this will interrupt
the beautiful crema and potentially create clouds in our canvas while losing foam from your jug
which you need for your artwork. Pouring too slow will cause the crema to set and will be stiff once
you attempt latte art.
Here are a couple of popular designs:
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The Heart
1. Make sure the milk is silky by rotating the jug before you pour.
2. Keep the cup tilted slightly as you pour, and aim the stream of milk at the centre of the cup.
3. When you reach about half of the cup capacity, begin to lightly shake the jug as you pour. A
ball of textured milk will begin to form.
4. As the cup reaches full capacity push the milk stream up the middle of the cup to form a
heart.
5. The same result can be achieved in a cappuccino by dusting the espresso with chocolate
before pouring the milk.
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The Rosetta
A rosetta pattern begins like a heart pattern.
1. Make sure the milk is silky by rotating the jug before you pour.
2. Keep the cup tilted slightly as you pour, and aim the stream of milk at the centre of the cup.
3. When you reach about half of the cup capacity, begin to lightly shake the jug as you pour. A
ball of textured milk will begin to form.
4. As you near the top of the cup, shake the jug from side to side. Move it from one side of the
cup to the other.
5. As the cup reaches full capacity push the milk back up the middle of the cup to form a
rosetta.
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Once you master these basic patterns, you can get creative. There no limits to the pictures and
patterns to decorate your coffee, if you use a bit of imagination. So practice this technique
regularly and have fun making your own designs.
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7. Espresso 101 – The Coffee Menu
The voodoo priest and all his powders were as nothing compared to espresso, cappuccino, and mocha, which are
stronger than all the religions of the world combined, and perhaps stronger than the human soul itself.
~Mark Helprin
The iconic solo espresso, rich and pungent in its delicate cup, has a legion of zealous enthusiasts.
But it isn’t for everyone. The oily, bittersweet sting of straight espresso is simply too much for many
palates. In response, dozens of recipes have been developed to temper the coffee’s more
extreme qualities while maintaining its most pleasurable characteristics. Some of the most common
drinks include:
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Espresso or Short Black
Did You Know?
‘Expresso’ is in fact not a
word. The correct term is
‘Espresso’ interpretations
suggest it comes from the
latin for ‘press’ or ‘under
pressure’. In certain high
brow coffee houses you
may be politely ignored
when ordering an
‘expresso’.
Cup size: 60ml glass
25 – 30ml of freshly extracted coffee
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Ristretto & Doppio
Did You Know?
Ristretto
Cup size: 60ml cup
A normal shot is 30ml so pull the cup away 5-10ml before extraction stops.
The ristretto is
popular as it
provides a smoother
taste. The shorter
extraction disallows
the more bitter
characteristics often
extracted from the
shell of the bean at
the end of the
extraction.
Doppio
Cup size: 60ml cup
40-45 ml extracted coffee in 25 seconds. Conventionally served with a glass of water
.
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Long Black, Café Lungo or Café Americano
Cup size: 160-180ml
150ml of hot water with two shots of espresso extracted over the top. Be careful not to add water
to the top of coffee as you want to show off that beautiful undisturbed crema on top.
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Flat White
Did You Know?
Although popular in
Australia, this coffee
is near unheard of
overseas. You may
need to request a
café latte as a close
substitute when
abroad.
Cup size: 160 - 180 ml
1 shot of espresso, textured milk with minimal foam
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Cappuccino
Did You Know?
The word ‘cappuccino’
is derived from the
long, brown pointed
cowl or cappuccio
worn by the catholic
monks of the Capuchin
order.
Cup size: 160 - 180 ml
1 shot of espresso, textured milk, with smooth dome of foam dusted with chocolate powder.
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Café Latte
Glass size: 220 ml
1 shot of espresso, textured milk, with 10ml collar of foam level with top of glass.
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Piccollo latte
Glass size: 90ml
1 shot of espresso, textured milk and 5ml collar of foam, served in a short glass
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Short Macchiato
Did You Know?
The name macchiato is
derived from the Italian
for ‘stained’ or ‘marked’
in this instance it is an
espresso marked with a
dash of textured milk.
Cup size: 90 mls
1 shot of espresso, topped with a dash of textured foam.
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Long Macchiato or Macchiato Lungo
Glass size: 220ml
40ml of hot water, 2 shots of espresso and 5mls of textured foam
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Espresso con Panna
Cup size: 90ml glass
A single shot of espresso, topped with whipped cream.
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Mugaccino
Glass size: 250 ml
1 shot of espresso, textured milk and milk foam, dusted with chocolate powder and served in a tall
mug.
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Vienna Coffee
Did You Know?
The Viennese are reputed for
being the first to add milk to
coffee, the conclusion may be
drawn that the Vienna coffee has
drawn its name from the origins of
creamed milk being added to
coffee by them so many years
ago.
Glass size: 290ml
Can be served white or black. A white Vienna coffee is a latte with cream on top and a black is a
long black served in a glass with cream on top.
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Mocha
Glass size: 290ml
1 shot of espresso, 15ml of chocolate syrup or powder, topped with textured milk and garnished
with chocolate powder.
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Hot Chocolate
Glass size: 290ml
15ml of chocolate syrup or powder, topped with textured milk and milk foam, and finished with
chocolate powder.
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Flavoured Coffee
Pour 25 ml of flavoured syrup in glass or cup, then add other ingredients as normal.
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Iced Coffee
Glass size: 340 ml
Pour 25 -30 ml of espresso in a tall glass or cup, milk and either a scoop of ice cream or crushed ice.
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Iced Espresso or Icepresso
Cup size: 90ml glass
25-30ml of espresso. 25 ml of flavoured syrup in glass. Fill with crushed ice.
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Affogato
Glass size: 220 & 60ml
One shot of espresso poured over a scoop of ice cream. Served in separate glasses so the
customer can pour the coffee themselves.
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Babyccino
Glass size: 60ml
5-10ml of chocolate syrup with warm (not hot!) textured milk, and accompanying marshmallows .
Making this with a full cup of foam and no liquid milk for younger children is often wise.
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8. Machine Housekeeping
I can’t stress enough how important it is that your equipment and work
areas remain clean at all times. The ramifications of dirty equipment
impact dramatically on the final product and can leave coffee tasting
rancid. Customers viewing your work area will link their judgment of
your work area to the taste of your coffee. In this chapter we will look at
cleaning our machine, grinder and work area. As a suggestion the
order of items to clean below should be the order in which you clean
your machine at the end of the day.
Did You Know?
