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Online Barista Training: Espresso Machine Maintenance Tips

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Online Barista Training:
Espresso Machine Maintenance Tips

The secret of how to be a barista lies in being always diligent and neat in regards to your workstation and your own self. Don’t forget to trim your nails and hair, look tidy when you are getting ready for a barista job interview and on a daily basis after you get a job as a barista.

Clean and well-maintained espresso machine is critical for perfect performance and impeccable service. It is essential to keep your espresso machine and other coffee equipment clean to brew delicious coffee and make your customers come back to your coffee shop.online barista training, how to be a barista

It’s a great idea to do a full backflush twice a day. Do a backflush once in the middle of the day and then at night after you finish your shit. It’s important to continuously rinse the espresso machine with clear water throughout the day.

Cleaning tools

Your main cleaning tools to backflush your espresso machine will be: a blind portafilter and basket, group brush, espresso machine detergent, plastic bucket and pitcher multitasking tool with a screwdriver, damp clean towel, scouring pad and surface cleaner.

Cleaning espresso machine portafilters

Take out a portafilter and pop out the screen. You can use your towel to wipe a basket and a portafilter from the excess coffee oil. Drop them in a plastic bucket and add tiny amount of detergent. Fill it up with hot water to the bottom of a portafilter handle and leave soaking till you finish your full backflush.

Cleaning espresso machine groupheads

After you remove baskets from the portafilters, you want to flush hot water through a grouphead and lightly remove some particles on the screen with a brush. Also use your brush to clean around the grouphead gasket.online barista training, how to be a baristaThen remove the screen with a screwdriver and leave it soak with the portafilter. Add a scoop of detergent and some water into a blind portafilter and insert in into a grouphead. Turn the groupheads on and do routine of 10 seconds on 10 seconds off for at least 5 times. Then run the same number of cycles without detergent.

If you still see that there are some coffee particles in the water or the water itself is yellow, run as many cycles as it needs to fully clean your grouphead.

After this, you want to remove the drip tray for cleaning. Rinse it in the sink and dry thoroughly.

Cleaning espresso machine steam wandhow to be a barista, online barista training

Don’t forget to clean a steam wand. Use milk detergent to remove the milk built up during the day. Add a little detergent to the pitcher, submerge your steam wand into it and turn on the steam wand. Turn off and leave it soaking. As it cools down it sucks up the detergent. Cover the steam wand with a towel and turn it on letting all the water out.

Clean the top of your espresso machine and the counter with a surface cleaner. As a good barista, you want to come and see a clean workstation next morning or help your colleagues who will start an early morning shift the next day.

How To Be A Barista: Manual Coffee Brewing

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How To Be A Barista:
Manual Coffee Brewing

As a part of your online barista training you want to know not only how to brew a delicious coffee with the help of espresso machine. In fact, besides espresso machine there are many ways of how to brew coffee manually. Many coffee snobs prefer manual coffee brewing method because it reveals a different side and character of the coffee beans.

The main difference between manual brewing and espresso machine brewing is the way of how water is delivered to brew the coffee. In manual brewing, you don’t use hot pressurized water to extract your coffee.

Also, in manual coffee preparation process you use a bulk coffee grinder. It doesn’t have a storage hopper and you can grind as much coffee as you want right into the filter you use. When you brew your coffee manually you always use a paper filter.

The ideal coffee to water ratio is 60 g of coffee per 1 liter of water. The longer you brew your coffee, the coarser the grind should be. The best coffee brew time is around 4-6 minutes. After you brew your coffee you can store it for 45 min to 1 hour. The optimum temperature of water is 195 to 205 F.

When you brew your coffee manually always keep in mind other variables: how much water goes in the pot and thus how much coffee you need to grind, how coarse the grind size should be and how long the extraction time will be.

While you are learning how to be a barista, you should know the basic manual brewing methods are a pour-over method, French press and batch brewing.online barista training, how to be a barista

Pour-over brewing method

Pour-over coffee is any coffee brewed by pouring hot water on top of the coffee grounds (using Chemex, Hario, Kalita Vawe, etc.).how to be a barista, online barista training

First, rinse your paper filter to prevent a paper taste in the coffee. Pour this hot water away. Weigh the amount of coffee you need, grind it and put in the filter.

