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Classic Quotes from a real-life Cafe.....

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  • Classic Quotes from a real-life Cafe.....

    Hey all,

    Just had to share this as it kept me amused for the majority of the evening.....

    Family friends of mine have a convenience store/cafe in St.Kilda Rd Melbourne.

    I regularly drop in to say hi and make myself an ordinary coffee whilst there. In return, I give their machine a quick clean and make sure all is running as best as it can considering their attitude toward coffee and lack of group cleaning brush, backflush solution, grinder cleaning brush........

    Last night I dropped in, business was farily quiet so I decided to do a PROPER clean and adjust.

    Firstly the grinder....a Mazzer Super Jolly. I asked "Do you regularly clean the hopper?" The reply was - "But it is clear plastic and it doesnt look dirty.....we havent taken it off since opening.") [2 years ago!!!!!]

    Second question - "When did you last adjust the grinder?" Reply "The service guy comes in every few months and does it." I go to adjust the collar and find it is jammed. Closer inspection reveals that the service tech has placed a screw into the collar to prevent it from being adjusted.....something to do with last time I fiddled with it.....

    So I set the machine up to pour as best as it can - no tamper other than the one on the grinder that is too small - and achieve a reasonable espresso...considering the above highlighted issues.

    I then get the response "That is pouring way too slow, we dont have time to wait for a trickle...we want it to flow straight out so we can get the coffee out quickly." I began to explain why that is a bad thing but then decided not to bother.

    I adjusted the grinder back to how it was with a 10 sec pour using 12 grams of coffee in a double basket, calmy sat down and ate my toasted Turkish pide that I had made earlier.

    There should be some sort of regulation on the word cafe. :

    Regards,

    James



  • #2
    Re: Classic Quotes from a real-life Cafe.....

    You know, thats not such a bad idea. Give cafes with coffee that meets certain standards a stamp of approval... and something that can be displayed in/on a window/sign so that even if you have never been to, seen, or heard of a place you still know that you will get a decent coffee.

    Of course, when businesses change hands quality does tend to shift so it probably isnt a workable idea.

    Ah well... maybe one day.

    Grant

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Classic Quotes from a real-life Cafe.....

      I think that seal-of-approval has merit, but maybe for the barista not the premises!

      >I then get the response "That is pouring way too slow, we dont have time to wait for a trickle...we want it to flow straight out so we can get the coffee out quickly."

      Sad but true. Someone who contributes here lost his gig for similar reasons, the shop wants fast pours not quality extractions by the sound of things

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Classic Quotes from a real-life Cafe.....

        Is the cafe a successful business, coffee wise?

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Classic Quotes from a real-life Cafe.....

          I cant recall ever seeing someone making coffee that had to wait for the espresso to finish pouring. Usual order of things goes:
          Grind
          Tamp (if youre lucky)
          Insert and start pour
          Grab jug and milk
          Steam for 20 seconds or so...
          Pour milk.

          There is plenty of time for at least a 20 second pour in there somewhere.

          NB: Example given for milk coffees, ie the majority of coffees made in every commercial place I know.

          Just thinking out loud as usual.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Classic Quotes from a real-life Cafe.....

            Originally posted by JM link=1134598251/0#2 date=1134623248
            I think that seal-of-approval has merit, but maybe for the barista not the premises!
            Why not get the barista comp judges to certify baristi in regular cafes for a modest fee. It will be overlooked completely for the first few years, but will eventually pick up momentum ...

            Also, I would like to see the baristi drink their own espresso.

            Cheers,

            Luca

            PS. I left a cafe that refused to let me adjust the grind or backflush the machine to work at Maltitude. It was a decision that I had little difficulty regretting!

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Classic Quotes from a real-life Cafe.....

              The "baristas" or coffee-pullers I have contact with seem to know WHICH buttons to press, but they dont know WHY.

              You ask them a fundamental, such as how many mills in a shot, and they dont know.

              "I just press the buttons and the machine does the rest".

              It seems the cafe owner shows them how to work the machine, but they remain ignorant of the underlying processes.

              Robusto

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Classic Quotes from a real-life Cafe.....

                Originally posted by robusto link=1134598251/0#6 date=1134863875
                The "baristas" or coffee-pullers I have contact with seem to know WHICH buttons to press, but they dont know WHY.

                You ask them a fundamental, such as how many mills in a shot, and they dont know.

                "I just press the buttons and the machine does the rest".

                It seems the cafe owner shows them how to work the machine, but they remain ignorant of the  underlying processes.

                Robusto
                At best they can only be called coffee making robots......dont tarnish the term "barista" on these droids....btw- I do know a trainer who might be able to help them   8-)

                Chris

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Classic Quotes from a real-life Cafe.....

                  Before an alcoholic can redeem him/herself, and be helped, they have to reach a stage called rock bottom.

                  Thats when they ADMIT their problem.  Until then, in their minds they are not alcoholics and therefore dont need help.

                  Ditto for cafe owners. Where ignorance is bliss, it is folly to be wise. Ignorance keeps them in bliss and to show them wisdom is mere folly, for they dont know any better about coffee and the shortcomings of their own brews.  

                  Weve probably gone down this road before, but I feel like a whinge....

                  Cafes and coffee arent the only culprits. How many "restaurants" serve up food below par.  How many "waiters" are untrained kids earning a buck.  

                  Take toast. What could be more generic, simpler, more universal than toast.  

                  Ordering it is fraught with nervous anticipation: Will it be toasted on one side only?  Will it be  a couple of slices of bread thrown under a griller so its dehydrated without any sign of browing?   Will the butter be dabbed on so it creates a little puddle in the middle only -- not spread.

