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Thread: Barista course...

  1. #1
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    Barista course...

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    We have just got Grinders on board to supply coffee to our restaurant - they are offering free courses to staff and I was wondering if anyone had undertaken one and if its worth trying to organise those interested to do it...???

  2. #2
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    Re: Barista course...

    It depends on the skill level of your staff and what level you want them to be at. These kinds of courses whilst delving deeper then how too produce a latte with a volumetric grinder and automatic machine rarely get into the real knitty gritty. As its grinders providing the training then I have big doubts about what they would cover in depth, bean variety or freshness, resting etc.

    My Sister thinks she is a good coffee maker and has done a course (With genovese I think.) Whilst she knows how to work the machinery in a cafe she remains unable to produce good coffee on my silvia and non-auto mazzer because she doesnt actually understand things like grind, dose, tamp and shot time/volume etc. Its likely that this stuff was covered in the course she did however the skills she demonstrates show they clearly wernt emphasised or taught in a way that she felt like going back to her cafe and using them.

    To be honest if you have a strong idea yourself on the techniques and practices you want used in your cafe then you are probably better off traning your staff yourself, perhaps out of hours.

  3. #3
    hazchem
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    Re: Barista course...

    Hi Bluey and welcome to coffeesnobs! Ive never personally completed any courses offered by grinders, but as a fellow snob and someone who eats out regularly I will make a VERY GENERAL comment. Nothing irritates me more than having an amazing meal, with delicious wines or other drinks, only to be served awful coffee. I have never understood why a good establishment that has clearly invested so much time and effort in sourcing seasonal, fresh ingredients, cooking them well, delivering them with a smile and good service, as well as providing the diner with great choices for wines, beer, etc will let their service fall down at the end of the meal by serving bad coffee. Even awarded/hatted restaurants have fallen over in this regard when Ive been lucky enough to eat there. [/end rant]

    If educating your staff about coffee service means that you are providing a full and complete dining experience for your customers, I say good on you and im sure your customers will appreciate it.

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    Re: Barista course...

    Muppet_man, hazchem - thanks for the replies...

    Where staff training is concerned, plain and simple, Im a shart trainer with little patience... Whilst I make a decent coffee, I dont make a fantastic coffee but at least Im consistent... Our floor manager makes a great coffee and he has persisted with trying to train the other staff, albeit with mixed results...

    I was kinda hoping sending them (and attending myself), they may take it a little more seriously for the very reason you, hazchem, mentioned - nothing worse than finishing great food and wine with crap coffee...

    On every other level the floor staff are valuable assets, its just the coffee that lets them down and it probably doesnt help that the two worst dont drink coffee themselves...

  5. #5
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    Re: Barista course...

    Im of the same opinion as hazchem when it comes to coffee after a meal letting the whole night down.

    My solution to this is to no longer have coffee after a meal or even not bothering to go to some restaurants any more to save myself the disappointment.

    Take the free course and do attend yourself; that way youll know what the staff were taught and they wont be able to give you any excuses.

    If you and the rest of the staff manage to produce consistently great coffee Im sure the business as a whole will benefit.

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    Re: Barista course...

    Without being out of hand, I wouldnt risk a grinders coffee at any restaurants I know unless they specifically mentioned trained (properly) baristi and a knowledge of the provenance & variables involved.

    Ive only had a couple of good coffees after a meal...

    Perhaps its worth organising a staff visit to somewhere like Mecca or Coffee Alchemy, Brother Baba Budan or Seven Seeds etc, to find out about coffee as a sensory experience, not just a drink?

    cheers,

    John

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    Re: Barista course...

    I will book the course and had every intention of partaking...

    coffeehorse, I think a trip to similar Melbourne based versions of the above mentioned will be phase two...

    We are not a cafe and coffee is not our life-blood but as the business owner and a snob, Id like the whole experience to be great...

  8. #8
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Barista course...

    I generally dont eat dessert.

    A lot of people do.

    Would you be happy to serve mediocre or below par desserts?
    Id guess not.
    Why should the coffee be any different?

    If you did serve desserts that detracted from the rest of the meal, what chance people would come back?

    If it were me and I couldnt deliver coffee to the same high standards as the rest of the meal, I wouldnt offer it.

    What I tried to say in my previous post was that if you get the coffee right people will be saying "You have to go, the foods great; even the coffee is fantastic".

