An excellent barista is a specialist (you can usually become one after professional barista training): someone who knows the science of coffee-making, knows how to utilise different brewing methods and machines, and can make appropriate coffee suggestions to consumers. Here are some essential barista skills and tips for making a cup of coffee that is addictive!
Back To Basics
Many of the barista methods on this list require basic coffee knowledge to comprehend and follow.
Flavour profiles for coffee
What are the fundamental flavours and descriptions of coffee? Which ones are most valued (for example, balance, acidity, sweetness)? What does it mean when your customer wants “rich” or “strong” coffee?
Manufacturing, processing, and roasting
What is the distinction between washed coffee and honey coffee? What’s the difference between a single origin and a blend? An Ethiopian and a Guatemalan? Most importantly, how do all of these factors influence the consumer? We’re not saying you should be a product guru, but you should grasp the fundamentals.
There’s also roasting. This affects not just the flavour of the coffee but also how it should be brewed. Darker roasts, for example, maybe more deteriorated and prone to bitterness than lighter roasts, requiring a lower brew temperature.
And how is decaffeinated coffee made?
Brewing and extraction
There’s much more to preparing coffee in a specialised coffee shop than just pushing buttons. As a result, baristas must understand the fundamentals of extraction. This is the process by which water extracts coffee flavour components and fragrances from ground coffee. Different chemicals are removed at various moments during the brewing process, allowing baristas to adjust the flavour of the finished cup of coffee.
The extraction rate is influenced by factors like as grind size, coffee-to-water proportion, the temperature of the water, roast level, and others.
Grinding is essential for making outstanding coffee. To begin, it is critical to grind just before brewing, or your coffee will become stale. Again, you should understand this before attempting to learn any other barista methods.
Second, you must comprehend the significance of grind size in various brewing and extraction procedures. The finer the grind texture, the quicker the extraction rate and the slower the water flow. This is due to the water coming into direct contact with more of the coffee’s surface, as well as the smaller spaces between the grounds.
To put it in another way, if your coffee tastes bitter (i.e., it has been over-extracted), you may want to consider using a coarser ground to reduce extraction and increase brew time. However, if it’s sour (under-extracted), you could ground it finer.
You’ll also need to learn how to adjust your grinder for the espresso machine. The best grind settings will vary depending on the weather, the age of the roasted coffee, and other factors. This means it can change on a daily (or even hourly!) basis. Grinder adjustment is a crucial ability for a specialised barista.
Espresso-making demands a variety of technical abilities. Tamping is sometimes disregarded, yet it is critical for good coffee. (Fortunately, it’s a rather straightforward talent once mastered.) There’s also some disagreement on the role of coffee distribution before tamping.
You may also need to understand espresso pre-infusion, pressure profiling, flow profiling, and other topics depending on your machine.
Oh, and don’t forget about machine maintenance. Espresso machines require daily, monthly, and annual maintenance, much of which will be performed by the coffee shop staff.
Steaming, Pouring, And Latte Art
Coffee and milk go well together, but properly heating and pouring require practice. The goal is to get outstanding texture while avoiding scorching the milk. And everything matters, from wand position to pour pace.
Take care not to overfill the jug with milk. If you steam too much milk, some of it will go to waste, which is bad for the coffee shop’s budget and the environment.
Keep in mind that there is a science to determining which milk is best. Alternative dairy products are traditionally more difficult to steam and create latte art with.
You should practise with several milk jugs because the shape of the spout and the depth of the jug will affect your pour.
Manual And Batch Brewing
What coffee shop menu would be complete without filter coffee? Learn about the most common manual brewers. Make sure you understand the distinctions so you can not only brew them well but also suggest them to customers. Understand the significance of various types of filters and how to adjust filter recipes using other barista methods.
Many speciality coffee businesses provide batch brew, which some customers prefer over hand brewers. Batch brewing isn’t necessarily as revered as manual brewing, but when done correctly, it produces consistently great coffee. Understanding how to use a manual brewer and how to adjust the brew time and bed depth to achieve the appropriate coffee profile will be a useful ability.
Recipe Development And Troubleshooting
There are two types of recipe creation tasks that you may be assigned. The first step is to develop an espresso/filter recipe. This is where you set the brew time, temperature, grind setting, and other parameters for a new coffee.
You may also need to investigate poor coffee. What is causing the batch brew to be so oily? What is the cause of the lack of body in the espresso? (Oh, and if you’re thinking of troubleshooting espresso by the crema, forget it – some coffees simply do not produce it.)
This type of recipe development and troubleshooting needs a thorough understanding of extraction, as well as patience and a plethora of knowledge. However, as you improve, you will become more confident in your understanding of barista methods.
Signature beverages/mocktails are the second sort of beverage development company innovation. Some speciality cafés will only provide standard coffees such as black, latte, cappuccino, and so on. Others may experiment with syrups, spices, and flowers to produce distinctive beverages that will appeal to a wider range of customers. This necessitates an awareness of flavour combinations, aroma, texture, and other factors, which is typically gained through trial and experience.
Cleaning And Hygiene
Cleaning may surprise you as a vital barista technique, but excellent hygiene is essential for any coffee establishment – and cleaning is sometimes devalued and underappreciated.
Every day, you’ll have to clean everything from espresso equipment to refrigerators completely (and promptly). You’ll discover a whole new way to mop floors and techniques for tracking food dates, as well as how to use industrial-grade cleaners.
While this is one of the less glamorous aspects of the barista, it is also one of the most vital – especially in the eyes of the client (and the environmental health inspector).
So if you are passionate about coffee and want to have an excellent career, master the skills of coffee making at a registered training organisation offering a barista course.