barista training

Our regular customers receive subsidised training and support. Every QUALITASSE customer can claim 100% subsidised training here in Hampshire at our purpose-designed coffee training centre. If you are not an existing customer that's not a problem - we will be happy to discuss the right course for you, including those listed below.

Customers making regular coffee purchases at an agreed level can claim two courses every year for up to four staff at a time - 100% subsidised.

the basics

For the purposes of this basic guide, we are only going to look at a small fraction of the things to consider as a barista. We are not looking at coffee history, green beans, bean selection, roasting, choosing an espresso machine, grinders and related equipment, grinding your coffee beans, and so much more.

We often get contacted and asked for barista training and asked if we can come in for half an hour. Just read the basics below, bearing in mind just some of the things we are not covering mentioned above, then please do contact us for more information and assistance...


The Pan Handle

Use the correct pan-handle when preparing a single or double shot of espresso.

For a single shot the pan-handle has one spout and a smaller basket, so when dosing the single amount of coffee (generally 7-9g of ground coffee) into the pan-handle, it should heap to just above the top of the basket. If it appears low in the basket, check to ensure you are not using a double basket.

For a double shot the pan-handle has two spouts and a deeper basket, so when dosing the double amount of coffee (generally 14-18g of ground coffee) into the pan-handle, it should heap to just above the top of the basket. If it is lower, check you have dosed the correct amount of coffee.

If the ground coffee overflows the basket, check you are using the correct pan handle, and also check your grinder dose.

NB: you cannot make a single shot using a double basket, unless you dispense a double amount of coffee and discard one of the shots from one of the spouts, or if you use two cups and use this spare spout - this is how you would make two single shots from a double handle - but remember the "spare" shot should be used in a drink within a few seconds - do not leave it in the cup waiting for drink request to come along sometime soon !


Shot Timing

From the time you press the button on your espresso machine to start the extraction, to the time the machine stops (or when you stop it manually) should be between 24 and 28 seconds.

NB: If you feel you do not have the time to wait 24-26 seconds for your espresso shot (or two shots if using a double pan handle) and would like it to be faster, maybe you should consider not serving coffee to customers! This would be similar to removing your cakes from the oven when only half cooked, or maybe serving a half-cooked sausage... it isn't right and it certainly will not produce a perfect espresso.


Thanks to www.redrockroasters.com in Albuquerque, New Mexico for use of this photo :-)


Espresso Tamping

Espresso Tamping is an art that is often overlooked when preparing an espresso...

The aim is to create a ‘puck’ of coffee through which the hot water from the espresso machine will flow through evenly. Since the water from the espresso machine is under pressure, the espresso puck must be hard and evenly tamped. The water will try to find the easiest route through the coffee and therefore it is important to tamp evenly, preventing channels in the puck that offer less resistance and allow the water to flow through inconsistently.

After the ground coffee has been dosed into the group handle it is normally unevenly distributed (fig 1). Hold the group handle in one hand while using the other hand to level the coffee. This is usually done by passing your finger over the group handle, levelling it in the process. The key is to evenly distribute the coffee without pressing into the grounds or leaving any empty space on the sides of the basket.

Once you have levelled the grounds (fig 2), it is time for the first tamp. Without moving the group handle, hold the tamp so that the base of the handle fits into the palm of your hand. Your wrist should be straight and the espresso tamper should be a straight extension of your arm. Press firmly (you will need to practice). You will notice that some of the grounds will stick to the side of the basket. Therefore, gently tap the basket with the tamper to knock the grounds onto the flat puck you have just formed.

The next step is to do a secondary tamp. The shape of the puck has already been formed and the finishing tamp confirms this impression. With the tamp held as before, press on the puck with a smaller amount of pressure and turn the tamp 360° to "polish" the surface. Make sure you tamp evenly. An uneven espresso tamp will result in an uneven extraction (during extraction you might see the espresso coming out of one spout and not the other).

Once tamped, swipe your hand across the top of the basket (we call it "blessing" the coffee !) to remove any excess coffee grounds which will potentially start to burn onto the seals in the group head, leading to expensive service bills in the future... (if you see water coming out from the pan handle during extraction, you will need to have these seals looked at and probably replaced - contact our service department for assistance)

If there are any weak spots or holes in the espresso puck the water will push through this area, over extracting this portion of coffee while under extracting the rest of the puck. Improper espresso tamping will result in a bad pour or a white crema.

