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Playing at Barista

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  • Playing at Barista

    After ripping through 14 litres of milk yesterday in exquisitely careful latte art/soy sauce practise, today I played at being Barista to my local church group for the first time, with my Macap M4 and single group manual VBM Super.

    Under pressure a number of things came to the fore.

    Mess. Workflow. Workspace. Too large foam cups at the church meaning double-shots every cup, and twice as much milk to microfoam and therefore half the speed getting them out to the group. Gave up on latte art in the first pour! Stuck to cappas. The ginormous cups didnt fit under the spout. Forgot my knock-box  > ended up with a wooden bar across a plugged sink. Messsssy.

    The good news: everyone loved the "great" coffee and I was invited to participate in a Hunter Region focused food fair. 8-)

    Hah! Im not that good yet! You gotta give what the customers want, and Im afraid at present, its my way or no way, based on what kind of microfoam Im producing under pressure. :

    Good fun though.

  • #2
    Re: Playing at Barista

    Interesting to hear your comments. Ive been asked to coordinate coffees for a community event at our church at Christmas time. It is serving coffees after the main event (carols etc) to up to 300 people.

    I think that Ill be out of my depth but will give it a go. Was currently planning on using my 2 group Nuova Simonelli for the majorities of the coffees. Backed up with my brothers BZ-35. Dont have a good grinder for the night and was thinking about where I could borrow a commerical/high end grinder for a night in Brisbane. Thinking either asking the question on this forum or chasing a few coffee shops or roasters to see what I can borrow for the night

    Good to hear about a few of the issues that you had and Ill need to take them into account. Already starting a check list in my head

    1. plumbing
    2. big table
    3. ELECTRICITY
    4. Knock box
    ... Good thing I have a few month to prepare

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Playing at Barista

      michel, you will need someone to help you on the machine.

      The problem isnt serving 300 people - the problem is that they will all want their coffee at the same time.

      Dont forget to add coffee, a big grinder like a K10, milk - whole, skim, soy, jugs (big ones), cups, lids, chocolate for sprinkles and for hotties, commercial sized knockbox (you will fill it), sugar, stirrers, cups, tamper, backwash (yes, you need to do this too), cleaning cloths, extension lead, powerboard, and a car that it will all fit into, etc.

      I find it better to work with less space - less to keep clean and keeps the queues straight! ;D

      All too easy eh? - as long as you have fun.

      Cheers!

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Playing at Barista

        After what Dennis has said

        I am lucky the only crowd I need to please is family and guests

        Good Luck MC
        Dont forget the kitchen sink

        KK

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        • #5
          Re: Playing at Barista

          Thanks Dennis,

          Im planning on keeping a few variables simple - flat white or long black only options

          Small cups - single shots

          But yes will need at least a couple of helpers ... main concern is the grinder at this stage. Any offers??? For just one night??

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Playing at Barista

            Intellidepth! Good on you for taking the plunge. You never know if youre going to like doing something like that until you try it!

            I wouldnt bother with all the milk variables either, michel...

            I think youd do fine with just having Lite White and when you get those skim milk orders, just tell them youve only got that...it will keep them happy. Most of my skim milk customers, if I tell them Ive only got lite white at the time are happy with lite white. Also the normal milk customers cant tell the difference between full and lite either...

            In fact, Id like to bet that the average coffee drinker could not tell the difference between either skim, lite white or full cream milk anyway...especially if the milk has been steamed correctly.

            And Ive given out enough full cream milk drinks as skim (because of one reason or another...all legitimate! ) and Ive never had someone come back and say "Hey, my milk wasnt skim like I ordered!"

            A tip with your coffee quantities...usually at work, Ill get close to 100 coffees out of a kilo of beans. Thats depending on whether I get one or two shots from each portafilter. I dont weigh the coffee I put in the so I dont know exactly how much coffee it takes for that. I use the larger double baskets in our machine. But you could probably figure that one out yourself too, if youre using your own machine.