Always be careful
when cleaning your
coffee machine and
be aware that you
are usually working
with hot components
and hot water.
Steam Wands
As steam wands are generally always hot it does not take a long time for milk to dry and burn onto
the wand and burnt milk can be very difficult to remove especially if it has been cooking on the
wand for the whole day.
For this reason it is absolutely imperative to ‘purge’ your steam wands after each and every coffee
made. It is best practice that immediately after removing a jug of milk you use a dedicated damp
cloth of differing colour to the one you might use on your bench to wipe the steam wand and tip.
You should then point your tip at the drip tray and quickly turn on the steam and turn it off.
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This will expel any milk still in the wand and disallow any buildup of
milk on the inside of your wand that my result in blockages or
tainting of flavour.
If you always purge your wands after heating milk it will stop your
wand tips from ever blocking. In the instance that you do get a
blockage in your steam wand tips one of the easiest ways to
unblock it is to use a paperclip through the steam holes. For more
stubborn blockages consider removing and soaking your wand tips
overnight in a detergent, then using a paperclip to unblock the
steam holes the next morning.
Did You Know?
Do not ever use stainless
scourers, steel wool, knives
or other such instruments to
scratch off burnt milk on
your steam wand. As most
wands are plated in
chrome,
this
kind
of
abrasion will remove the
chrome plating.
It is also common for me to see baristas soaking their steam wands
in hot water or detergent overnight. This can result in milk or
cleaning chemical being sucked back into the boiler due to atmospheric pressure changes
overnight. The outcome of this occurring is a very expensive service fee to repair a damaged
boiler or the contaminant remaining in the boiler tainting every coffee made thereafter.
The correct way to clean a buildup of burnt milk on your steam wand is to wrap the wand in a wet
cloth and have it soften the build up before wiping it off.
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Rinsing Shower Screen and Cleaning Filter Baskets After Every Coffee Made
Once coffee has been extracted of all of its oils and flavour, it can
leave an astringent taste if residue and old grind is left on the
showerhead or in the portafilter.
I insist on all baristas in my cafes, before or after preparing a coffee,
removing the group handle from the machine and running water
through the shower screen by pressing a single shot button to remove
any spent grind from the shower screen. Then knocking out the spent
coffee cake from the group handle and dry wiping the empty basket
to remove any oil or spent grind before filling the basket for another
coffee. If needed remove the basket from your group handle and
clean the underside of the basket and inside of the group handle
using warm water and a sponge.
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Did You Know?
Always remember to
season your machine
after a clean by running
a single shot to bring the
group handle back up to
temperature and also to
remove any potential
impurities in the first
coffee served after a
clean.
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Back flushing your machine
Attention!
Back flushing is the act of forcing water back up the group head by
blocking the group head with a blind porta filter which has no holes. Careful to avoid hot
The water then bounces back from the blind filter through the piping water running down the
and out of a 3 way connector which cleans the tubing and group group handle. This can
head. Perform back flushing during the day and at the end of the day result in scalding your
on our final clean.
hand which will most
To begin back flushing we must first remove the group handle from the likely occur if you are
head that we will be cleaning and the basket that are in it. Replace angling
the
handle
the basket with a blind filter. Use a brush to manually brush off any downwards.
build up of coffee grind before flushing the group head, this will clear
away any grind dislodged. Place the group handle onto the machine
loosely and run a shot of water through the head to activate the
pump. As you do this jiggle and move the group handle left and right to clean the rubber seals on
the group head and again dislodge any spent coffee grind.
Empty any residue from the blind filter and if using chemical add chemical to the blind filter as per
chemical manufacturer’s recommendations (usually less than a teaspoon).
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Chemical back flushing during the day has been proven to produce better coffee. I would
recommend you chemically back flush no more than twice a day if at all. Most cafes will back
flush during the day without chemical and use the chemical at the end of the day.
Remember to always season your group heads after chemical treatments to ensure the integrity of
your next coffee.
To back flush lock the group handle with chemical sitting in the blind filter; onto the group head as
you would if it was loaded with coffee. Manually activate the water
pump for that group head for anywhere between 5-10 seconds.
Attention!
Repeat this for another 5 times.
Securing screws should
Once done remove the group handle and the blind filter from it.
If you are to continue making coffee, season your group head be examined for rust or
before serving your next coffee from that head. If it is the end of day corrosion as it is not
clean your group handle and replace it on the machine and repeat uncommon for these
screws to snap over time
on the other heads.
and remain lodged in
the screw hole, resulting
in
a
costly
screw
extraction service.
downwards.
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Cleaning the shower screens
Continuous build up of coffee oils on your shower screen can begin to taint the flavor of your
coffee. It is advisable that periodically you remove your shower screen cleaning it and behind it.
Depending on your manufacturers instruction you may find it is necessary to remove the shower
screen from the roof of the group head. This is normally held in place by a single screw located in
the centre or on some models the screen is held by the group seal.
Unscrewing a screw is a simple process to remove the screen although removing the seals to
remove the screen is a little more involved so again please ensure you consult your manual in all
instances.
Once you’ve removed your screen you can brush any built up coffee from it with a hard bristled
brush or a soft steel wool. Espresso cleaner may also assist if you deem it necessary to soak the
shower screen before cleaning. Cleaning the group head behind the shower screen may also be
required and this should only ever be done with a damp cloth or soft brush.
Once the screen has been cleaned; screw or refit the screen into position and remember to
season that group head prior to serving coffee from it.
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Cleaning your group handles and filter baskets
Regardless of regular cleaning of the inside of the filter basket through the day, built up coffee oils
and residue under the filter basket can build up quickly and foul your coffee, I have even seen in
extreme cases the blockage of the the drainage hole that runs to the coffee spouts on the group
handle. Daily the filter basket should be removed and cleaned with the group handles. This
normally happens at the end of the day. An easy way to remove the filter basket from your group
handle is to carefully prize it up using a teaspoon.
Cleaning your filter basket is normally quite straight forward and only
Attention!
requires a soak and wipe to bring them back to the shiny standard.
Never put group handles
The group handles will actually require a bit of elbow grease. I suggest
in the dishwasher, as they
soaking filter baskets and group handles (only up to the handles, never
may be damaged by
soak the handle itself) in a coffee detergent for 10 to 15 minutes prior
the temperature and
to removing them and using a soft steel wool. Do not mistake steel
chemicals used in the
wool for stainless steel scourers. A quick scrub on the inside of the
dishwasher.
group handle should make it shine again, and the nightly soaking
should avoid any buildup in the coffee spouts. Rinse group handle and
filter basket to remove any detergent. Place filter basket back into
group handle and lock onto machine. Run hot water through the group handle to purge any
residue.