An additional check is to have a look at the spacing above the espresso puck and below the shower plate. If a grinder is dispensing too much coffee and hitting the shower plate the coffee will not have enough room to expand as it is brewing. If you want to increase the dose of your coffee but find the above keeps happening, changing the brew basket in the group handle to a larger one should solve this.

From the grinder

Levelled by hand

Tamped and "blessed"


TEXTURED MILK
(For Latte, Flat White, Hot Chocolate)

Fill milk jug to bottom of the spout.

Purge the steam wand to ensure there is no water in it - only steam (if you leave it for more than a few seconds purge it again before use).

Place the end of the steam wand underneath the milk and turn the steam knob fully on.

Slowly lower the jug so the end of the steam wand is on this surface of the milk which should create a smooth consistent hissing sound.

Hold it there for around 5 seconds.

Then...

Once held, lift the milk jug up so the end of the steam wand is submerged in the milk and then tilt the jug.

This will create a whirlpool in the milk which will texture it to create a small amount of foam.

Continue to tilt the jug until the milk is at the correct temperature.

Once the milk is heated bang the jug on the counter to release any larger bubbles, gently swirl the milk to mix with the foam and pour quickly into the cup to allow both the milk and espresso to mix.

Always wipe the steam wand after use with a dedicated wet cloth, and purge it to remove any milk from inside.

FOAMED MILK
(For Cappuccino And Mocha)

Fill milk jug to bottom of the spout.

Purge the steam wand to ensure there is no water in it - only steam (if you leave it for more than a few seconds purge it again before use).

Place the end of the steam wand underneath the milk and turn the steam knob fully on.

Slowly lower the jug so the end of the steam wand is on this surface of the milk which should create a smooth consistent hissing sound.

Hold it there for around 5 seconds.

Then...

As the milk rises, gently lower the jug down to allow the end of the steam wand to stay on the surface of the milk.

Repeat this process until the milk reaches its temperature - the milk should have roughly doubled in volume.

Once the milk is heated bang the jug on the counter to release any larger bubbles, gently swirl the milk to mix with the foam and slowly pour from a close distance into the cup, folding the milk onto the espresso

Always wipe the steam wand after use with a dedicated wet cloth, and purge it to remove any milk from inside.

Rest and Polish:

Once the milk is ready, give the jug one solid thump on the counter to disperse any big bubbles and then leave it to sit while you put the espresso shots on. Then, before pouring, swirl the milk around the jug to "polish" the milk and to make sure the milk and micro-foam are together. The more shiny the milk the better, but don't be too rough otherwise you'll make new bubbles. You want the milk to look like wet paint.

If you used a big jug you will want to distribute the foam between the different coffees. A handy tip is to "spilt" your milk by pouring half of your milk into a smaller jug, this lets you have more control of how much foam you add to your milk-based espresso drinks.

The temperature of the milk will have a huge impact on the taste. Milk up to and below 68 degrees Celsius retains its natural sugars and will have a much more smooth velvety texture. This is the standard that is expected in a good coffee outlet.

Milk over this temperature will add bitterness to the coffee as the sugars are missing and will not be able to maintain a rich, glossy texture. It will also smell different (burnt milk is sometimes likened to a baby sick smell!).

Extra hot milk (we call it burnt)...

You may find customers requesting extra hot drinks. This is up to the discretion of each individual outlet as the decision of serving the customer what they want or not compromising on the standard of drink served needs to be considered.


Once the shot has extracted

Looking at the coffee puck, the surface should be even without bubbles or big channels. A light imprint of the shower plate is fine, but avoid a strong imprint as this means that the coffee has not been able to expand.

Other signs to look out for;

  • coffee grounds in the bottom of the cup - your grind is probably too fine
  • dark oily stains in your filter basket - you are probably tamping too hard


Espresso Based Drinks - Overview

DRINK

HOW MANY SHOTS

12oz / 16oz

TYPE OF MILK (see guide)

Drink Build

Espresso

1 (single) / 2 (double)

n/a

Hot cup – Espresso

Espresso Macchiato

1 (single) / 2 (double)

