Online Barista Training: Espresso Machine Maintenance Tips

online barista training

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.

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!)

Barista Training: The art of steaming your milk

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Barista Lesson: The Art of Steaming Milk

If you are thinking about how to be a barista with no experience, you can rest assured that most coffee shop owners look for a friendly, open-minded and teachable personality rather than for a barista with years of experience.

With this online barista training course you will learn the basics of coffee drink-building. Let’s talk about milk, which has truly become the second most important ingredient after coffee itself.

Milk portioning

As a good barista you don’t want to waste any of your milk. So, you want to steam only as much milk as you need for the beverage you are preparing. 

At your barista workstation it’s worth having at least three pitchers of different sizes for steaming different amounts of milk:

  • 350 ml (12 oz) – for cappuccino size and smaller beverages. If you use this pitcher to steam your milk for latte, then fill only half of it.
  • 600 ml (20 oz) – for different sizes of latte.
  • 950 ml (32 oz) – for steaming two drinks at once or for a large latte.

Never fill your pitcher more half full. Remember: when steaming the milk will expand 30-40%.

barista lesson - the art of steaming milk

Milk steaming workstation

Almost every espresso machine is equipped with a steam wand that has a removable tip. You start hot air with a knob, on-off button or lever depending on a type of an espresso machine. You also need a dedicated wet towel to immediately wipe the steam wand after every steaming.

You should always keep your milk and your pitchers in a fridge. Rinse your pitchers after every use. Keeping your workstation clean is critical for your machine and for the health of you and your customers. Keeping your customers safe from food-borne illnesses is one important element to your job as a barista. 

Milk steaming technique

As a part of your online barista training you need to learn how to properly steam your milk. Before starting purge the steam wand to get rid of any excess milk that could accidentally stay inside. Set the angle of the steam wand towards the floor.

The tip of the wand should be right below the surface of the milk closer to the side of the pitcher. Turn on the hot air pressure and start stretching your milk keeping the tip of the steam wand close to the surface. As you add the air to your milk you’ll hear hissing or paper tearing sound. Warm your milk till it’s too hot to touch (approx. 100 F). Quickly raise the pitcher up and heat your milk.

On this stage the circulation of the milk will break down the bubbles so that you don’t see them anymore. This is the secret to make creamy fluffy foam. Once you get the desired temperature (approx. 140F) turn off the hot air and set the pitcher aside. Purge the steam wand.

Now you need to polish your milk. Make a tap with your pitcher to get rid of any bigger bubbles then swirl your milk in circular motions.

Not enough foam?

If you don’t get enough foam it means you are doing something wrong on the stretching stage. Perhaps, you introduce too little air or don’t spend enough time stretching your milk.

On the contrary, if you get too many bubbles or they are thick and airy, it means you introduce too much air to your milk. Try not to spend too much time on stretching stage – lift the pitcher up as soon as you feel with your hand that it’s too hot.

Barista Training Academy is your online barista training resource. Our aim is to help you get the knowledge and education to enter the workforce as a highly knowledgeable barista.

Online Barista Training: What is Espresso?

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So you are done with writing your barista resume using our barista training resume tips. Congratulations! Now as you start your job as a barista make sure you know the basic concepts of coffee preparation.

 

What is Espresso?

Despite a common knowledge that espresso is a drink, it is actually a brewing method. Although it can be served and drunk right after extraction. What distinguishes espresso from any other brewing methods is that can only be prepared with the help of an espresso machine.

Espresso is a small 25-30 ml (0.84 – 1 oz) beverage. To prepare an espresso you will use around 20 g (0.7 oz) of ground coffee.

Next… after you lock in the portafilter into an espresso machine’s grouphead the hot water (195°- 205°F) will be running for 25-30 sec at 9-10 atm.

 

Espresso drink is very intense in terms of flavors and color. It happens because the water is pulled under extreme pressure and it has high concentration of coffee to water.

It is important to remember this when choosing espresso blends. Different coffee notes can translate differently in an espresso shot.

 

As you pull your shot you will notice that the first espresso drops start at 5-7 sec then turning into a dark chocolate stream. By the end, the stream gets fairer. You can enjoy nice crema on top of a well-extracted espresso shot.

 

Ristretto vs. Lungo

As a part of your online barista training you should learn that there’s a wide range of preferences to the espresso extraction. You can extract a “restricted” or “long” shot, namely ristretto or lungo.

For a ristretto you should adjust the grind to be a little bit finer. This will allow to slow the water. This way, with the usual amount of coffee (around 0.7 oz) and extraction time you will get less liquid – around 0.84 oz. Ristretto runs slower in thinner streams. It reveals more beading and darker color. The result is more concentrated, sometimes even sourer flavor.

For a lungo adjust your grind to more coarse. Grind the usual amount of coffee. Remember that there will be less coffee in you portafilter because of coarser grind. In 25-30 seconds, it’ll give approximately, 1.4 oz of liquid output. Lungo runs quicker soon becoming lighter in colors with less beading. Lungo is a great way to taste coffee – it reveals a broader range of flavors with less sourness.

barista training, espresso

 

How to serve Espresso?

Espresso should be served in a small cup known as demitasse on a saucer with a small spoon. Usually it is accompanied by a small glass of sparkling or still water. Make sure you ask your customer what kind of water he or she wants.

Keep in mind that if a customer wants more than a double espresso in a drink, you should charge more for an extra shot.

 

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Why it is important to dial in your espresso?

Knowing how to be a barista also means knowing how to dial in your daily espresso shots. Dialing in your coffee is an extremely important process, which will determine the quality of your service. It’s crucial to set you coffee variable early in the morning before the first customer arrives.