    Memorable experiences (good ones) make people come back and recommend your establishment to others.

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    Re: Barista course...


    Three months ago I began supplying a restaurant nearby who were previously locked in with grinders. They serve modern Australian cuisine and desserts are about $15.

    The food is fantastic. The coffee they used to serve was awful.

    Worked with the owner/head chef to develop a blend exclusively for him and that he felt complemented his desserts. Checked and tweaked his equipment, trained his staff, and speak to him regularly.

    His coffee and dessert sales are up significantly. :) No contracts, a real signature blend that isnt available from the supermarket, has the restaurants name on it, and all for about the same price as grinders.

    By all means Bluey, go, and include your staff in grinders training course. If you and they pick up just one meaningful tip that will improve their skills and quality of whats in the cup then its worth it.

    Good luck with it all and call me when your contracts up...I had a laugh!

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    Re: Barista course...

    Quote Originally Posted by 6A564B505A5B4C59515A3E0 link=1252125847/7#7 date=1252140562
    I generally dont eat dessert.

    A lot of people do.

    Would you be happy to serve mediocre or below par desserts?
    Id guess not.
    Why should the coffee be any different?

    If you did serve desserts that detracted from the rest of the meal, what chance people would come back?

    If it were me and I couldnt deliver coffee to the same high standards as the rest of the meal, I wouldnt offer it.

    What I tried to say in my previous post was that if you get the coffee right people will be saying "You have to go, the foods great; even the coffee is fantastic".

    Memorable experiences (good ones) make people come back and recommend your establishment to others.
    Only one problem with your theory - there are very few people in hospitality who can actually make a fantastic coffee...!!!

    On the whole, we get a lot of people commenting on "great" coffee, coffee that I know is rubbish - a sign of the local demographic...??? By that Im not bagging locals, perhaps we are in an area (Croydon, Vic) where coffee isnt high on peoples priority list - we get A LOT of requests for super hot coffee, one bloke even said "steam the s--t out of it" :-?

    Just to clarify - this quest for better coffee is a personal one championed by a floor manager who is equally passionate about his coffee and not one resulting from a poor reaction to our coffee...


  11. #11
    hazchem
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    Re: Barista course...

    Quote Originally Posted by 654B5242415542464C270 link=1252125847/9#9 date=1252142178
    Just to clarify - this quest for better coffee is a personal one championed by a floor manager who is equally passionate about his coffee and not one resulting from a poor reaction to our coffee...
    I say more power to you Bluey. It seems clear to me just from these few posts that youre passionate about your business and every aspect of the service you provide to your clientele. If I could add a suggestion for phase two it would be The Maling Room in Canterbury. While still certainly a cafe they offer food as well so may be a more familiar/similar experience for your staff. Plus, to be quite frank, the owner is a tops bloke who I personally have the most enormous respect and admiration for.

    Good luck with both your personal and restaurants coffee journey and I hope that it bears fruits for your staff, your business and most importantly your palates! :)

  12. #12
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Barista course...

    Quote Originally Posted by 06283121223621252F440 link=1252125847/9#9 date=1252142178
    Only one problem with your theory - there are very few people in hospitality who can actually make a fantastic coffee...!!!
    No problem with my theory at all.

    What you say is true; that means it should be easy for you to stand out from the rest.

    Thats what Im saying.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Luke_G's Avatar
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    Re: Barista course...

    i agree with Cuppa.

    If they pick up just one thing from the turorial then its something you dont have to teach them.

    You might find that your staff may become coffee snobs them selfs after attending.

    I took part in some training from Mochapan about 6 years ago and it changed my thoughts on coffee forever..im now a full time barista with no intentions to do anything else and i can honestly say that the little i was tought about coffee that day had a big part in what i do now :)

    GO FOR IT!

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    Re: Barista course...

    Quote Originally Posted by 1824392228293E2B23284C0 link=1252125847/11#11 date=1252143925
    Quote Originally Posted by 06283121223621252F440 link=1252125847/9#9 date=1252142178
    Only one problem with your theory - there are very few people in hospitality who can actually make a fantastic coffee...!!!
    No problem with my theory at all.

    What you say is true; that means it should be easy for you to stand out from the rest.

    Thats what Im saying.
    Im not turning off the machine until I find that person though - a fantastic barista will likely find their niche full time in a cafe and not a couple of hours a night in a small restaurant...