Start “blooming” your coffee by pouring a small amount of hot water onto the coffee grounds. Stop when the coffee is saturated. Stop for roughly 30 seconds to allow the carbon dioxide escape. Continue pouring hot water evenly until you reach the desired coffee to water ratio. Leave the filter until the water fully drips through the coffee. Remove the filter and your coffee is ready to be served.online barista training, how to be a barista

French press

You use the coarsest grind for this brewing method. In French press method coffee grounds and the water are mixed together all the time.

You want to starts from weighing and grinding your coffee. Fill the French press with the grounds and start pouring hot water leaving an inch of room from the top.

After 1 minute you can use a spoon to stir and sink in the crust on the surface of the water. Put the lid on and leave your coffee saturate for 4-6 minutes. Pour coffee into a cup and enjoy.online barista training, how to be a barista

Batch brewing

As a part of your barista training you will have to brew big amounts of coffee. Batch brewing is a brewing method where you want to brew multiple drinks at once. The coffee is brewed in big batch brewers. As a good barista you want to add the correct dose of coffee at the correct grind and set the correct filter for perfect brewing.

Barista Training: The Subject of Steaming Milk

Barista Training:
The Subject of Steaming Milk

Milk is the second most important ingredient to most espresso-based drinks. Learning how to appropriate steam and pour milk will be an important piece of your education as a barista.

Learning about how to steam milk as a barista, will be important. To be sure, it takes practice. To be sure, you will get that practice.

For the meantime, let’s briefly discuss your goals with steaming milk as a barista:

  1. You only want to use enough milk that you will need for your drink. (This will eliminate waste and a very poor tasting drink in the future!)
  2. Heat the milk to a temperature range of about °150 degrees (or about 66° C to about 70° C)
  3. Time everything so that your espresso shot and your milk is steamed at about the same time.
  4. You will want to serve the drinks in a timely manner.

You certainly don’t want to serve your espresso-based and steamed coffee after the milk and espresso has separated.

So what does a good steamed milk look like? There are a few basic steps as a barista that you can do to create really well-steamed milk.

When it comes to steamed milk, you should create a tight micro-bubble structure. This means that that milk should be smooth and look like smooth paint.

As a barista you will aerate the milk.

You should do so in an appropriate size pitcher, preferably using the smallest pitcher appropriate to house the right amount of milk.

6oz Cappuccino – 12oz pitcher filled ⅓ full (roughly 4oz of cold milk)

8oz Latte – 12oz pitcher filled ½ full (roughly 5-6oz of cold milk)

12oz Latte – 20oz pitcher filled ⅓ full (roughly 7-8oz of cold milk)

16oz Latte – 20oz pitcher filled ½ full (roughly 10oz of cold milk)

How to steam milk

  • The first thing you want to do when you begin to steam your milk is purge your wand of any condensed water.
  • Place the wand just underneath the milk at an angle. The steam wand should be roughly about 30° from a vertical stance.
  • Open the steam wand to near full pressure (less depending on the type of drink).
  • Begin frothing the milk in a whirlpool motion until the pitcher gets a bit too hot to touch.
  • The ideal serving temperature for steamed milk ranges from 135-155 degrees. Cappuccino or latte are supposed to be sipped right after being served
  • Wipe the wand and purge

Barista Training Academy is your premiere online resource to learn how to be a barista. For more information visit our online barista training blog.

Online Barista Training: Another Look at Espresso

A Discussion on Topics Important For Your Online Barista Training

Even if you have only recently been introduced to the world of coffee, you would have certainly have heard of espresso. In today’s coffee world, it is synonymous with coffee. But what is it?

Whether you work in a small cafe, chain coffee shop, or a coffee stand, you will want to be familiar with the elements of espresso.

A “shot” of espresso is generally referred to as the amount of coffee beverage that comes from an espresso machine. A “shot” isn’t a technical term nor does it have a predefined amount of mass or volume. A shot can be different to every coffee business or barista.