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Drip Tray and Drainage
Remove the drip tray at the end of each trading day being extra careful not to cut yourself on the
sharp edges. I’ve seen many makes and models and almost all of them have sharp edges. Rinse
the tray down with warm soapy water and dry before replacing on the machine.
Cup Warmer
It is important to wipe down your cup warmer daily as dusty cup warmers leave a black lip on
clean coffee cups, which is certainly not something we want to pass over to our customers. Use a
damp cloth to wipe down. Always be careful not to have water drip into the cup warmer from
washed crockery or saturated cleaning cloths.
Counter and workbenches
Dusting cappuccinos is probably the single most counter soiling activity a barista can undertake in.
Dust carefully or sparingly and your work area will look much cleaner in no time. If this is just out of
the question ensure that you wipe down your counter after every other coffee with a colour coded
cloth specifically designated to the counter or bench top. A working barista draws much attention
and you should always be aware that your customers are also judging you by the cleanliness of
your work area.
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Knock Box
When ensuring your work area looks clean and sanitary, don’t forget your knock box. It doesn’t
take long for splash marks and grind to appear on the outside of your knock box, giving the
impression of an unsanitary environment. The knock box should be wiped down as often as you
wipe down your work benches.
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9. Barista Employment
It is inhumane, in my opinion, to force people who have a genuine medical need for coffee to wait in line behind
people who apparently view it as some kind of recreational activity. I bet this kind of thing does not happen to
heroin addicts. I bet that when serious heroin addicts go to purchase their heroin, they do not tolerate waiting in
line while some dilettante in front of them orders a hazelnut smack-a-cino with cinnamon sprinkles.
~Dave Barry
The Job You Want
If you have decided to join me on this journey, it is likely because
you want to work with coffee, and with the people who love it. Ask
yourself, are you hoping to work part time, or full time? Do you
picture yourself in a high-end place, a more relaxed and off-beat
environment? Or perhaps even owning your own café one day?
You should set your intentions now, so that you can work toward a
Did You Know?
The term ‘tip’ stands for
‘To Insure Promptness’
and is a throwback to
old London coffee
houses who would place
a box on their counters
inscribed with ‘To Insure
Promptness’.
concrete goal.
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But before you hit the sidewalk looking for espresso-related employment, you must understand that
not all coffee jobs are alike. You might end up in a specialty café, in a place that exists to keep the
cubicle drones in the office buildings supplied with caffeine, or in a more relaxed, neighbourhood
setting. You might not end up in a coffee bar at all, but in some other branch of the hospitality
industry where these skills are useful.
You need to walk in to each potential workplace with your eyes open. You might be a dreadlocks
and tattoos kind of person, but if staff members are wearing black pants, white shirt, and tie, you
must be willing to do the same. Can you fit in with the image the employer wants to maintain?
Perhaps you will be fortunate, and find an opening at a café that suits your own personality and
style. But, since jobs in this industry are often in short supply, you have to decide if you are willing to
take whatever becomes available.
You also need to be certain that the barista profession will suit you—that the position suits your
personality, work ethic, and career goals. It is best to do this before you begin the difficult process
of training, searching, applying, and interviewing for a job. If you are unfamiliar or unsure what the
job entails, I suggest going to a busy coffee house and sitting there during its peak traffic time.
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Watch the pace, what the employees do, and how they interact with customers. Things can get
hectic, so a barista needs to pay attention to detail. And people get cranky when they haven’t
had their coffee fix, so a barista must be diplomatic, too.
The Employee They Want
Pay attention to what the employer says they want. If the job advertisement includes the word
“qualified” or “experienced,” the employer means it. They want someone who is ready to step into
the job without a long training period. They won’t thank you if you walk into an interview and
reveal that you have neither the qualifications nor experience they’ve advertised for. Don’t waste
their time or yours.
If you are under-qualified for the work you want, consider training at a vocational institution or a
private hospitality organization.
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A Lesson from Adam
If formal classes are not an option for you, there may be another way to get your foot in the door.
Start with another position at the same company, something entry-level. If you want to be a
barista, for example, you might start with a job serving/delivering coffee or clearing tables and
washing dishes. Not glamorous, but it will give you an opportunity to make a favourable impression
on your boss and to ask for the training you want.
Consider the lesson of Adam, a former employee of mine. He came to our café with no
experience in coffee, and while he was still struggling to master English. I was impressed by his drive
and gave him an entry-level position at one of my cafés. And I noticed that from the start, Adam
put 110% effort into his work.
After a couple of months, he asked me, “Is there any chance I can get some experience as a
barista?” I was busy and preoccupied, and made some vague, non-committal reply. After another
month, Adam approached me again.
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He said, “I’m really interested in gaining some experience as a barista. I’d be willing to offer you an
hour of my time at the end of each shift in order to get the training I need to make you feel
comfortable hiring me as a barista.” As an employer, that is a very difficult proposition to turn
down. We love to see dedication, ambition, and drive, and that’s exactly what Adam showed me.
I agreed, and for the next two months at the end of his shift, I granted him an extra hour to
undertake his barista training. It was valuable for both of us. For Adam, this was an affordable
alternative to paying for a training program. What he learned was industry based and extremely
specific to his current employment. He worked as hard as ever, and he mastered the skills quickly.
And it saved me headache too—he got his big opportunity when another staff member got sick. I
turned to Adam and asked, “You feel up to it?” He said, “Absolutely, let me at it!”
Adam’s determination both surprised and impressed me. He deserves all the credit for his success.
He’s been a barista ever since and is probably one of the best employees at any of my cafés. All it
took was some hard work and determination on his part to get the job he wanted. After working
for us for some time, Adam eventually bought one of my small cafés.
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If you are hoping this model might work for you, proceed respectfully and with caution. Some
employers may not be able to accept a proposal like Adam’s for insurance reasons. Others may
not have the inclination. It is ok to be persistent, but if you make a pest of yourself you might end
up getting fired instead of promoted. And if you don’t shine in your current job, they won’t be
motivated enough to give you an opportunity to move up.
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Ready your Resume
A good resume is a combination of two things: it shows that you have the skills and training
everyone should have for the position, and it shows how you are different (and hopefully better)
than anyone else for the position. Most employers receive hundreds of resumes within a week of
publishing an advertisement or putting a sign in a store window. And most of them all look the
same. Yours should be:
 Professional, - neatly printed, properly aligned, spelled, and formatted
 Concise – explain things quickly and efficiently
 Memorable- showcase you as a potential employee.
