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In need of some help

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  • In need of some help

    Hi all
    This is my first post I am new to all the forum stuff but I am very stuck and in need of some advice.
    I work in a cafe in a shopping center and the air conditioning changes with the amount of people coming in and out of the center, the only problem is it causes havoc with our beans, we cant seem to regulate the temperature enough to get a consistent grind. We grind on demand obviously, but we are constantly having to change the grinder and its driving me and my boss crazy.
    Any ideas on regulating the temperature would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks heaps

  • #2
    Re: In need of some help

    I think the right answer is that having to change the grind regularly is just part of the process. Anything that you do to change the temperature outside of ambient is going to just cause more problems.


    • #3
      Re: In need of some help

      No doubt with heat and humidity changes you do have to tighten or loosen more often.  But its not THAT much worse or harder than normal.  Maybe there is something else going on here.  If you watch all your shots and everything else is consistant then you should see it start to change.


      • #4
        Re: In need of some help

        Have you checked your dosing and the amount of beans in your hopper before you adjust the grind?....If there are any inconsistencies in this it could explain erratic extractions

        If you are running the hopper near empty and then fill it up, the extra weight can cause different extraction times with out touching anything.Always pays to check everything before adjusting grind...start with yourselves( the barista) first and work your way back.....tamping, dosing, etc.

        might be worth a try.....good luck!

        ps shopping centres are usually pretty temperature regulated


        • #5
          Re: In need of some help

          Thanks for all the suggestions.
          We have checked all the tamping, dosages etc. Our trainer is due in a couple of weeks, so maybe he will find some sort of inconsistency with me or my boss.
          We dont object to having to change the grind through out the day, what we object to is the fact our grind doesnt stay consistent for more than 10minutes
          We have talked to center management and they have told us that the temperature control is regulated by the amount of people in the center, we are guessing some sort of sensor.
          Maybe i can convince my boss its time for a new grinder!
          Thanks again for all the suggestions


          • #6
            Re: In need of some help

            do you both make coffee at the same time ?
            or your boss makes coffee for a while then you for a while?

            if your both doing it at the same time that might be the issue, he tamps / doses harder or lighter less more etc


            • #7
              Re: In need of some help

              Im just wondering if the espresso machine is really close to an aircon outlet. If so, that could account for rapid variations in temp/humidity as the centres air conditioning tries to counteract minor overall changes with something that is locally much greater.

              Just a thought, but it seems we are all trying to help with very limited knowledge of the environment, so all advice is naturally only guesswork.


              • #8
                Re: In need of some help

                How/where are you storing your beans prior to grinding? Store the bag you will use next to the grinder so that they share the same temperature experienced by those in the hopper.

                Adjusting the grind every ten minutes sounds very extreme for temperature and humidity factors... One of the pros here must have seen something similar to this and worked through it... Faulty grinder, machine, ???

                Let us know when you work it out... Its an interesting dilemma especially if its not inconsistent grind/dose/tamp!


                • #9
                  Re: In need of some help

                  Yeah, I agree with what has been said previously.
                  Having to change the grind every 10mins seems very extreme.
                  However, a person I used to work with kept complaining that the grind needed to be changed, and one second they were gushing, and next theyd be choking.
                  On closer inspection, he was dosing EXTREMELY inconsistently, which was the cause of the issue.
                  By the way, the store was also located in a shopping centre.


                  • #10
                    Re: In need of some help

                    Welcome to CS.


                    The bold / capital letters are not for anything other than to indicate the relative importance of this......which is absolutely critical. If you ahve a problem with your meat, do you call an independent consultant or do you call your butcher????????????

                    2) Your "trainer" (who should at least initially be part of your coffee suppliers system and NOT an independent.....apologies in advance of course to all the honest and truly "independent" trainers amongst us) should FIRSTLY OBSERVE without getting in the way or talking or interacting with the operators, for a substantial period during your peak time, taking notes, before coming back later in the day with his findings and a plan of action re training.

                    3) I wouldnt be surprised to find the trainer coming back later in the day with news that there is a lack of consistency in your coffee making technique. This is not an insult but a fantastic opportunity to upgrade the level of you and your fellow staffs knowledge and expertise.