Therefore, it’s important to realize that a “shot” of espresso is arbitrary. However, there is a general guideline that many people have that defines a suitable range for a typical espresso shot.

A general espresso template or definition:

Espresso is created by the pressurized percolation of hot water that flows through a tight puck of ground coffee. The water extracts or removes the solids and oils from the expanded surface of the grounded coffee.

An espresso shot has a range of 6 grams to 21 grams (approximately) of dry ground coffee. It is extracted via 7-9 bars of pressure in the espresso machine.

Typically, the extraction time is between 20 to 35 seconds.

The water used to extract the coffee falls between 185 degrees and 205 degrees. (85° C – 96° C)

Again, this is a general espresso template. Deviations – though are relevant – they are to be expected as everyone like espresso done in a manner that is suitable for them.

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Barista Fundamentals

You’ve just read the word, “extraction”. What is extraction? To put it simply, extraction is the removal of mass from through the coffee grounds. This mass is made up of soluble and insoluble substances.  Soluble solids add to what we taste and the brew strength, while the soluble gasses add to what we smell or the aroma of coffee.

When we are talking about drip coffee (that you might brew at home, for example) insolubles are solids and oils that are essentially floating or suspended in the water molecules.

When it comes to using the espresso machine, insoluble are held in suspension or they are emulsified.  That is, they are the smallest drops of oils that are surrounded by liquid. These also contribute to the taste, aroma, taste, and the body of the coffee itself.

When you “pull” a shot, you will notice some bubbling foam or what we refer as “crema”. Crema is an important part of the shot. It is really made up of CO2 gas (Carbon Dioxide) and water bubbles that are encased in a film.  The appearance of crème is only made possible by the amount of pressure that comes with brewing it via an espresso machine.

When geeking out about crema, you might here the term “surfactant” which essentially is a substance that reduces the surface tension of a liquid. They encase the bubbles caused by the espresso machine creating a foam. It may be possible to gain useful information from the crema and gauge the strength of the drink. It is after all a part of the same drink. The lighter color is brought out by the bubbles and the refraction of light from the space the bubbles create.

Crema doesn’t necessarily taste pleasant by itself, but it takes on an important role in how it feels on the tongue.

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So, what’s the role of a barista?

The role in the barista is to take the coffee and consistently create a shot of espresso that tastes ideal. This first starts with understanding the type of coffee (its origin and roast). It also means choosing the right grind that allows you to generate the “right” amount of flow (that is, the rate at which the water fills the portafilter basket and streams out onto your shot glass).

The job of the barista is to not only ensure that a proper dose of coffee is used, the right grind size, but also that it is evenly or uniformly distributed within the basket. This is done through “tamping” with a tamper.

Additionally, much of the extraction is done through pressurized water.  But the water has to be hot and at a particular temperature.

 

Barista Training Academy is your online barista training resource. Our aim is to provide you with the information you need to start your career in coffee.

Coffee Roasting

After you learn how to be a barista you might want to know more about the art and science of coffee roasting. Roasting is one of the variables that affect the final taste of the coffee you just had this morning. Roasting reveals the full flavor and potential of a green coffee bean and makes it ready to brew a delicious espresso.

Most coffee roasting machines use both conduction and convection. Conduction is the physical transfer of heat from the drum to the beans. Convection is heat travelling by air currents. The balance of both forces makes a great coffee roast.

In this online barista training course you will learn the basics of the coffee roasting.

Roasting stages

  1. Dehydrating the bean and removing excess moisture content. The coffee will smell green and grassy. The beans will start changing its color to yellowish.
  2. Yellowing stage (between 212 and 240 F) The beans go through a temperatures range where the basic chemical reactions start happening. The beans themselves get darker. You’ll sense bread baking aroma.
  3. First crack (between 250 and 300 F). When you hear a cracking sound it means that the beans are dried out. Thermic reactions, which put heat into the coffee, end and become extra thermic reactions where the bean starts releasing its own energy. The bean is light brown color.
  4. Roast development stage (between 350 and 400 F). Here’s where a coffee bean starts building simple sugars. After melting them a bean develops caramel, sugary tasting characteristics. You can stop roasting here or move to the next stage.
  5. Second crack (between 425 and 435 F). Under even higher temperatures a coffee bean start producing a popping sound. The beans release more oil and loose acidity.
  6. As the beans drop out of the drum you want to stop the roasting process as soon as possible by quickly cooling the beans.