Although you should have a general cover letter and resume template, you should make sure to
tailor it to the specific position and company you are applying to before you send it out. If your
resume is tailored for another industry, such as secretarial, make sure you change the focus to the
hospitality industry. If you don’t, an employer may think you are not well suited to the job. You
should also spell check your cover letter and resume. Better yet, have someone proofread it. This is
the first impression potential employers have of you. Make sure it isn’t plagued by misspellings or
improper grammar.
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Most employers look at a candidate’s work history before anything else. It is critical that this section
of your resume reads well. If you’ve jumped around from one job to another, rarely staying in the
same job for more than a year, you may have a hard time getting called for an interview. An
employer may think if you haven’t been happy in the last 10 cafés you’ve worked, why would you
be happy with them? Employers are interested in people who are looking for long-term
employment. So if your work experience is erratic, be ready with an explanation.
Employers are now using software to sort through the many resumes they receive electronically.
They can search titles or keywords listed in the resume; the software removes all resumes that do
not include the title or keywords of the job advertised. So be sure to include keywords relating to
the job you are applying for. If you are applying for a barista position, make sure the word barista
is used in the prior experience section and throughout the resume.
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Vocational training schools, universities, and employment agencies will all tell you that you must
stand out from the pack. You should aim to be noticed. Something as simple as using different
coloured paper for your resume or cover letter can help set you apart from the crowd...but keep it
appropriate. Nothing silly or rude. And bright colours won’t make up for poor qualifications. When
I’m wading through hundreds of resumes, I do take notice of ones that stand out, but only if the
qualifications and experience catch my eye. If your resume meets the standards I’ve set forth for
the position, I will make a mental note that the red, green, or blue resume you’ve submitted is one I
should keep. It won’t get lost on my desk with the other sixty resumes I’ve short-listed. It also won’t
fall off the desk or get accidentally thrown in the garbage with the other unsuccessful applicant
resumes. Why? Because it stands out amongst the pile of white paper. So don’t be afraid to make
your resume a little bit different.
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Memorable Examples
 Recently, I was advertising a barista position and I came across a clever candidate who
incorporated latte art on the front cover of his resume. He also included a slogan on his
resume that read: “Selection of coffees that I have personally prepared for my customers.”
This extra effort showed me that this particular candidate took pride in his work. It also showed
me that this potential employee was capable of producing work at a higher standard than
most. That was a simple way of grabbing my attention and getting a foot in the door.
 Another resume that stands out in my memory is one that read like an advertisement. For
what it’s worth, a resume should be an advertisement of you—as a person and potential
employee. It should advertise the skills you have to offer. This particular resume had “Thank
You” in large text and read like this: “Congratulations for stopping at the resume of someone
bubbly, intelligent, reliable and qualified for this job. I love and excel at customer service. My
name is Wendy Smith.” This was a refreshing change from the standard resume template I’ve
become so numb to reading. In fact, her strategy worked really well because I still remember
her and her resume.
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Although you should try everything you can to grab an employer’s attention, you should never lie
on your resume. You stand a better chance of getting hired for a job lacking experience than if
you lie to the employer and he or she realizes it. Once they label you a liar, your chances of getting
the job go out the window. Please, do not lie. Some employers (like myself) may test your
knowledge at the interview. I like to test a potential barista’s competency by asking the job
candidate to jump behind the coffee machine and make me a variety of coffee drinks. It is quickly
evident—within seconds I would say—if a candidate is not qualified for the position. Had this person
been honest and told me upfront that they lacked experience, I may have offered the opportunity
to train within my company if I saw other qualities that I liked in that person. Just remember that
starting off any relationship with a lie is a bad idea.
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If you make promises in your resume or cover letter, just make sure they are ones you can keep. If
you sell yourself as a hard worker in your resume, you better work hard once you are hired. If you
told the employer during the interview that you were a fast learner, make sure you don’t have to
be asked repeatedly to take on a task. If you sell yourself as punctual, you better make it to work
on time every single day, especially during a probationary period. A promise in your resume can
help you get the job. But a promise without follow-through can endanger your employment past
the probationary period.
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The Job Hunt—A Job in Itself
People go to great lengths to find a job because it is a difficult process. I recently heard about a
novel approach: a young woman messaged everyone on her mobile phone contact list. She
offered a reward—dinner at an exclusive restaurant—to anyone who could find her a full-time job.
This was a creative way of networking and exponentially increasing her chances of finding an
open position and a willing employer.
Even if you can’t come up with a similar technique, you need to approach job hunting with equal
dedication. If you are looking for a job, that should be your full-time job until you succeed. Many
people treat their job search very casually. This is the wrong way to go about it. You should put all
your effort into the search. Spend time every day applying for jobs via e-mail and the Internet, cold
calling companies, and visiting businesses to introduce yourself to the right people. This is what it
takes to find the right job for you.
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If you are looking for work as a barista or in another hospitality-related position, be open to the
entire industry. It will provide you with many more employment opportunities, especially if you are
flexible about the work you are willing to take.
 First, target the companies you would like to work for.
 Customize your cover letter and resume to the position and company you are applying to.
Tell the company why they would benefit from hiring you. Make it clear why you are a better
candidate than others.
 If you submit an application electronically, be sure you include all attachments and contact
details. Please be careful when preparing documents for a prospective employer. I suggest
constructing your e-mail backwards. Completing the body of your e-mail and attach your
resume first. Then input the recipient’s address. This way, you will avoid accidentally sending
an unfinished e-mail. Always make sure that if you’re copying and pasting from a template or
previous application that the company name is correct as well as the position you’re
applying for. Read over the e-mail before you click send.
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 Keep a spreadsheet of every application. In one column, note the name of the company.
Mark the name of your contact—the person you spoke or e-mailed your resume to—in the
next column. Also, note the date you sent your resume, the phone number of the company
and their Web site.
 Follow up on the job applications that you send out. A few days after sending in your resume,
you should follow up with a phone call. But before you do that, make sure you visit their
website and learn as much about the company as possible. This can feel awkward, so here’s
a good approach: “Hi. I sent in a resume __ days ago. I would like to see if I am the kind of
person that you would be interested in hiring because I would love to join your team. These
are the qualities I have to offer your company.” This is an important step in your job search.
You may be fortunate enough to strike up a rapport with a decision maker in the company. If
you have a contact within the company, you may get the first call when they set up
interviews or when another position opens up. It shows the company that you are passionate
about working for them.
