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Thread: A few general questions and WTF moments.

  1. #1
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    A few general questions and WTF moments.

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Ill be starting work in a couple weeks at a new coffee house opening up smack dab in the middle of a city, extremely prime location, at least 10,000 people walk past its location in a day, perhaps more.

    With that said, you can understand it a commercial scene with two x three group machines (they havent decided as to what brand they will go for yet) and two cimbali magnum grinders.

    All equipment is new, everything is brand new. Theyve asked me to come in a couple days before hand to run everything over, move things around and get a natural feel for the new place where Ill be running my grand show.

    Im an experienced barista in a sense that I know how to tamp correctly, I know what I should look for when pulling a shot and I should know what I should be tasting in my coffee and not be tasting. Ive been in the coffee scene for three years.

    Now for the questions:
    Is there anything I should look out for with brand new machines? Are they going to be a little touchy over a certain period or time until theyre broken in?

    Do new machines even need a breaking into.. This question also applies to the grinders, there seems to be a very subjective look into breaking in grinders, if it isnt proven to make a different, should I perhaps just run a few kilos of crappy beans through it just to make sure, for good measure?

    Ive noticed that in this stores other coffee shop, they order a special blend with no name and no date on the bags that arrive, this had me raise an eyebrow and Ive yet to bring it up with management if this is what I will be working with in the future. Should I bring it up? Something about throwing beans into the grinder without even knowing the roasting date really puts me off, just the thought of it or should I be looking at the taste of the bean through the coffee machine or how the beans look and how the grind feels out of the bag.

    I noticed that the man running the management show is alledgely "ranked 7th in the world", can I get some confirmation on how thats checked? I was unaware of a massive ladder broadcasting who is the best from 1 to 10 in the Championships around the world in coffee.

    When I went for a trial at their other shop to show them my stuff, with my usual tamping pressure, leveling, etc, I locked it into the la cimbali they have running there and noticed my shot coming out in five seconds flat, blonding within a second. I stood there shocked and almost like "What the @#$ did I just do, did I do something?" and tried three more times with a different approach to check if it was me. It was not me, it had to be the grinder I thought, so I changed the grind bit by bit till I got a nice, dark tailed flow of coffee pouring out of the pf from the machine.

    It went slower and I at the very least could get a 20 second+ shot out of it from changing the grind; however, it still went fairly blond before the usual 27 - 30 second benchmark and I reached a point where I did not understand why, could someone perhaps explain if thats normal or not normal? Could it possibly be that their machine was running a little hot and just need to be taken down a degree or half?

    After changing the grind from 14 on the la cimbali grinder to 9-10 and pulling through consistently more stable shots, the 7th ranked in the world man came in, locked in a pf with his shot and said to me "why did you change the grind, its to stay on 14" "Its pouring too slow" and then proceeded to taste my shot, which he actually didnt comment on at all.

    Did I tread on something I shouldnt have? Im a tad worried, I really didnt want to insult another barista, I dont know his background, but inside of me I just felt something could be better.

    Also, with the milk, every other person on the machine stretched/heated the milk to the point it smelled a little sour and even tasted strange. They all used a thermometer and stopped at the apparent 60 degree mark on it and that was that--now I dont use a thermometer myself, I use my hand and personal judgement, and when I pulled my hand away at the usual sense during heating milk, using the thermometer as a guide to see where Im going, it was showing 50-55 degrees, yet the milk tasted fine, was still hot and didnt scold my tongue. Another wtf moment ensued inside of me and I was left standing in a daze, confused by surroundings in this place.

    At the end of the day, I left my Barista-trial with a head full of questions that couldnt be answered because the manager was no where to be seen--too busy apparently and I, left questioning my own ability and stance on coffee..

    Please, I beg of you all, tell me honestly in your opinion, from the information I have supplied and questions, what the hell just happened.

  2. #2
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    Re: A few general questions.

    Also, the grinder I was using was a La Cimbali Magnum and the coffee machine was La Cimbali M22 Plus 3 group.

    Also, using the double shot button on the machine would result with 70ml-75ml

  3. #3
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    Re: A few general questions.

    i am not sure about some of these questions but some advice i would give is that running a few kilos of beans would help with the grinder as it can take away any of the chips or metal sticking out in the burrs .

    maybe when you get their recalibrate the thermometers . i find sticking it in the freezer or in a ice water slushy is best .

    with the new machine i find that the factory settings are always out of whack especially if it is fresh out of the boxs so i would reprogram it just to be certain . i find a good way is to go ristretto /double ristretto / espresso/double espresso .

    with the barista being 7th in the world ... i wouldnt ask him out directly but a good strategy i employ is to act like the wide eyed schoolboy that is really eager to learn and ask him question like "wow your 7th where can i find out more about the comps "

    thats about all i can help you with hoped it helped you :D

    oh yeah ps : if he is a barista that claims to have 10+ years of experience but has not updated his technique then that is probably why he says it stays on 14 as he believes that it keeps it consistient

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    Re: A few general questions and WTF moments.