                    4) Many people think they are doing the "right thing" adopting the technique of "grinding on demand" but without the proper knowledge it just gets them into trouble with inconsistent technique in dosing and tamping (see (3) above).

                    5) Not sure whether anyone mentioned this in the posts above but it isnt ***temperature*** but humidity that will change the relative density of the grinds causing the occasional need to readjust the equipment.

                    6) The reason for getting your training through your supplier is because any half decent supplier also wants the coffee to be made properly or it will reflect badly on them as well as the cafe, so it is in their best interests to see to it that all your concerns are dealt with Properly and Promptly (you say your trainer is due in a couple of weeks.......che? Once a problem has been identified, it must be rectified ASAP not in a couple a weeks).

                    Unfortunately, experience has dictated that some "independent" trainers have their own quite separate agenda going and are not really "independent" at the same time as they are upgrading your expertise they can at the same time be needling you about the services you get from your supplier and are trying to get their own foot in the door. This can cause unnecessary problems where they didnt previously exist and cause antagionism in the supplier / client relationship eg where the supplier may be advising you to do something one way (and remember...its their beans), but the staff have been given conflicting information from the trainer.  Note also the very real effect of "client psychology", where clients tend to discount the value of information given to them by their supplier "with compliments", and over value the information given to them by their "independent consultant" to whom they are paying a fee.

                    Thats all just everyday business, and "Business & Sales Psych AO1" Im afraid.

                    Other opinions most welcome.

                    All the best,
                    very first CS site sponsor.


                    • #11
                      Re: In need of some help

                      I agree with Attilio,

                      Your supplier has a vested interest in the success of your business, so if they value your business, they should be able to help you if you ask for their help.

                      In my home being non air conditioned, i have coffee mornings and afternoons.
                      The temperature can vary up to 10 degrees and different % of humidity due to the machine being on top of a washing machine in the laundry with the window letting in the afternoon sun.
                      Summer temperatures can reach up to 30 deg celcius in there.
                      My results have not varied much and have been more or less consistent.

                      A shopping center environment should be much more consistent than mine.

                      Working in a fine dining restaurant, I have assisted other employees when they have issues and are puzzled as to why, so i show them the right technique
                      , thus were enlightened.

                      Yes, temperature and humidity will factor in, but not as much as technique such as dosing, tamping, pre-flushing, post flushing, machine temperature stability etc.

                      Speak to your supplier. Hope you will get the answers soon. All the best.

                      Gary at G


                      • #12
                        Re: In need of some help

                        Another excellent post Attilio..... [smiley=tekst-toppie.gif]



                        • #13
                          Re: In need of some help

                          arh shucks Mal, appreciate it!



                          • #14
                            Re: In need of some help

                            Hi all
                            Thankyou for all the replies, as it turns out our grinder was the issue, So now we have a brand new grinder, my boss decided it was a better option than getting the old one repaired. I must admit makes me feel a whole lot better, i was beginning to think it was me, and was losing confidence in my ability.
                            You were right Attilio, our trainer who is from our coffee supplier was highly annoyed that we didnt emphasize the problem enough so that we had someone come sooner. The only reason he came earlier than expected as he decided to have some time off after easter, which i guess was a blessing in disguise for us.
                            He did also suggest that we get the aircon duct that is in the roof slightly behind the machine moved, just to stop the cold air conflicting with the body heat and heat from the machine itself.
                            Im just one very happy person that the problem is now fixed and I can stop tearing my hair out and tormenting my husband
                            Thankyou once again for all your help, everyone is so knowledgeable and friendly.


                            • #15
                              Re: In need of some help

                              Hopefully its a simple matter of choosing a strategic position for re-locating a duct and closing off the existing one, and thats something you have to approach the center management for.

                              Personally, if theres not much of a draft, that air con situation wont factor in much at all.
                              As i mentioned, my house temperatures varies a lot. My technique (or inconsistency of technique) would be the greatest factor in the end results.

                              Follow through by letting us how you went with the new grinder and the changes you undertake to the air conditioning.

                              Gary at G