    Seeing as the non-snobs seem to be enjoying the coffee, I reckon stepping it up to what I perceive is good coffee can only help even if it isnt fantastic, if we eventually make it to fantastic Ill be just as chuffed as but Im not holding my breath...

    Staff in this industry are a fickle creature and its taken nigh on 2 years to get a crew that generally work well together, a floor manager I can trust and now its time to adjust the coffee forecast...

    *am I misinterpreting your posts, I feel like Im talking myself round in circles... :D *

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    Re: Barista course...

    Quote Originally Posted by 777E657C777A721F0 link=1252125847/10#10 date=1252143829
    Quote Originally Posted by 654B5242415542464C270 link=1252125847/9#9 date=1252142178
    Just to clarify - this quest for better coffee is a personal one championed by a floor manager who is equally passionate about his coffee and not one resulting from a poor reaction to our coffee...
    I say more power to you Bluey. It seems clear to me just from these few posts that youre passionate about your business and every aspect of the service you provide to your clientele. If I could add a suggestion for phase two it would be The Maling Room in Canterbury. While still certainly a cafe they offer food as well so may be a more familiar/similar experience for your staff. Plus, to be quite frank, the owner is a tops bloke who I personally have the most enormous respect and admiration for.

    Good luck with both your personal and restaurants coffee journey and I hope that it bears fruits for your staff, your business and most importantly your palates! *:)
    Duly noted hazchem, thanks...



    Quote Originally Posted by 41786668524A0D0 link=1252125847/12#12 date=1252144752
    i agree with Cuppa.

    If they pick up just one thing from the turorial then its something you dont have to teach them.

    You might find that your staff may become coffee snobs them selfs after attending.

    I took part in some training from Mochapan about 6 years ago and it changed my thoughts on coffee forever..im now a full time barista with no intentions to do anything else and i can honestly say that the little i was tought about coffee that day had a big part in what i do now :)

    GO FOR IT!
    I guess thats as close to proof as Ill find that they may take something away from it, thanks Luke




  16. #16
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    Re: Barista course...

    Bluey, speaking from some experience here with people who dont drink coffee, as you have mentioned you have a few on your staff...

    My boss has made it her policy to not teach those who dont drink coffee to use the machine. Which I think is great as those who dont drink it were the ones who were letting down the standards in the first place. They never had any intention of making fantastic coffee, rather they were only interested in pressing the button and getting out from behind the machine. To them, its a long involved process, that requires a lot of attention to detail and then clean up. Hence, we had a messy work space, milk caked onto steam wands, half heated milk in jugs, you get the picture...

    Sure, this now puts a bit more pressure on myself, my boss and one or two others but in order to keep up the standard we have now set for our selves, we think that this is a small sacrifice.

    I understand it might not be so easy for you to make this decision either. But I do know that there is no way a non coffee drinker is ever going to be up to par alongside a passionate and dedicated barista. Dedicated doesnt mean that they are only assigned to the one job either...dedicated also means that theyre totally committed to perfecting their skills and making it an art form, rather than just doing it as part of a process...

    I guess its also telling that the staff who do know how to use the machine, still ask me to make them their coffee! *;D ;D

    So, I totally understand when you say how hard it is to get a good team together in this industry and then keep them. Even in my brief stint so far of four years, I have seen many come and go. Actually, Id be the longest running full time employee after the bakers at the moment. It is a great frustration that staff who work in our industry are not always passionate people about food and drink and are only doing it as a job to earn money. But thats what we have to deal with and there isnt a lot we can do about it...except do our best to try and educate them. Enthusiasm for the job sometimes helps to rub off too...

    Anyway, hope you get to lift your coffee standards to where youd like to see them and where your customers give you good feedback...

    You should go read the "Barista Venting" thread to see what some do to those who want their coffees with the s**t burnt out of their milk.. ;D :D ;)

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    Re: Barista course...

    Interesting reading there, scoota gal - you know it never crossed my mind to banish the heathen non-coffee drinking staff from the machine... :-[

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    Re: Barista course...

    Will back up scooter 100% on the non coffee drinkers, I do a little training on the side and am amazed at how many people in the industry say "well I dont like coffee anyway" and refuse to drink what they are making. Kinda like a chef who wont eat his own food, there is no way it can be good as they dont know when it is good and when it is swill. Anyway good luck with the program Bluey and remember rome wasnt built in a day I always find it is best to try and make small improvements over time so people dont feel overwhelmed.