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Use these techniques to get hired, create a name for yourself and then you can move on to the
company of your choice.
If you have your heart set on a particular job within a particular company, there are a few avenues
you can try:
 Put yourself in the position of the employer. If you are angling for a position that is not currently
available, realize that even if the employer likes you, he or she can’t hire you. Instead, focus
on finding an open position within that company. Show them why you are the best
candidate for the job, do amazing work, and you may get promoted to the job you wanted
all along. It worked for Adam!
 Establish a rapport with the person who is in charge of hiring new employees or the person
who heads the organization. To do this you will need to communicate with them face-toface, or at least on the telephone, so you can demonstrate that you are worth hiring.
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Information Age Pitfalls
This is the age of information sharing and social networking, and there are potential pitfalls that you
need to consider. First of all, take a look at your email address. Is it something that you would feel
comfortable saying out loud to a prospective employer? Some addresses may be funny and
perfectly acceptable to share with friends, but not suitable for a professional environment. If your
e-mail is something like
sexyplayboybunny@ABCGhostingcompany.com,
pimpdaddy456@Shearmail.com.xr,
or iluvweed@smokin.com.tr,
you could be jeopardizing your potential employment. When an employer sees e-mails like these
e-mails pop up in their inbox, they will most likely delete them without even reading your resume.
My suggestion is to save these e-mail addresses for socializing and open another account for
employers. Include your name in the e-mail address.
Social media accounts such as Facebook or Myspace may also cause job search-related
problems. I recently installed a computer program called Xobni that automatically fetches
information about prospective employees and presents it with their e-mail.
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It includes a profile picture collected from social media sites. If your profile pictures show binge
drinking, rude gestures, or other inappropriate poses, then you become exposed to pre-judgment.
A prospective employer might be deterred from offering you an interview.
Xobni also gives users the ability to surf the Facebook page of the person in question. This gives a
prospective employer insight into your character. The pictures you post and your news feed give
an employer a definite impression of who you are. I once viewed the Facebook page of a
prospective employee and was appalled by the things this candidate posted about his former
employer. Needless to say, I did not call this applicant for an interview. Be careful about what you
post on the Internet and the level of security you set on your profile on sites like Facebook.
Making Cold Calls
Finding work in the hospitality industry is often about being in the right place at the right time. Many
employers running cafés and restaurants are so busy that they often do not even realize when they
need to hire new staff. A seasonal variation or other unexpected change to the business occurs
and they find themselves understaffed and in dire need of new employees. If, at that very
moment, someone walked through the door, presenting well, with a resume in hand, and available
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to start immediately, they would get the job on the spot. That employer might never get around to
putting an advertisement in the newspaper. They might just hire a current employee’s friend or
flatmate.
In the hospitality industry, it does pay to make cold calls. Make sure you are dressed well and that
you visit every café and restaurant in the areas you want to work. Print out many copies of your
resume and carry it directly to the appropriate people at various cafés and restaurants. Don’t
simply drop it off with any employee, who may or may not remember to give it to the hiring
manager. Ask for the person responsible for hiring decisions. If you are responding to an ad, ask for
the person listed as the contact in the job posting. If there is no ad, ask for the manager, owner or
human resources representative.
If you are lucky enough to speak with a manager or HR representative, make sure to thank them
for their time. Understand that they are busy and show them that you appreciate their attention. At
the outset, ask if it is a convenient time for them to chat with you. If they are busy, ask to schedule
a time to meet.
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Always address the person formally, using “Mr.” or “Ms.”. Introduce yourself and explain that you
are looking for employment. Listen carefully, because many times employers will tell you exactly
what they are looking for in a potential employee. However, some applicants are so intent on
talking about themselves that they miss out on this important information. Take what they tell you
and give them examples that illustrate you are the person that meets all their needs. Answer any
questions honestly and courteously. In fact, be courteous to everyone you deal with. Don’t make
the mistake of being rude to a staff member when asking for the manager. That staff member’s
initial impression of you will get back to the manager. At the conclusion of your interview, thank the
person for his or her time and leave your contact information. Make sure that you are reachable
after the meeting. As an employer, I often have settled for the second best applicant because I
simply could not reach the preferred candidate.
A Memorable Example
I remember a young man who came in for an interview at one of my cafés. He did the smart thing
and arrived early. He ordered a coffee and took a seat at the back of the café until it was time for
his interview. He observed how the customers were being served, how the tables were being
cleared, and what people were eating and drinking. He was nervous during the interview, and it
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showed. It went well enough, but was not noteworthy. After we shook hands and said goodbye, I
headed for my office. But before I got there, I noticed he was walking to the counter with his
empty cup and saucer. He stopped and cleared a table and returned all the plates to the bin
scraping area before heading off. I thought to myself, “Wow!” I said nothing at the time, but the
following day I called and offered him the job. Without any need or obligation, this young man
displayed initiative, pride of place, and a capacity to learn quickly. This action, whether calculated
or not, secured him the job almost instantly.
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Searching the Newspaper
Newspapers can be a good way to find out who needs staff. The one problem, however, is that
everyone is applying for the same job as you. Same goes for Internet postings. To make the most of
your chances, find out the days that your local newspaper or web resource showcases new
employment classifieds. Is it the Thursday and Saturday editions? Whatever day it is, get the
newspaper on that day and scan the classifieds. Highlight any advertisements that catch your eye
and get your resume and cover letter to those employers immediately. If you wait until Monday, it
may be too late. Your resume may end up on the bottom of a huge pile, or the position may
already be filled.
Always read the advertisement carefully. Follow the directions for applying for the position. If they
request your resume by e-mail, send via e-mail. If they request it by fax, send by fax. If they want
the job code in the subject field of the e-mail, remember to copy it there. Following these
instructions is really the first test the employer is giving you. If you are unable to deliver what they
ask in the manner they asked for it, you are showing that employer that you don’t pay attention to
details. They will question whether or not you are able to comprehend simple tasks. Employers will
initially weed out those who do not strictly abide by their instructions.
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Nailing the Interview
I had a childhood friend who seemed to be offered every job he interviewed for. He never stayed
long at any job, but he would have multiple job offers to choose from at any given time. I once
asked him what his secret was. He replied, “I’ve had lots of practice. I know what people want to
hear, and I know how to present it.” He then smiled and admitted, “I’m still learning how to keep a
job, though.” Of course, I would never want my employees to switch jobs as often as my friend, but
there is still wisdom in his words.