            And, you could also probably be pretty sure that not ALL of the 300 people are going to want coffee either. Especially if it is a hot summers night!

            Good luck, michel...Im sure youll do fine. And any questions just keep asking!

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Playing at Barista

              Originally posted by michel_c link=1223190897/0#4 date=1223199193
              ... main concern is the grinder at this stage.  Any offers???  For just one night?
              Gday Michel ...

              I have a spare Anfim Super Lusso commercial grade grinder I can lend to you for the evening - shes a bewdy under pressure, and can fit close to 2kgs in the hopper to minimise wasted time re-filling beans. Send me a pm, as Im Briz based.

              Apart from that, I reckon Dennis has pretty well covered all the other peripherals youll need. However, wheres your water going to be pumped/sourced from? External containers, or are you plumbing the machines in somehow?

              Id also second what Dennis suggested with having an assistant ... have a notepad with columns, use abbreviated terms for orders, & note peoples names next to their order if the queue is starting to snake outside the door.

              Tony

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Playing at Barista

                Youre a legend Tony!!!

                Ill PM the details to you and Ill pick it up and get some instruction...

                Whooo!!! Now Im getting excited (and scared)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Playing at Barista

                  Re the milk, while not having all the variables is not a big deal, I find it is appreciated. If you do choose to offer these youd probably be lucky to go through a litre of soy and 3-4 litres of skim.

                  You might also like to consider UHT - no refrigeration required and any left overs can be put aside for next time.

                  Hot chocs are a pain because they take longer to prep, though if this is a family Christmas type function, it might be nice to have it or an alternative available, particularly for children. I guess it all depends on your perspective and understandably, you do have to set some boundaries as to what you will and wont offer.

                  Of course, Scoota is right about not everyone drinking coffee, but those who like it may come back for a 2nd. Others may want tea - something you can add to the list and easy-peasy.

                  By the end of the night youll probably feel like seeking out the people who didnt get anything from you and thanking them for it! It really is hard work, and very satisfying too - people are genuinely grateful and thats a huge buzz!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Playing at Barista

                    No worries mate ...

                    Just need to know what bean youll be using for the night, & the roast date, to consider grind settings.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Playing at Barista

                      Hey Intellidepth, well done to you for giving it a real go! Just wondering what coffee you used. Did you roast your own?

                      Cheers, Andrew.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Playing at Barista

                        Originally posted by Dennis link=1223190897/0#8 date=1223272438
                        Re the milk, while not having all the variables is not a big deal, I find it is appreciated. If you do choose to offer these youd probably be lucky to go through a litre of soy and 3-4 litres of skim.

                        You might also like to consider UHT - no refrigeration required and any left overs can be put aside for next time.
                        And thats the consideration for these folk doing a one off. At least those who are doing this regularly can use the left over milk in the next day or so. Hence the suggestion to reduce the milk variables for michel.

                        Of course, if you are left with heaps of milk, you can either freeze it or sell it off to anyone. Whatever you do, you should try to recoup any costs, IMHO.

                        I reckon use fresh if possible. UHT is just not as good and most people can tell the difference between the fresh and long life.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Playing at Barista

                          ayjayro: I used Andys Espresso Wow. Always a winner with my guests. Im afraid Im still a novice when it comes to home roasting.

                          UHT: ick. Sorry, but I cant stand the stuff. Why taint great coffee with it? At a church function you often know people who are willing to take a few fresh litres home at a reduced price.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Playing at Barista

                            I only said to consider UHT. If Id known it was a dirty word I wouldnt have mentioned it. Personally, I think UHT Skim is miles better than fresh skim as it tastes like milk rather than white water.

                            Anyway, each to their own.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Playing at Barista

                              Originally posted by Dennis link=1223190897/0#8 date=1223272438
                              You might also like to consider UHT - no refrigeration required and any left overs can be put aside for next time.
                              Dennis, thats the dodgiest thing youve ever said on these forums......

                              Comment

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