    Quote Originally Posted by 310C0110170211630 link=1233926412/0#0 date=1233926412
    they order a special blend with no name and no date on the bags that arrive,
    WTF

    Quote Originally Posted by 310C0110170211630 link=1233926412/0#0 date=1233926412
    I noticed that the man running the management show is alledgely "ranked 7th in the world", can I get some confirmation on how thats checked? I was unaware of a massive ladder broadcasting who is the best from 1 to 10 in the Championships around the world in coffee.
    WTF? Maybe he is ranked 7 in your company? *

    Quote Originally Posted by 310C0110170211630 link=1233926412/0#0 date=1233926412
    the 7th ranked in the world man came in, locked in a pf with his shot and said to me "why did you change the grind, its to stay on 14" *
    WTF. *Just plain wrong. *Id be getting really worried/annoyed by now.

    Quote Originally Posted by 310C0110170211630 link=1233926412/0#0 date=1233926412
    They all used a thermometer and stopped at the apparent 60 degree mark on it and that was that--now I dont use a thermometer myself, I use my hand and personal judgement, and when I pulled my hand away at the usual sense during heating milk, using the thermometer as a guide to see where Im going, it was showing 50-55 degrees
    WTF AGAIN! Your way of doing things sounds perfect. * Especially with smaller jugs the milk keeps heating a few more degrees even after you turn the steam off. Much over 60 deg is burn time. *


    Sound like you are with a mob that dont really care or know how to make quality coffee. You will either have to put up with it and shut up, or try and change things - and the biggest barrier when you try to change things will probably be that noone their will know or care what a good shot tastes like. *
    This kind of crap bothers and bemuses me quite frankly - its not that bloody hard (or more costly or even much more timeconsuming) to get it right! *



  5. #5
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    Re: A few general questions and WTF moments.

    If you want the job I am afraid you have to go with whatever your employer wants you to do.

    That said, here are a couple of tips:
    a) Speak with the coffee supplier when he comes around;
    b) speak to the owner of the business.

    NEVER tell them what you think or what they should be doing or they will not listen. It simple psychology. *You need to ask them questions designed to make them think about the quality of the establishment they want to present and ask them if they they have considered making the esp in the more traditional way in view of the growing sophistication in coffee drinkers....or some such thing (Im only giving you an example). Basically you will ask questions and make suggestins and if they like what you are SELLING THEM you may get some attention and you may even get yourself some responsibility in the job.

    If you push your way around you wont be there long, and do be mindful that most people think they are doing the right thing even if they are not....so in my opinion *I dont think you need get into the "...they dont care..." frame of mind someone above mentioned. Often "caring" has nothing to do with it as just stated, some people are doing the wrong thing but they dont realise or dont know because maybe no one has ever showed them or whatever....... The market is still developing, education is still happening, & new people are getting into it. Be pateint it will happen it just cant happen over night.


    Go easy and be tactful....you never know your luck in *a big country.

  6. #6
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    Re: A few general questions and WTF moments.

    Totally agree with what you say Dennis.

    "Change things" probably the wrong words. Better ones would be "educate" or as you said "selling them" your skills and show them what a good cup could do for their business.

    It will be as much an opportunity as it will be a challenge.

  7. #7
    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Re: A few general questions and WTF moments.

    Once you get used to the equipment, one day make them all a great coffee and let them think for themselves about how they prepare their coffee. If the no-name blend is no good, bring a bag of good beans.

  8. #8
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    Re: A few general questions and WTF moments.

    They may be on a contract that locks them into using the suppliers beans for a period of time

    Anyway if you need to have the grind setting on 14 and its blonding quickly you need to tamp harder to compensate

    KK


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    Re: A few general questions and WTF moments.

    Quote Originally Posted by 042029292A2A1004203C22204F0 link=1233926412/7#7 date=1233968365
    They may be on a contract that locks them into using the suppliers beans for a period of time

    Anyway if you need to have the grind setting on 14 and its blonding quickly you need to tamp harder to compensate

    KK
    Or overdose like crazy! And/Or bring in a 21gram basket.

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    Re: A few general questions and WTF moments.

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    There seemed to be some misunderstanding with if I was approved for the job or not, have to wait a week to find out. But, when I inquired about the roasting dates of the bags to him the next day, he stated "I know what the roasting date is and thats all that is important". Considering there are three other stores under the name and an alleged 20+ in the future business prospects, I cant help but wonder what local roaster can support such a high volume here in Perth, WA.



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