If you want an interview to go well, you have to prepare for it. For coffee related businesses, there
are several steps you can take in advance:
 Research the company. Use the Internet. Talk to people that already work there.
 Visit the café, bar or restaurant and observe the service and products offered as well as the
clientele.
 Try to remain in good spirits. Job hunting can be hard and emotionally draining, but keep a
positive attitude. It will show when you walk in.
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 Think of previous work examples that will answer potential questions from the interviewer. For
example, they will likely ask how well you deal with high-pressure situations. You can cite a
previous example where you worked at a very busy café. Giving specific examples is a
fantastic way to answer questions and show the employer that you are credible and have
given much thought to the questions and the position.
When the interview day arrives, keep the following things in mind.
 Make sure you know where the interview is. You don’t want to get lost and end up late. So
the day before, jump in the car and drive by the business. Time how long it takes to get there.
 Always be punctual. Being late shows the employer that you don’t value your time or the
company’s time.
 Make sure you bring your resume, whether or not you think your potential employer already
has a copy. It’s a good idea to bring more than one copy in case you unexpectedly
interview with several people.
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 Dress the part. If you are applying for a barista position, make sure that you are dressed
professionally. You may consider wearing a shirt with a collar, black pants, and black shoes.
You should look the way your prospective employer would expect you to be dressed for that
position; you want them to picture you in the job. Showing up at a job interview in casual
attire is an absolute no-no. This applies to any position in any industry.
 Be honest. Interviewers can usually spot a lie, especially if they have been in the industry a
long time. Interviewers are very adept at reading job candidates. They’ve heard every
answer to every question and can judge character as well as confidence.
 If you have insecurities about your qualifications, let them work to your advantage. If you lack
experience, tell the employer that being a quick learner is a big advantage. Also, tell them
that you will be in a position to perform the job exactly as required because you have no
reservations or preferences in how you perform tasks.
 Be confident in your skills and experience. Give examples of where your confidence comes
from. If you have experience tell them about it. Describe your capabilities.
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 Some employers may worry that those who are very capable of performing a job may
become easily bored in the position. To counteract this, show the interviewer that you
absolutely love what you do. Regardless of how long you have been doing the job or how
experienced you are, assure them this position is something you can see yourself doing for the
rest of your life.
 If you see any problems, offer positive solutions. But don’t ever point out weaknesses in the
business.
 For those with some confidence, an interview can be a good time to make an offer to the
employer. You may want to suggest that the employer give you a trial period so that your
performance and skills can be appropriately judged. This shows the employer that you are
determined to prove yourself and that you have the skills to back up the talk. It’s a win-win
situation. It gives you a foot in the door and, if you perform well, you’ll get the job.
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There are certain things your employer wants to hear during the interview.
 They want to know who you are.
 They want to hear that you have initiative.
 They also want to know that you are an independent worker. An employer wants a potential
employee that will not sit around waiting to be given a task. He or she wants to hire someone
who will take initiative and find ways to be useful in the business.
 Smile. This will set you apart from others and convince your interviewer your friendly.
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The First Day of Work and Beyond
Most employers hire new staff on a probationary status, which often can last up to three months.
You need to use these three months to prove to your employer that he or she made the right
decision in hiring you. If you begin your probationary period by producing sub standard work, the
employer will not keep you around for very long. Go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure
that you will still be there after the three months are over. Remember you have no job security until
that period ends.
First impressions are crucial. Start your first day of work, and every day thereafter, by showing up
early, if only by a few minutes. At the very least, you should be on time. But if you really want to
impress your employer, show up 15 minutes earlier than the start of your shift. A bit of time cushion
will help you deal with uncontrollable circumstances such as traffic tie-ups or problems with your
car or public transport. These things can happen to anyone, but by being early every day, you
minimize the impact such occurrences can have on your day and on your employer’s impression
of you. Employers love punctuality.
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Listen carefully to the instructions your manager gives you on your first day of work. A common
complaint of employers is that their employees don’t listen to directions and have to be told
repeatedly how and when to do things. If your manager asks you to wipe down the tables and
straighten the chairs, get it done and get it done fast. If your manager comes back a half hour
after he asked for the task to be completed and it’s not yet done, he or she is going to wonder
why. Make sure you are never asked to do something twice. That creates work for someone else,
and it reduces their confidence in you.
After you’ve been on the job for about a week, make it a point to ask your manager for feedback.
This will help you improve your job performance and will show that you really care about your work.
You can even choose to do this after every shift during your first week. Before you say goodbye,
the key here is setting yourself up to succeed. Ask your manager how you did and if there are any
areas where you need to improve. You may not always have a manager that gives you direction
or feedback so doing this will ensure that you have a reality check on your progress. It is a sad fact
that some managers in the hospitality industry make snap judgments. They may peg you as
someone who either has potential or not.
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If they don’t see potential in you, they won’t take the time to groom you or help you improve. Take
the reins of your career and seek direction. This will help you grow in any field you choose.
The more open communication you have with your manager, the easier it will be to solicit
feedback. Ask frequently whether your employer is happy with the way you do your job. Ask
whether you complete tasks in a timely fashion or if you are accurate. Ask if you are showing the
right amount of initiative. Inquire about your customer service skills. Don’t be afraid if you get a bit
of criticism. This feedback is meant to help you, not hurt you. Don’t take it personally. Instead, think
about it, digest it, and come up with a plan to improve whatever weaknesses you may have. Set
out to show improvement in the areas that you are lacking. If your manager sees steady
improvement, he will be truly impressed. It shows initiative, professionalism, and hard work. The
sooner you make the improvements, the better.
It can be tough not to take criticism as a personal attack; sometimes even constructive comments
sting. But don’t let your initial feelings cloud your thinking and your performance. Negative feelings
can begin to fester, further deteriorating your performance.
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Never let this happen to you. Always keep a positive attitude and outlook. Ask yourself every day
what you can do to be a better employee.
Don’t wait until you feel comfortable at your workplace before showing initiative at your new job.
Hit the ground running by trying to find innovative ways to make your employer’s life easier. This
helps you stand apart from other new employees as well as existing staff. It has been my
experience that many employees in the hospitality industry do not show much initiative. If you can
demonstrate this quality successfully, you’re not only a shoo-in for the next permanent position but
for possible promotions in the future. Start small. Don’t get over-confident or offend your coworkers. But do look for little ways to stay busy, keep things clean and organized, and make the
customer happy. If things are slow, turn to your manager and ask what other tasks you can help
them with. Do what they ask without complaining. Once you start to anticipate some of these
chores, jump straight into doing them without asking your employer. The more you do this, the
more the manager will come to trust and rely on you. Managers wants a team of employees that
not only do their work, but actively seek out ways to help the team and the business.