Foamed

Espresso – Topped with spot of foamed milk

Americano

Double Ristretto / Double Espresso

Cold Milk on Side

Hot Water – Espresso on top

Flat White

Double Espresso

Textured

Espresso – Milk

Piccolo

Double Ristretto

Textured

Espresso – Milk

Latte

Double Ristretto / Double Espresso

Textured

Espresso – Milk

Flavoured Latte

Double Ristretto / Double Espresso

Textured

Syrup – Espresso - Milk

Cappuccino

Double Ristretto / Double Espresso

Foamed

Espresso - Milk

Mocha

Double Ristretto / Double Espresso

Foamed

Espresso – Milk and Chocolate Powder (Heated in jug together)

Hot Chocolate

1 x 25g Scoop / 1.5 x 25g

Textured

Milk – Chocolate powder (Heated in jug together)

Flavoured Hot Choc

1 x 25g Scoop / 1.5 x 25g

Textured

Syrup – Milk and Chocolate Powder (Heated in jug together)

Chai Latte

1 x 28g Scoop / 1.5 x28g Scoop

Textured

Milk and Chai powder (Heated in jug together

Dirty Chai

Double Ristretto / Double Espresso

Textured

Espresso – Milk and Chai Powder (Heated in jug together)

Vanilla Chai

1 x 25g Scoop / 1.5 x 25g Scoop

Textured

Syrup - Milk and Chai Powder (Heated in jug together)


Daily Espresso Machine Cleaning Procedure

A minimum of 4 times per day...

Use your blank filter in your pan handle to back-wash each group head. The goal of this exercise is to remove any loose coffee grounds that have built-up between the screen and the brewing head during the normal use of the machine. The blank filter will not allow water to pass through, so this water is forced back through the screen and brewing head and the loose grounds are dislodged into the blank pan handle.

  1. Choose a pan handle (either single or double), remove the filter with a teaspoon being careful not to cause damage and insert the blank filter into the handle you have chosen.
  2. Using the continuous pour button on the espresso machine, let hot water circulate in the brewing head for 8 – 10 sec. Push the continuous pour button again to stop the pump. Do not let the process continue much beyond 20 seconds as eventually damage can be caused to the machine.
  3. Remove the handle and look to see how much coffee is in the blank disc. Repeat the above process for a second time. Stop the pump.
  4. Repeat the back-washing process for a 3rd time.
  5. If the coffee grounds don’t clear within 3 attempts, you need to back-wash more frequently.

At the end of every day...

  1. Remove the bean hopper from the grinder and rinse with warm water, or using the steam pipe on the machine to eject steam into the hopper and wipe immediately with a damp cloth to dry and remove any coffee oils. Do not use soap because this will taint your beans and ruin your drinks and do not use abrasive scourers because this will damage the hopper. Replace bean hopper onto grinder.
  2. De-tanning at the end of every day - Pour ½ teaspoon of Brewclens powder into your blank filter and proceed with back-washing steps three and four outlined in the daily cleaning procedures above. For the detergent to be effective allow the water to run for 20 seconds, as opposed to 8-10 seconds stated in step four of the daily cleaning procedures. Again, repeat the above steps until the water runs clear. Run fresh water through each group head to rinse. Do not use too much powder. Back-wash (as above) and rinse thoroughly.

Want to know more ? Want to be a professional barista ?

The only way is to get professional training, and then practice, then practice some more, and be uncompromising in your standards and customer service.

barista training courses

Taster Course Beginner : 4 Hours

Latte Art 1
For those with no experience in coffee making that want to get an insight into the exciting world of coffee. On our coffee barista taster course you will be shown what goes into making great coffee and why freshness, grind and maintenance are so important.

Barista Skills Level 1 Beginner : 6 Hours

Latte Art 2
Developed by the BSA for people new or relatively new to the position of barista and only available in BSA certified training centres - that's us ;-)

Latte Art Course Intermediate : 4 Hours

Latte Art 3

On average it takes 3 hours to train a competent barista in the basic techniques of latte art then the rest of the time is spent on practice and perfection. You will learn how to free-pour Hearts, Rosetta's and an Indian Chiefs head(!) as well as an introduction to etching.

Cupping and Sensory Intermediate : 6 Hours

Latte Art 4

You will learn how to taste and recognize the different flavours and aromas in single origin coffees.

A selection of some of the best coffees available on the market today from around the world will be on the cupping table.

Alternative Brewing Methods Intermediate : 4 Hours

Latte Art 5

There is life beyond the espresso...

You will be trying and tasting some of the best coffees around including well established blends and seasonal single origins using a French Press, Chemex, Pour over Aeropress and syphon brewing methods.

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