  19. #19
    Senior Member GregWormald's Avatar
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    Re: Barista course...

    Quote Originally Posted by 46687161627661656F040 link=1252125847/9#9 date=1252142178
    we get A LOT of requests for super hot coffee, one bloke even said "steam the s--t out of it"
    Yup. And Id advise you to say "no". The same thing the chef would say if someone asked for their salmon steak to be cooked stiff and dry.

    "Im sorry sir, we dont do that, would you like a cup of tea?."

    Greg

  20. #20
    Senior Member Dennis's Avatar
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    Re: Barista course...


    Oh, I dont know Greg. While it may be the chefs prerogative to serve a dish the way they want to, I think the customer also has a right to have it the way they like.

    I think making a statement like the one you suggest is pretty patronising. Why apologise if the chefs way is right and then cap it off with a snide remark? (rhetorical).

    Cheers

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    Re: Barista course...

    Our regulars always want their milk boiled.
    I was happy to do this until one (elderly, slippery fingered) lady spilt her scalding hot coffee and managed to splash the girl who made it for her in the eye and nearly got the customer standing near her. Thankfully there was no serious injury, but hot liquids are always a danger.
    After that I raised the issue as a safety one with the head chef and food services manager and for a while we were able to get away with saying "sorry, but since that incident weve made safety for all our customers a priority and now coffee will not be served above a certain temp" but thats all gone out the door with the renovations. A united front and a firm stance, that is well supported from a safety point of view, and we were winning them over slowly to a hot but not boiled coffee.

    Hopefully once we are back in our regular situation (not crazy refurbishment times) we can return to a consistency of service but until then we are giving them what they want because otherwise they are getting variation.

    My point is this: Yeah they want it hot - you dont have to do that for them, but it might be more time and effort than you are willing to spend in talking them round to having their coffee any other way. But it is possible to convert some people, who after all are probably only asking because theyve been disappointed with the temperature before. And that doesnt necessarily mean at your cafe, or even lately... they can carry that habit for years as the result of one bad experience.

    Same as for many of us snobs. I know I would rather jam a stick in my eye than take a punt on some random mall-based cafe getting my piccolo latte right, all because many years ago I would enthusiastically ask for a strong latte and get boiled, bitter, foul, frothy swill in cafe after cafe. So much so that for a long while I wouldnt even bother getting a coffee unless it was a place Id been to before and knew the barista was good.

    Oh and yes, you can probably guess, its the staff who dont drink coffee, who are being pulled in last minute to fill in shifts, who are causing the major disruptions: So I would totally support a workplace policy of only coffee drinkers can be coffee makers. I dont eat liver and I sure as heck wouldnt attempt to cook one for a liver-lover cause I know Id get it wrong - its pretty obvious to me that I would lack the knowledge to bring out (whatever it is :-? ) thats good about liver. So why is coffee any different? Why let coffee haters make or break your establishments reputation on that front? I think it sounds like a fine idea!

  22. #22
    Senior Member GregWormald's Avatar
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    Re: Barista course...

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1F3E353532285B0 link=1252125847/19#19 date=1252202803
    Oh, I dont know Greg. *While it may be the chefs prerogative to serve a dish the way they want to, I think the customer also has a right to have it the way they like.

    I think making a statement like the one you suggest is pretty patronising. *Why apologise if the chefs way is right and then cap it off with a snide remark? (rhetorical).

    Cheers
    Dennis,

    I was apologising for not fulfilling the patrons request, and I didnt mean the counter-offer to sound snide, I guess its the lack of non-verbals in written communication.

    As far as the customers rights go, that (IMO) is a choice for the restaurant. Some places will undoubtedly choose to uphold their standards and others will choose to serve bad food cause thats the way their patrons want it. (And I use "bad food" deliberately, as I see coffee that has the "sh-t steamed out of it" as being much more than just a "choice" about style.)

    While I have only limited experience in running restaurants and with others in the hospitality business, I would have to say that the places with standards they will not violate, are where Id prefer to eat or work.

    I know that as a cook (I was never a chef) I wouldnt take requests to ruin the taste of my hard-worked-for dishes very kindly.

    Greg



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