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Employers don’t want to micromanage their employees. Instead, they want a well-oiled machine
of employees that know what needs to be done and when it needs to be done with little direction
or supervision.
As important as showing initiative, being punctual, and reliable is creating a rapport with other
people. This isn’t limited to your manager, but applies to your co-workers and customers, too. In
fact, the latter is the most critical. You need to develop customer service skills. Start slowly by
engaging your customers with a simple “good morning” or “good afternoon.” Don’t forget to
make eye contact. Greet them when they walk through the door. Don’t wait until they make it to
the counter. Once you master that, ask them about their day. If customers love you and are
constantly commenting about the quality service you provide, your manager will know you are the
right person for the job. Go the extra mile with your customers. Remember their names and greet
them with a smile. Imagine your manager’s surprise if he hears you greeting a customer by name
on your second day of work! Now that’s the way to impress your employer.
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Get to know your customers. It’s the only way to create a lasting relationship and offer high-quality
service. You want your customers to come back again and again. And you want your manager to
see that they are coming back again and again because of you and the service you provide.
If you lack experience in the customer service arena, don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort
zone. You will feel uncomfortable, but it will force you to improve your skills. In fact, if you don’t feel
uncomfortable, you aren’t challenging yourself enough. This is critical in the hospitality industry.
Even if you have areas that need improvement, you should always be confident. Believe in yourself
and your abilities. A lack of confidence can actually be a hazard behind the espresso bar, as you
may get behind on drink orders or make nervous mistakes. You should make it a point to step out
of your comfort zone. This forces you to learn new skills and get a different perspective on your
abilities.
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This doesn’t mean that you should be cocky. You want your manager and co-workers to think of
you as a capable employee, but not conceited or difficult. Take constructive criticism and improve
your performance. If your manager makes a suggestion and you do not follow it, you basically are
saying that the advice provided is of no use to you. You never want your manager to think that
you do not take direction well or, worse, that you think you are above taking direction. Your
manager should always feel that you consider his or her advice valuable.
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10. Nationally Recognised Certification (Australia Only)
Although employment as a barista is often gained by being able to display your proficiency at
preparing various coffees, certification certainly goes a long way in gaining that education and a
foot in the door to be able to show how proficient you are.
In Australia the Australian Nationally Recognised Certificate III in Hospitality (Code SIT30707)
includes the subject Prepare and Serve Espresso Coffee (SITHFAB0012A) which is readily supplied by
training institutions around the country. This subject once completed can then also receive credit
and recognition without the need to repeat if and when completing Certificate III in hospitality.
The unit Prepare and Serve Espresso Coffee deals with the skills and knowledge to extract and
serve espresso coffee using a commercial espresso machine, including storage of coffee, and
cleaning, care and preventative maintenance of machinery. It applies to baristas and others who
make coffee using a commercial espresso machine in a variety of hospitality settings. Below is an
outline of the elements and performance criteria required to complete the Prepare and Serve
Espresso Coffee Course.
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Organise and prepare work areas
Performance criteria:
1.1
Organise the coffee workstation in accordance with safety and hygiene practices, to enable
efficient workflow and easy access to equipment and commodities.
1.2
Develop preparation and work routines in accordance with enterprise requirements
1.3
Complete mise-en-place and preparation for coffee service, according to enterprise
procedures.
1.4
Store coffee and commodities in appropriate air tight containers and conditions to maintain
quality and freshness.
Provide customer service and advise customers
Performance Criteria:
2.1
Provide advice to customers about coffee types and characteristics where appropriate
2.2
Determine customer coffee preferences and requirements, and offer style choices and
coffee accompaniments, accordingly.
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Select and grind coffee
Performance Criteria:
3.1
Select correct coffee and grind to correct particle size, in accordance with enterprise
requirements and customer preferences.
3.2
Take into consideration any environmental and equipment variations affecting dosage, and
adjust grind and/or dose accordingly.
Extract coffee
Performance Criteria:
4.1
Select appropriate cups or glassware and ensure they are warm before preparation.
4.2
Measure or dispense required dosage and place into filter basket, tamping coffee evenly
and using correct pressure.
4.3
Ensure group head is clean prior to inserting group handle
4.4
Monitor water and pump pressure, and moderate between cycles, in accordance with
enterprise procedures.
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4.5 Analyse extraction rate and adjust where appropriate
4.6
Assess quality of extraction visually and where appropriate, by verifying flavour.
4.7
Check spent grounds (puck/cake) to identify any required adjustments to dosage and
technique.
4.8
Release/purge water for two seconds from the group head before placement of group
handle to extract coffee.
Texture milk
Performance Criteria:
5.1
In accordance with espresso requirements and quantity on order, select correct milk and
appropriate clean, cold jug
5.2
Expel excess water from steam wand, before and after texturising milk, and wipe clean after
use.
5.3
Texturise milk in accordance with milk type and specific order requirements.
5.4
Combine foam and milk through rolling, ensuring even consistency.
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5.5
Pour milk promptly, evenly and consistently, according to coffee style and customer
preferences.
Serve and present espresso coffee
Performance Criteria:
6.1
Present coffee attractively using clean ceramic or glass cups and avoiding drips and spills
6.2
Serve coffee at the required temperature, according to customer requirements and style,
with appropriate crema, milk froth and accompaniments.
Clean and maintain espresso machine
Performance Criteria:
7.1 Follow required occupational health and safety and enterprise requirements throughout all
cleaning and maintenance procedure
7.2
Clean all machine parts thoroughly and safely according to manufacturer's specifications
and enterprise policies and procedures, using appropriate cleaning methods and
recommended cleaning products and materials, including
7.2.1 Cleaning machine and parts
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7.2.2 Wiping down entire machine to ensure cleanliness
7.3.3 Purging reservoir of hot water, releasing steam and backwashing the machine with an
appropriate cleaning solution
7.3.4 Pouring boiling water down to clean drainage pipes
7.3.5 Back flushing the machine at the end of a service cycle, using clean water to ensure no
chemical and other residues are left
7.3
Monitor and assess the operation and efficiency of the espresso machine during usage and
take appropriate action where required in accordance with enterprise policies and
procedures
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Appendix I
Cover Letter Samples
Example 1: A cover letter for someone with no professional coffee experience.