Use fresh beans to extract your espresso because old coffee tends to lack body, be thin, boring with less character or acidity. Remember how old is your coffee when you extract an espresso shot. Freshly roasted coffee tend to be more gassy and bubbly. If espresso blend is aged you’ll need to dose more coffee to compensate for the gas loss.

Roasting types

Roasting type is often a matter of taste. Don’t be afraid to experiment when you roast your coffee. Let your eyes and your nose be the guide when to stop roasting.

You can roast your coffee at home and save a fortune and create your unique blends or try roasting at your coffee shop if it’s equipped with a coffee roaster. That’s a great skill, which will give you a deeper understanding of your coffee and where your espresso comes from.

There‘s no one unified standardization of roasting types. One of the ways to categorize roasting types is by color. Thus, light, medium, medium-dark and dark roasts are distinguished.

Lighter roasts have more acidity and slightly more caffeine, while darker roasts show more bitter and even carbony tasting profile. Lighter roasts also best reveal the origin of the bean, they might have fruity, chocolate and nutty notes. In darker beans the origin flavor and acidity are almost gone, smoky flavors are more evident.

Coffee trip: from a plantation to your coffee shop

Coffee trip: from a plantation to your coffee shop

One of the most important parts of your online barista training is learning about coffee and coffee beans itself. Coffee is the world’s most widely consumed beverages. It’s also the core of your coffee business and work.

Various factors impact how the coffee in your cup tastes: from the origin of the coffee tree itself to the processing and brewing method. Location, picking and roasting also give different tasting profiles to your coffee.

There are two main species of a coffee tree: arabica and robusta. Arabica produces nearly all of the world’s finest coffee, while robusta produces heavy-bodies but neutral tasting coffee used in various blends.

There’s also a number of hybrid varietals. Some farmers can have over 15 different coffee varietals at their farm, while others are dedicated to only one type of tree.

Arabica coffee flourishes in tropical climate in altitudes between 2000 and 7000 feet. Coffee plants should receive plentiful rain while the fruit is forming and plentiful sun during the time the fruit gets ripe. Higher altitudes slow the development of the coffee fruit. Such coffee plants have denser and harder bean, which display more acid flavor characteristics.

Like all other plants coffee trees can suffer from leaf rust. This can be a real tragedy for coffee farmers and lead to the loss of harvest.

Usually one tree produces about one pound of green coffee beans. Coffee cherries are picked 3-4 times during harvest. Only ripe juicy fruits can reveal a full potential of a coffee varietal. There are always green and overripe fruits on the same branch with ripe fruits. That’s why the hand-picked coffee is considered to be the best.

Coffee processing

A coffee fruit has to go a long way to become a coffee bean. The processing of a coffee bean includes stripping the fruit away from a coffee beans and then drying it out. Mistakes in processing can affect coffee flavor.

  • Dry method is the oldest way to process coffee. The fruit is picked and immediately put in the sun to dry. The flesh of the fruit becomes dry and black and later removed by machines. Many of them serve as blend fillers but the some of them rank as the world’s finest, for example Ethiopia Harrar, Yemen Mocha and Brazil best dry processed coffees.
  • Wet method is the most common way of coffee processing. The fruit is removed before the coffee is dried. Most specialty coffees are wet processed.

In the wet method the fruit is separated by density in streams of running water. Pulping machines squeeze the ripe fruit, after this the fresh beans sit in their own juices for 12-48 hours.

Then the beans are washed again and sorted by weight. After the beans are dried out their parchment skin is removed by machines. Then the seeds run through vibrating screens. The larger beans are separated from others. After this the beans are subject to another screening by density.

Very often color sorting is used, which means the final selection by hand and eye.

Barista Training Academy is the premiere online resource for learning basic barista skills. Want to be a barista? We offer an online barista training course (coming soon!)