                  Im sick of sending it back -- its not brain surgery, its toast.  If it aint browned it aint toast: its just unpalatable bread.  

                  Does one now have to state with the order: "Two pieces of bread, evenly grilled on both sides until the colour approximates a tan-brown hue, lightly buttered all over, and if I see any white of the bread showing through its not toast"?   Because Im telling you folks, a lot of "chefs" and their waiters simply do not know.


                  You ask for a cold drink and they bring a hot glass straight out of the dishwashers steaming cycle.

                  Not that I have sugar any more, but how many coffee pullers bother to ask if you want sugar.   They used to whince when I asked it be put in the takeaway cup and stirred.  What was I supposed to stir it in with, my pen?


                  Ro "got that off my chest and I feel better for it" busto

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Classic Quotes from a real-life Cafe.....

                    Its an interesting paradox with chefs sometimes. You could have the most innovative culinary genius on the planet, yet he cant make a decent omelette to save his life. Its often a case of being too specialised. I often question the meaning of mod oz cuisine. What dishes are inherently Australian? You could ask the same questions about American dishes. Everything has been done before in some way, shape or form. You just take known ideas, and add some sort of creative twist, combining ingredients that you wouldnt even think of puting in the same pot, and voila! instant culinary masterpiece.

                    Coffee is very similar. Theres no real "new" way to extract flavour out of coffee. Hot water and ground coffee. The only creative bit is what you add to the extraction. Milk steamed to differing degrees, flavoured syrups, egg nog, etc. Next youll see something silly, like a poached egg cooked in a double espresso.

                    I take an example of one of my cousins-in-law. They own a cafe near Central, in Hong Kong. In a recent visit, I was discussing coffee with them at length. They rely heavily on a superauto machine to do the coffee for them. They also have access to very good quality coffee, (Blue Mountain, but I think they might be getting ripped off, not getting the genuine article) yet they only give out an average result at best. Not to mention they really arent even barista trained. The superauto takes away all the guesswork at the push of a button. Thats how they do business, theyre not too passionate about coffee, as theyre really looking at the business overall. Frankly, I dont blame them. You do what you have to do to finish in the black at the end of the day.

                    The cafe owners who have button-pushing zombies are probably doing the same.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Classic Quotes from a real-life Cafe.....

                      Hmmm... interesting thread.

                      How about something like the "national heart foundation tick" for coffee creators?

                      The "CoffeeSnobs Tick" could awarded to any coffeemaker in the country that has won the approval of 5 CS members.

                      They would wear it with pride and unlike forever-certifications if 5 members later gave the thumbs-down they would loose CS-tick badge.

                      How great would it be to wander into a cafe for the first time and see a CS-tick on the person behind the espresso machine and know the coffee you were about to get met a minimum CS standard of prep?

                      We have a big enough membership around the country to make this happen and to maintain the "certification". We have enough diversity that on average we would be fair and just.

                      I like the concept... a lot!

                      Thoughts?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Classic Quotes from a real-life Cafe.....

                        Would the cafes in question tell you to get stuffed if you come bringing a badge or come to take it away from them?

                        We may know and appreciate what CS is, but does the general public have any idea of our existence? We could simply become some sort of national coffee foundation, and put our stamp of approval on cafes, but just how much work/capital would all this entail?

                        Nice idea, somewhat difficult to implement without extensive marketing.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Classic Quotes from a real-life Cafe.....

                          I think the "seal" should be out there. We could do an equivalent to the Age good food guide. The good coffee guide. 3 cups being the highest ranking. Not getting a mention unless they rated above a certain score.

                          And I think our seal needs a motto.
                          Something like:
                          "CoffeeSnobs reckon I make good coffee - what about you?"
                          Or
                          "This obsessive coffee guy gave me this badge. I wonder what it means!"

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Classic Quotes from a real-life Cafe.....

                            Hmm- it worries me. Such a system needs to be fair and equitable and based on a set of of measurable criteria and/or standards. There is naturally a wide variation in skill level and understanding of the whole espresso process and chemistry in the group. We are all somewhere along the learning curve. What somebody thinks is a great coffee may not meet the mark and vice versa. :-/

                            I would suggest that we be very careful about the implementation of this idea. How many for instance know the Australian standards for the espresso menu? How many can judge an espresso by taste alone? Can you identify reheated milk? Are you happy to drink espresso as well as milky drinks? If the answer to any of these questions is no, then its probably best that you just give the barista a pat on the back and let word of mouth do the communication.

                            Many self- appointed experts have tried to do this around town and been held to ridicule....beware CS members....

                            Chris

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Classic Quotes from a real-life Cafe.....

                              "This obsessive coffee guy gave me this badge. I wonder what it means!"
                              I like that!

                              Many self- appointed experts have tried to do this around town and been held to ridicule....beware CS members....
                              I agree with your warning Chris. I think this would be about a coffee maker (note my careful attempts at not using the B word) who at least attempts to do the right thing. Wipe the wand, adjust the grind, tamp and keep a clean(ish) work area against the inverse 10 second gush, screwed-grinder and milk left on the bench for hours.

                              Im not suggesting we rate coffee or provide cupping scores, more a holistic process awareness where those that care and are attempting to produce the best they can from the beans they have are rewarded and those that dont are ridiculed (in here and by their peers) until they improve (or go and get some training or at least buy a book!).

                              The problem with the "self appointed expert" is that it is only one persons (often paid) opinion.

                              A group of CSrs would need to agree before "hats" were awarded (if that was the process).

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