INSERT NAME HERE
Insert address line one here
Insert address line two here
Telephone Home: Insert Number Here
Telephone Mobile: Insert Number Here
E-mail: insert e-mail address here
INSERT DATE HERE
RE: INSERT DESCRIPTION OF ADVERTISED POSITION
To whom it may concern,
My name is INSERT NAME HERE and I am interested in applying for any employment you might have available. I can work any day or hours you require of me. I am energetic,
passionate and willing to work hard, independently, and as part of a vibrant team. I'm passionate about customer care, and I am obsessive about coffee. Having recently
completed INSERT BARISTA COURSE HERE I am eager to put my skills to use.
Along with a great understanding of customer care, cleanliness and productivity, I am familiar with espresso machines and know the diverse coffee styles that are requested
in a café environment. I am meticulous in cleaning and maintaining equipment and work areas, I understand the importance of proper espresso grind, and know how to
adjust the variables to create a perfect shot.
I am eager to display my confidence and proficiency behind a machine, and would be glad to offer a few hours of my own time for a trial so that you can put my skills to the
test. I am happy to visit at your convenience to prepare a couple of coffees for you.
I am flexible with my availability and would be thrilled to work in an exciting professional environment such as INSERT BUSINESS NAME HERE.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you require any further information.
Yours sincerely,
SIGN HERE
INSERT NAME HERE
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Example 2: A cover letter for someone with professional coffee experience.
INSERT NAME HERE
Insert address line one here
Insert address line two here
Telephone Home: Insert Number Here
Telephone Mobile: Insert Number Here
E-mail: insert e-mail address here
INSERT DATE HERE
To whom it may concern,
My name is INSERT NAME HERE and I am interested in applying for any employment you might have available. I can work any day or hours you require of me. I am energetic,
passionate and willing to work hard, independently, and as part of a vibrant team. I'm seasoned in the area of customer care, and I am very passionate about coffee and
happy to develop these abilities further as required.
Along with a great understanding of customer care, cleanliness and productivity, I am familiar with espresso machines and know the diverse coffee styles that are requested
in a café environment. I am meticulous in cleaning and maintaining equipment and work areas, and I understand the importance of proper espresso grind, and know how to
adjust the variables to create a perfect shot.
I am eager to display my confidence and proficiency behind a machine, and would be glad to offer a few hours of my own time for a trial so that you can put my skills to the
test. I am happy to visit at your convenience to prepare a couple of coffees for you.
I am flexible with my availability and would be thrilled to work in an exciting professional environment such as INSERT BUSINESS NAME HERE.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you require any further information.
Yours sincerely,
SIGN HERE
INSERT NAME HERE
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Standard Operating Procedures for Baristas
Before opening machine to customers:
Remove group handles from chemical bucket, lightly scrub and rinse to remove chemical residue.
Place group filter inserts into handles.
Place group handles onto machine.
Season Group handles by running coffee through them 3 times each.
Check Grind and check extraction use timer and measuring cups to ensure right pour.
Let steam out of Steam wands ensuring there are no blockages at the same time.
Set up coffee tools eg. Pedestal, calibrate thermometers, set up jugs and cleaning brush, blue
cloths for bench green cloth for steam wand.
Check stock for day use: Chocolate mix and chocolate shaker to be full, all crockery stocked and
take away cups full. Milk stocked up in fridge for the day. Chai, white chocolate, syrups and
spoons and lids stocked up.
Keep standby supply of coffee beans for easy use/access during busy periods.
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Barista Procedures During the Day
Clean as you go- You are responsible for a clean coffee area benches and floor.
Keep required amount of wipes available so you can clean as you go.
Use cleaning brush to clear grinds from around grinder and grind tray.
Blind filter back flush at least 2 times especially after morning rush and afternoon rushes.
Coffee bench will need to be restocked and wiped and bins emptied during day
Restock your crockery
Restock your take away cups
Restock your milk
Make sure stock is replenished through the day and ordered where necessary. Liaising directly with
supplier and your manager. Do not wait until you run out of stock before you order more or let your
manager know.
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End of Day:
Chemically back flush machine every night
Baskets and handles scrubbed with abrasive cleaner never placed in dishwasher. Scrub until the inside of the
group handles are again gold inside. Soak in chemicals overnight on if business is closed on weekends, any other
day scrub and insert handles back on machine.
Clean drip tray in dishwasher together with grinder trays and milk jugs.
All stainless steel on machine and bench to be polished
Clean Steam wands thoroughly check for blockages. Soak steam nozzles overnight in chemical.
All milk jugs to be emptied and scrubbed to remove milk build up.
All stainless steel on coffee machine to be polished.
Restock fresh tea towels for the following day
Make sure ice-cream is available for the following day and re-order if need be.
Restock bags of coffee at counter for following morning.
Milk fridge below counter to be wiped out and glass cleaned completely sanitising.
Wipe over sugar/spoon containers and surrounding walls to remove any splashed coffee.
Ensure both decaf and regular coffee grinder is free of coffee beans and empty all grinds.
Wash the grinder hoppers in warm soapy water and replace.
Brush out holding tanks with brush clearing out all grinds.
Re-stock take away cups, spoons and lids noting with manager if stock is running low.
Restock cups and glasses on top of machine
Restock sugars teaspoons and saucers.
Identify any forthcoming deficiencies in stock and arrange a re-order
Clean coffee knock box emptying and washing with soapy water.
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Top up all teas and chocolate mixes.
Appendix II
Additional Resources
If you are passionate about coffee, then you will want to continually enrich your knowledge about its history, the
industry, and cutting edge developments. Here are a number of resources to help you continue your education:
Books
Allen, Steward Lee. The Devil's Cup: A History of the World According to Coffee. 2003
Berman, Karen and Kerren Barbas. The Little Black Book of Coffee. 2006
Jafee, Daniel. Brewing Justice: Fair Trade Coffee, Sustainability, and Survival. 2007
Pendergrast, Mark. Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World. 2010
Thorn, Jon and Michael Segal. The Coffee Companion: A Connoisseur's Guide. 2007
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Internet
Coffee Geek
Coffee and Health
(Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee)
Coffee Research Organisation
Coffee Review
Coffee Science Source
(National Coffee Association)
Coffee Universe
HG Coffee School
International Coffee Organisation
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http://www.coffeeandhealth.org/
http://www.coffeeresearch.org/
http://www.coffeereview.com/
http://www.coffeescience.org/
http://coffeeuniverse.com/
http://www.hgcoffee.com.au/
http://www.ico.org/
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