You must also dial in your shots several times throughout the day because the conditions in your coffee shop change too: your grinder heats up, espresso machine cools down, ambient temperature changes due to air conditioning and humidity. All these factors determine that your espresso shots pull differently every single time.

Dialing in technique as a barista

Barista Training Continued: When you come to your workstation in the morning make sure to set your tools and calibrate your shots for the best taste. Grind some coffee out if the grinder was vacuumed out the night before. Before dosing your coffee scale your portafilter and set its value to 0. After distribution but before tamping weigh your portafilter again. One dose should be 18-20 grams (0.63-0.7 oz). Don’t taste a first couple of shots, they will have metallic taste anyways. Pull your first shots to warm up your espresso machine and groupheads.

Look closely at your third shot: when the first drips start coming out, when drips turn into streams, how long it takes to extract a shot and what is the weight of the output. The color is also an important indicator to notice.

Making adjustments to your espresso shot

If you are not satisfied with how your espresso runs (too fast or too slow) or with the color and taste of your shot, you need to make certain adjustments and recalibrate your variables. It makes an important part of your barista training and successful barista career.

Grind adjustments are supposed to control how fast your espresso extracts. If your espresso pulls too slow, set particle size to coarser. Always change one notch at a time and purge the grinder after that.

If your shot is low in body and thin, you might also want to decrease the water flow and make higher coffee to water ratio.

Always change one variable at a time.

How To Be A Barista With No Experience

how to be a barista

 

If you are thinking about being a barista or wondering what the requirements are of getting a barista job, you’re in the right place.

Here at Barista Training Academy, we want to prepare you to get your first barista job.

Our online resources and training will allow you to gain the knowledge and confidence that you need to apply to any entry-level barista position available.

Becoming a barista has some great benefits, which makes it a great job for many people at different places in their lives. So, how do you get a barista job if you don’t have experience as barista?

Even if you don’t have experience pouring coffee or “pulling shots” as a barista, you can get a job with coffee.

We believe that there are a few important elements to getting a job as a barista with no experience:

Willingness to Learn

You may not know – right now – how to be a barista. However, if you have the willingness to learn and show an earnest interest in learning how to be a barista, you will find many coffee shop owners and managers willing to consider you for a barista position. The willingness to learn how to be a barista is a very appealing attribute to have, especially when applying for a barista job.

If you are willing to learn, then you are trainable, and therefore a good candidate to be a barista. Now, will some coffee shop owners want experience? Yes. Will some coffee shop owners want you to hit the ground running at their coffee shop? Yes. But there are certainly other very important elements that will make you an appealing barista job candidate.

Passion for Coffee

You don’t have to be a barista to have a genuine passion for coffee. People love coffee. If they didn’t, there wouldn’t be a need for baristas, right?

You can demonstrate your long-standing passion for coffee by your willingness to try new coffees, try different brewing methods, or simply learn about coffee as an agricultural product.

Coffee can inspire you in a number of different ways. Demonstrating a deep passion for coffee can make you stand out among other barista job applicants.

 

Detailed Oriented

Being a barista requires attention to detail. Taking care of your espresso machine and making the best espresso shot you can requires you to fine tune your equipment, all with require you to be detailed oriented.

Fine-tuning your grinder, tamping just right, controlling your water flow, your milk, as well as other small details will help you serve the best coffee and be the best barista you can be, all play an important role. Being detailed oriented can help you stand out as a barista job candidate, but more importantly it can help you be a great barista.

 

Customer Service

Being a barista requires you to demonstrate excellent customer service all the time. This is tougher than it sounds. Delivering consistent quality customer service to every customer is essential for your coffee business to be successful. It requires patience and a real genuineness.

If you want to be a barista but don’t have any experience, showing or demonstrating previous jobs where customer service played a key role can be another appealing attribute. 

 

how to be a barista

 

 

Other Essential Elements to Being a Barista

Other important elements and traits to have that will help you get a job as barista with no experience:

Personality – having a “positive” personality might seem superficial, but it makes a big difference when it comes to delivering customer service. Consider your own experiences when you go to a coffee shop or restaurant. Being greeted, served, and addressed by staff members with personality makes all the difference.

 

Availability – your availability is one key component to getting a job as a barista. Some barista positions require you to up at 4:00 am and serving coffee by 5:30 am. If you have a flexible schedule and you are more than willing to be get your “foot in the door” regardless of the hours they need you, can help you stand out among a other barista job candidates.

 

Dependability – Being dependable is an essential trait to have as an employee. Coffee shops, whatever the size, depend on their employees to make good decisions that impact their business. Often times these decisions are made outside of work. For example, getting to bed early so that you can be up and on-time for work.

 

Honesty – Working in a coffee shop generally means that there will be a lot of cash around. Coffee shop owners and managers are extremely aware of this. Coffee shop owners need dependable people with good personalities and who know how to serve their customers amazing coffee drinks, but they also need honest employees.  

Stealing cash or giving away free product (i.e. coffee and snacks) their friends is very common. Hiring honest employees matter.  

How does this translate to hiring you as a barista with no experience?  When you interview, simply give honest answers. Translate your honesty with authenticity which builds trust with the owner or manager of the coffee shop.

 

Other Business Skills

You might now have any barista experience, but there are other skills that may make you a “standout” among other candidates with experience.

For example, you may have worked at a large retailer and have inventory management experience. You may have worked in a restaurant and have food service experience. You may have worked in the medical field and you might know general first aid, CPR, etc.

All of these other skills can translate to making you a very appealing candidate.